House Majority Leader Aden Duale pokes holes at security organs
Kenya: From Lamu County where over 60 people were killed, the insecurity monster has quickly spread to Nakuru and Baringo counties. And now calls for President Uhuru Kenyatta and his top security officials to act are echoing from all corners of the country. And as terror spreads, cameras are fixed on the President, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku, Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo and National Intelligence Service boss, Michael Gichangi. A section of leaders are also citing Defence Cabinet Secretary, Raychelle Omamo and Chief of General Staff, Julius Karangi, for blame.
The President and his Interior minister have since attributed the killings in Mpeketoni, Lamu, to heightened political tensions, exacerbated by members of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga-led Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD). However, Wiper Democratic Movement chairman David Musila has refuted any such associations linking the coalition to the violent attacks terming such claims sheer scapegoating by “a clueless government”.
“When I saw Lenku emerge from Harambee House and tell Kenyans the deaths in Mpeketoni were a result of politics and not the work of armed attackers, I knew this Government had lost it,” says Musila, whose Wiper party, is a core member of CORD. Similarly, Busia County Senator, Amos Wako, lashes out at those who are first and fast “to cast the stone even before the blood of the victims dries”: “They already know who did it, how and why.
If this is truly the case, then we ask the all-important question – why then did our all-knowing government fail to arrest the situation and save lives?” See also: Jury still out on why jihadists chose Mpeketoni Besides rivals from CORD, other Kenyans of different walks of life, including former Cabinet ministers, members of the business community and the clergy, have reminded the President and his security team that the buck stops with his office. Last Wednesday, for instance, The Standard On Sunday has reliably established that the President met a group of former ministers in State House.
Led by Prof Sam Ongeri, the team advised him on the need to soften his stand by engaging Raila in dialogue. Ongeri particularly warned that the trend taken by CORD was dangerous for the country. Others present were Eugene Wamalwa, Ali Chirau Mwakwere, Marsden Madoka, former National Assembly Speaker and one-time Cabinet minister, Francis ole Kaparo and a former Nominated MP, Mark Too. Separately, Bishop Anthony Muheria of the Kitui Diocese wonders whether we would be acting in the same way had it been two, and not even 50, parliamentarians who had lost their lives or those of their families in Mpeketoni.
“The life of the least and poorest of this country is just as important as that of the mighty and powerful. Was the Westgate terror attack which warranted an entire cohort of soldiers more important? Or could it be that it was perhaps much closer to the powers?” asks the Bishop in a commentary published on page 39 of this newspaper. In the meantime, threats to security are present in other parts of the country, with leaflets in Nakuru town being distributed ahead of the CORD rally, which was postponed. Authors of the leaflets are threatening to evict members of certain communities out of the area. In Baringo County, at least eight people have been killed following ethnic conflict between members of two communities over cattle rustling. The situation remains tense. And there is probably a bigger war on social media, which is messy with hate speech and full of ethnic bigotry.
Efforts to cool the embers here have equally flopped with one twitter user posting a widely agreeable confession, “whoever creates hash-tags such as #WeAreOne or #TribeKenya, must be a cold cynic as his/her intent is to encourage a false conversation”. Security officials have not been spared either by leaders from the ruling coalition. Leader of Majority in the National Assembly, Aden Duale, for instance, accuses the security agents of focusing only on three possible avenues of attacks – the Al Shabaab terror gang, members of the Somali community and Muslims.
“They totally turned a blind eye to other avenues and in the process failed to audit activities of other possible suspects, including politicians,” says Duale, who maintains that members of the rival CORD coalition are culpable of heightening political tension in the country. By failing to pursue a political angle to the growing insecurity across the country, the Garissa Town MP observes that the security agents ignored the existence of politically affiliated gangs such as Mungiki and the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC).