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September 24, 2018

No Change Yet Under Jubilee Government

It is now time for the Jubilee government to show itself. Right now, if Kenyans woke up and found former President Kibaki and his men were at State House, they would find nothing wrong with the picture.

This is because little else has changed. The administration structures of the Kibaki regime remain largely intact and his economic policies and projects continue.

The Jubilee government has yet to be seen or felt. After months of sideshows from election petitions to the ICC issue to devolution battles to the Westgate attacks, the government now needs to identify itself to Kenyans.

The honeymoon is over.

Let us use the Westgate attacks as an example. In the aftermath of the incident, much of the news has been dominated by reports of looting, of lack of coordination amongst security forces, of failed intelligence, of corrupt immigration policies and porous borders etc etc.

The Jubilee manifesto, written months before these attacks, lists the following gems among the things it will do to “Keep Kenyans safe and secure”.

Shake up the NIS and enhance and invest in the specialist Anti-Terrorism Unit with the professional expertise to tackle groups such as Al-Shabaab.

Incorporate CCTV technology in the fight against crime.

Create a new Border Security Force to defend the nation’s borders and provide additional security support to border counties.

Establish functional linkages through training and through the command structure of the various disciplines of the armed forces to create synergy, efficacy and cooperation, so as to maximize their respective capacities.

Introduce bolus technology to deal with cattle rustling and other forms of livestock theft.

In other words, if the Jubilee government had done half of what it promised, Westgate might have been a different story indeed.

But that is in the past, this is the present. Has Jubilee now decided to become itself?

As we speak, some leaders are calling for investigations as to who leaked CCTV tapes showing alleged looting at the Westgate mall by security forces. Never  mind that the Jubilee manifesto cites CCTV as one of its chosen tools to improve security.

As we speak the NIS remains very much intact and little if any shaking up beyond an initial ad hoc summon by parliament of the Director-General Michael Gichangi.

As we speak, all the people who headed critical security forces that played a role in the Westgate rescue mission remain very much in office and were resplendent in force colours at the Mashujaa Day celebrations, a date set to celebrate those who actually demonstrated heroism when the nation needed it.

The new Border Security Force remains very much a dream even as it emerges that the suspected terrorists trained in Somalia before easily crossing over into Kenya.

Cattle rustling reigns supreme in Turkana with yet another incident reported in Baragoi – the bolus technology has not reached it seems.

In short, I am saying nothing has changed. From Kibaki era to the Jubilee one, everything seems to have remained the same.

The Jubilee government therefore, needs to gain identity fast.

To do this, it needs to actualize promises made on paper.

Everyone knows when incidences such as Westgate occur, there must be accountability. After 9/11 in the US, there was – including the setting up of a new ministry, the Department of Homeland Security, and a new Director of Intelligence post.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, at the head of the Jubilee Coalition, needs to make this happen here.

He must shake up the NIS as promised and transform it into an organization that can handle threats posed by groups like Shabab.

He must shake up the military, bypassing all the politics that goes into picking its leadership for this is what causes the nation to be caught so unprepared when it puts its key security structures in incompetent hands.

He must have Defense Secretary Raychell Omamo fully involved in selecting the new military bosses who preferably should come from the second tier with most current general being retired. This will ensure there is proper respect and working relationship with the Defence Ministry unlike now when military bosses may regard Omamo as just another lady with no business in DoD affairs.

He must shake up immigration and call for a thorough audit of its activities in the last five years, and he must set up that Border Security Forces.

This lethargy in the Jubilee government must end even in other areas if we are to see change.

The Abdikadir-led task force on reform of State Corporations for example has finished its work.

The President must act quickly on its recommendations. Parastatals that are not needed must be dissolved and those that require to be merged with others should. Ineffectual boards and CEOs must be sent home.

As we speak for example, five key energy parastatals, Kengen, KPLC, REA, ERC and Kenya Pipeline are yet to get substantive CEOs. Some like REA do not even have a board.

This kind of casualness in approaching matters of national importance must change.

The Civil Service remains bloated after 44 ministries were collapsed into 20. Excess drivers, secretaries, accountants etc continue to receive salaries while doing nothing yet the government daily complains of the wage bill.

There is no question what needs to be done, and that is to streamline the workforce and offload excess officers before too much time goes and doing it becomes an election campaign issue.

The President in launching the second medium-term plan of Vision 2030 said his government would expand our exports markets in Africa and globally.

Yet even the transformation of the foreign missions is yet to take place as we await the implementation of the Abdikadir report.

By now, properly trained Business and Market Development personnel should have been sent to our foreign missions as commercial attaches to grow these export markets we are speaking about with strong linkages with the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce, Kepsa and KAM on how best to exploit these markets.

But all this will happen only if the Jubilee government finds and defines itself, separate and distinct from the previous administration and begins delivering on its promises.

 

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