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Supremacy wars between Kenya security agencies behind insecurity in the country

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TOP L-R: Director of CID Muhoro Ndegwa,NIS Director General Michael Gichangi, Interior CS Joseph ole Lenku BOTTOM: KDF General Julius Karangi, IG David Kimaiyo

Power games amongst heads of different security arms as major cause of rising insecurity in the country. That is according to an internal government memo prepared in the wake of the Lamu killings two weeks ago in which over 60 people lost their lives. The confidential report seen by The People Saturday is headlined: “Strategic Context of Security Challenges in Kenya”. It says simmering rivalry especially between the National Police Service and the National Intelligence Services (NIS) must be promptly addressed for the country to adequately tackle insecurity.

The report says “eroded institutional capacities to address current internal and external security threats combined with weak cross-government and inter‐agency coordination and collaboration” must be addressed if the country is to be at the top of the game in combating terrorism and other organised crime.” It recommends that the country have a clearly defined national security strategy that integrates the intelligence, the police, immigration and the military.

Says the report: “Improved inter-agency coordination and institutional effectiveness are the key results expected from the establishment of a national security council. Critical to delivering the above is the development of a national security strategy.” A fresh look at the legislative framework around national security sector is also necessary to ensure that institutional independence does not undermine national security.” In the Lamu incidence, President Uhuru Kenyatta publicly expressed his displeasure that police had failed to pre-empt the massacre yet intelligence had been provided days before the attack.

Said the President: “It is now clear that intelligence on this attack was availed to the security officers in Mpeketoni. Unfortunately, the officers did not act accordingly. This negligence and abdication of duty and responsibility is unacceptable.”  It was same story with Westgate Shopping Mall terrorist attack last year where a leaked report indicated that the national spy agency had provided information that Westgate Mall was targeted.

Police have, on their part, accused NIS of providing general information which is not specific or can not be acted upon. In an apparent move to enhance inter-agency co-ordination within the country’s security machinery, last week President Kenyatta signed an executive order that placed security personnel and equipment of the Kenya Wildlife Service, the Kenya Prisons and the National Youth Service under the Inspector General of police.

Effectively, all security machinery and equipment including aircraft owned by different government agencies and parastatals with the exception of those belonging to the Kenya Defence Forces are at disposal of the National Police Service. The confidential report also cites “lack of institutional self-confidence brought about by legal framework which puts more emphasis on human rights than on national security”  as another impediment in tackling insecurity in the country.

The report regrets that “the Bill of Rights guarantees that even hardcore criminals and terrorists can be released on bond to continue with their escapades or take off.” There has been calls to have the Interior cabinet secretary Joseph Ole Lenku and Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo relieved of their duties over deteriorating insecurity in the country. Whereas the minister is a presidential appointee, the Inspector General of Police enjoys security of tenure and can only be removed through a tribunal.

The government is grappling with massive security slump posed by increasing terror threats, ethnic feuds in northern Kenya between the rival Garre and Degodia communities. Police are also yet to contain wave of banditry attacks between the Samburu, Turkana and Pokot, a scenario largely blamed on proliferation of illegal small arms and light weapon in possession of civilians. In 2012, guns stolen from 46 police officers massacred in Suguta Valley in the worst ever incident of botched police operations are yet to be recovered.

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