First, let me send deep condolences to families who lost loved ones at the Westgate Mall and wish speedy recovery to those who suffered injuries.
To ensure there is no repeat of this tragedy however, people must learn from it or they will have suffered in vain. The disease that returns is the one that kills.
But some will say, not now! We are mourning. True but we must strike the iron while hot.
Not to beat about the bush, let me ask: where was the National Intelligence Service when the al Shabaab terrorists recruited from all over the world, slipped or bought their way into the country and set base to organise and finally launch the greatest terrorist attack in Kenya’s history.
If we praise the NIS, the President and his government for their “greatest performance”, where were they when over 69 innocent Kenyans died, 240 were injured and an unknown number of hostages killed by terrorist bullets or the inferno that collapsed three floors of the Westgate mall?
How can we define, letting terrorists penetrate the very heart of Kenya unnoticed, success and not call it what it is – unforgivable failure? How could foreign and not local terrorists who could easily melt into the population, come into the country and perpetrate such heinous attack without detection and then praise ourselves for enduring resilience and excellence? Should not those who are responsible for our security be bowing their heads in shame and offering resignation for their failure?
President Uhuru’s speech, full of praise for security forces, was the greatest coverup of security forces’ failure to prevent the greatest terrorist attack in Kenya by the al Shabaab.
Who locked the dogs in and napped? Can a tragedy as big as this happen without anybody in authority bearing responsibility when we now know both NIS and police had been duly informed?
Somebody must be held responsible for this tragedy. Somebody must pay and be sacked for the loss and injuries of so many at Westgate. Amazingly, instead of accepting blame and responsibility for this tragedy, President Uhuru, Deputy President Ruto and their government are positioning themselves to reap political capital and professional gain from their own failure. If right will be done, the buck must stop at the President’s door step. As this government fails to handle one disaster – like JKA fire – after another, President Uhuru must bear political responsibility and resign for his government’s failure to stop the al Shabaab terrorist attack.
Additionally, minister Ole Lenku, Inspector General Kimaiyo and General Gichangi must all take professional responsibility and resign. If they don’t, we better weep, for greater catastrophes are coming.
Tragically for Kenya, al Shabaab religious terrorism is not the only terrorism there is to contend with. There is also domestic political terrorism from those in political circles, social and other media that will demonise, silence and stop anyone who will ask questions about why, and how, this tragedy happened and what we must do to prevent it in future.
So what brought the al Shabaab to Kenya?
Al Shabaab say: “We have fought Kenya in Somalia. It is time to fight Kenyans in their own land.” For attacks to end, they say Kenyan soldiers should pull out of Somalia. Others say, many Somalis will not allow Kenya to create Jubaland for Ogaden Somalis. Kenya must leave Somalia to solve her own problems.
But Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta says Kenyan soldiers will continue fighting in Somalia until they defeat the al Shabaab. Before Uhuru, Kibaki took Kenyan soldiers to Somalia without public debate or support. Things were bulldosed in a shroud of claims that the Al Shabaab was attacking Kenyan tourists.
Unlike Shifta fighters before, al Shabaab don’t say they are fighting Kenya to grab any part of her territory. But some Somali governments have asked for Kenyan military support to make peace and stabilise Somalia. Others say Ogaden Somalis have pushed Kenyan military to create Jubaland for them.
So are these good reasons for Kenya to continue fighting in Somalia or can Kenya leave these matters to Somalis themselves? Is it possible that Kenya is fighting in Somalia a proxy war for America? I think the Kenyan government should clarify these matters.
Kenya can leave Somalia and her peace to Somalis or they will bring their religious and clan wars to Kenya. But should Kenya decide to continue fighting in Somalia, she must overcome certain weaknesses.
First, Kenyans must think critically of all national problems. Swallowing everything that leaders tell them – hook, line and sinker – will not do. Two, when NIS is warned of an attack in the offing by watchful citizens it must listen. Equally, the government must pay attention to American terror alerts.
Three, al Shabaab has a powerful ally in Kenyan corruption, if it is true that with money one can smuggle a nuclear bomb through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. To defeat al Shabaab, security and government forces must rise above corruption.
Four, to succeed in the fight against terrorism, the Kenyan government must not fight on too many fronts. Fighting ICC will distract it from eternal vigilance against terrorism. Like Abraham Lincoln, Uhuru will need to unite the country by embracing every Kenyan.
Five, the government must know how to fight guerrilla warfare against al Shabaab.
Six, if al Shabaab want Kenya to leave Somalia alone, Al Shabaab should also leave Kenya alone.
Finally, the government must learn how to treat equally all victims of terror or other tragedies. It cannot be right to raise tonnes of money and blood for victims of Westgate terrorist attack and raise nothing for victims of our traffic madness. Or is it a matter of one’s class?