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January 20, 2019

On September 21, We Betrayed Kenya

FINAL ASSAULT? Military officers arrive for the operation at Westgate. Photo/Charles Kimani
FINAL ASSAULT? Military officers arrive for the operation at Westgate. Photo/Charles Kimani

I have waited for weeks, days and counted the hours until we could start talking about the very difficult and hard questions behind the attack at Westgate. Disclaimer: If you have a fragile thinking capacity, please look away now. If your outlook is to sensationalise things and never peel back the layers this is not the story for you. Turn the page go straight to Word Is. I am watching Jicho Pevu like everyone else and I feel that we haven’t found, named and shamed all the animals. I want the hyenas, vultures, chickens and then the wolves. Westgate boils down to one simple thing – The betrayal of a nation by its citizens. On September 21, 2013, we betrayed Kenya.

I want the whole story, the complete saga of how this happened. KDF were the tail end. They found a feeding frenzy in progress and they joined in. KDF is now the official scapegoat for what happened at Westgate? Get a grip. They didn’t set this thing in motion – they just walked in, gasped, asked “tuko Kenya?” and got on with it.

For centuries, pillage by armies was a normal part of warfare: a way to reward badly-paid or unpaid troops for risking their lives in battle. Nowadays, at least in more civilised countries, we do not let armies rampage for booty. We leave the pillaging to men in suits, and we don't call it pillaging any more. We call it economic development or sitting allowances – take your pick. There is a reason one never deploys the army within its borders.

Looting by an army has been common practice throughout recorded history. For foot soldiers it was part of the celebration of victory. On higher levels, the proud exhibition of loot was an integral part of the typical Roman triumph, and Genghis Khan was not unusual in proclaiming that the greatest happiness was "to vanquish your enemies... to rob them of their wealth..."

In other pre-modern societies, objects made of precious metals were the preferred target of war looting, largely because of their easy portability. In many cases looting was an opportunity to obtain treasures that otherwise would not have been obtainable. Since the 18th century, works of art have increasingly become a popular target. In the 1930s and even more so during World War II, Nazi Germany engaged in large scale and organised looting of art and property.

Note to KDF, if indeed the tales being told are true: Looting, combined with poor military discipline, has occasionally been an army's downfall. Local civilians can also take advantage of a breakdown of authority to loot public and private property, such as took place at the National Museum of Iraq in the course of the Iraq War in 2003. Enter the hyenas and vultures of Westgate.

This ball was set in motion by you and me. Kenyans. I am talking about the Kenyans at the Immigration department who allowed these crooks into our country for a bribe or simply by not doing their job. The Kenyans at Nyayo House who looked the other way as aliens came into the country or for a neat sum of money granted them IDs and passports.

The traitors that allowed this thing to happen are my focus and should be our focus. I am talking of the Kenyans at our borders who provide safe passage to criminals and aliens. The taxi driver who may have driven the terrorists into the mall. That car hire company that may have hired out their vehicle for this purpose. I want us to flash out the hyenas and vultures of Westgate. If we don’t, this will happen again and soon. Focusing on the guys who came to the party late doesn’t help. They didn’t set this ball in motion. We did. They must be found and hanged. The penalty for treason is death. On September 21, 2013, we betrayed Kenya.

I’m talking about you – the Kenyans who may have hosted these terrorists for the period they were planning this horrendous act. Westgate wasn’t a freak event. It was planned, well planned. The mall was well cased and those guys knew how to get in and get out in record time. I am talking of the Kenyans who knew this was going on and simply sent text messages to their pals. Never to the media or even the police. And please don’t get it twisted and tell how NIS was told. Yes – that’s their job, they gather intelligence and give it to the relevant body. They don’t have a police force to deploy.

I have beef with the police officer at the border who may have been bribed to look the other way and allow deadly weapons into the country. The police who knew this was going down and simply looked away. Did you notice how many of the those doing any real work were reservists? I want to know who are the hyenas who may have overheard the planning of this terrorist attack and turned a deaf ear.

Allow me to call out the next set of hyenas. The ones who in the pretext of helping looted Westgate. The ones who in the so called rescue missions looted Westgate. You and I know about them. We have heard them speaking about it. But now that everyone is focused on KDF, we are hoping no-one will ask the tough questions about us.

I want to call out the employees, vultures and hyenas of the stores in Westgate. The ones who emptied the tills and cash registers even as they were running and today are breathing a sigh of relief, now that all eyes are on KDF – fisi wewe.

I want to call out the vultures and hyenas who subsequently robbed patients and dead bodies. Vultures in our hospitals and our mortuaries. I want to call out the foxes and hyenas and skunks whose dead bodies had loot in their pockets. Don’t kid me that every till in every shop and every restaurant was emptied by KDF. Don’t try and hoodwink me into believing that every display case was raided by KDF. We were on the job long before they landed. Spare me your bile for KDF. When they landed, the feeding frenzy was on.

I’m borrowing this piece from a status update I saw on Facebook: “If you are a Kenyan and played a part in this, however small it may be, you need to search deep inside your heart and evaluate why you really live in this country. If a Kenyan did not accept to be compromised in whatever way to allow gunmen into the country, provided them with guns, grenades, allowed the safe passage of these deadly weapons into our country and hosted them for the period they have been here, would things have been different?”

I love and applaud what Mohammed Ali and John Allan Namu are doing with Jicho Pevu. It has lifted the lid for us to now tell the entire story. Not about KDF; those dudes were the tail end of the story of the betrayal of a nation by its citizens. Westgate boils down to one simple thing – a lack of patriotism on our part. On September 21, 2013, we betrayed Kenya.

As you ponder this, let’s begin to accept and realise this is all we have. As a Kenyan let me break this down to you brutally. You.Are.Not.Welcome.Elsewhere. This is all you have. Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia – they don’t want you. Newsflash. You’re not welcome. Start guarding and protecting this nation as you would your home. This is it. We are stuck with each other. Screw #WeAreOne. Yeah I said it. No we are not, but we are most certainly stuck with each other therefore we are one. So we best get a grip and start working together if for nothing else, for the glory and prosperity of Kenya – the only place you can call home. We are porous my friends. It isn’t our borders that are porous it is our minds. The attack on Westgate is about betrayal and a lack of patriotism. On September 21, 2013, we betrayed Kenya.



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