Jubilee working round-the-clock to improve security
There are no doubts among Kenyans that the twin problem of crime and terrorism has become a major challenge to the country
But Kenyans of goodwill are agreed that the difficulties in the fight against crime are systemic; they are the results of low funding, poor working conditions for the police, lack of adequate transport and lack of technology and general lethargy among security officers – problems that accumulated in the previous years because the country did not invest adequate resources in the security sector.
These are the challenges that the Jubilee administration identified as soon as it came to power a year ago. The new government quickly realised that the battle couldn’t be won until these challenges are tackled.
And this is what the Jubilee Administration has been tackling. As a long-term solution to the crime-terrorism menace, funding for the police has been scaled up and procurement of all security equipment streamlined.
Last year for example, the President and Deputy President reduced the budget for buying guns from Sh20 billion to Sh2 billion, saving a whooping Sh18 billion for other security needs.
Instead of buying vehicles, often done at double the market price, the government opted to lease 1,200 vehicles, which are being used to monitor and contain crime across the counties.
Police will, for the first time in Kenya’s history, be insured against the vagaries and hazards of their job.
Budget-wise the Jubilee government has allocated Sh67 billion to security in the next fiscal year.
These are long term measures to address the historical problems that have be-devilled the security sector over the years of previous administrations and the Jubilee Government must be appreciated for seeking to tackle and seek permanent solutions to this problem.
But while doing this and awaiting the outcomes, the government is not lost to the fact that the country continues to face major security threats from organized criminal groups like the Al-Shabaab, a rag-tag militia whose elements are running away from Somalia where our KDF forces have beset them, and cross our borders.
The expansive and porous Mandera and Coast regions have become entry points for Al Shabaab where they are assisted by lax and corrupt government officials to look the other way after taking bribes.
The Jubilee Government, from the highest office of the Presidency has sent a clear message that, it will not be business as usual for careless and corrupt civil servants – they will face the sack without mercy for putting the lives of Kenyans at risk.
But this is not all. The government is increasing border surveillance especially in the North-Eastern Kenya region.
The government has also sent a tough message of action to all citizens and businessmen in the vast North-Eastern region who hide Somali refugees in their homes that they will be prosecuted for criminal offences.
According to the government and all regulations of refugee management, all such aliens must be registered and remain in designated camps. Other Somali refugees who do not face any actual threats in their original homes should be repatriated back home in line with international protocols.
This is why people of goodwill should appreciate the government efforts in mapping all refugees who are not in the camps and vetting all those suspected to be in the country illegally.
So far, the ongoing vetting has found aliens of different nationalities residing illegally in Kenya. These include Somalis (1,023), Congolese (175), Sudanese (26), Ethiopians ( 444) Nigerians (10), Pakistanis (4) Britons (7) and Ugandans (58).
In the process of the vetting exercise, several Kenyans were netted due to lack of identification papers. They have all been released.
This is why it is unfair for the International community and some elements in the opposition to accuse Kenya of profiling members of the Somali community.
It does not need reminding that Kenyans of Somali extraction is a critical part of the Kenyan community. They are in government, businesses and the NGOs. They are also in our security forces and in high decision making levels.
The vetting exercise was a security operation focused on all aliens. It is meant to secure the country and its people. It happens in all country, even if not so publicly.
This is why it is saddening that some people in Europe and America have been holding demonstrations against Kenya based on wild allegations that the government has been carrying out ethnic profiling of Somalis.
There is no doubt that the Al-Shabaab is largely comprised of the Somali people, although it has over the previous years been recruiting unpatriotic locals to carry out terror attacks. It is not also lost to peace-loving Kenyans that local criminal gangs like Mungiki may have taken advantage to carry out terror attacks as well as to achieve economic and political ends.
It is also very saddening that CORD leader Raila Odinga plans to take advantage of the wild allegations about alleged profiling of Somalis to incite the public against the Jubilee Administration when he returns to Nairobi on May 31 from three months of absence in the US for suspicious missions.
Despite the negative reports and exaggerated news from the international media and sections of the local news outlets, Kenyans should be assured that the government is doing everything possible to contain the insecurity hovering in the country and restore peace by defeating the terrorists and all criminal gangs.
It is from this thinking that the government needs support and cooperation from all Kenyans and friendly nations rather than condemnation.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto and indeed the entire government need full support so that they can deliver on promises made to Kenyans during the 2013 campaigns.
Similarly, the gallant security forces need support and encouragement to remain energized to protect the lives of all Kenyans, visitors and everybody legally in the country.
Our friendly foreign partners should be assured that Kenya is one country, which cannot afford to discriminate any community nor treat the foreigners in inhumane or disrespectful manner.
As a country, we appreciate to be corrected on our shortcomings. The country remains open to progressive and new ideas.
BY ADEN DUALE AND KITHURE KINDIKI
(The authors are Majority Leaders in the National Assembly and Senate respectively)