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February 20, 2019

If We 'Protect' Our Communities, Terrorism Shall Not Be Eradicated

Garisa town Mp Adan Duale. Photo/FILE
Garisa town Mp Adan Duale. Photo/FILE

Aden Duale says Jubilee leaders – he, President Uhuru, Deputy President Ruto – are in power, not to protect all Kenyans, but communities who elected them for that.

But Jubilee leaders should not only protect their communities. They should protect whole Kenya that includes their own communities. As a leader, Duale should know that, sometimes “our people” are right and we must support them. Other times they are wrong and we must criticize them.

No one should lead Kenya without recognizing Kenyans as our people that should be protected from terrorism of whatever kind or any other danger.

The beauty is: when Kenyans are your people, your community is also your people, and when you protect Kenyans from terrorism, you also protect your community.

The reverse is however not true. When your community is your only people, Kenyans are not your people, and when you protect your community, you do not necessarily protect Kenyans.

The war against terror will never be won by leaders who believe they must protect their community, right or wrong. Already we have seen ordinary people and leaders take the position of defending people from their communities whether they are right or wrong, anytime such people and leaders perpetrate corruption. Now we see the same ethnic defense over terrorism.

As many Kikuyu, Kalenjin and Luo leaders do, Duale defends Somali people right or wrong because he believes the Somali community elected him to protect them.

Without contradiction by President Uhuru and Deputy President Ruto, Duale believes correctly that they too were elected to protect their own communities, not Kenya.

Now that their communities are not targeted by the war against terrorism, non-Somali leaders don’t seem to feel the need to defend justice for all and champion fair interrogation for all Kenyans including Somali community.

Leaders who believe in “our people” will never fight corruption or terrorism when they are perpetrated by their own tribesmen or clansmen and women.

Consequently wars against terrorism or corruption may never be fought fairly and successfully because they will be fought, not for the benefit of the whole country, but for some communities against others who will in turn defend themselves whether they are guilty or not.

To win the war against terrorism, we must fight as Kenyans not as communities and think critically for solutions, not just follow our leaders like sheep, when some are callously fishing in troubled waters and others leading us up the garden path for ulterior motives. Equally, we must fight terrorism not communities however implicated. No community can be entirely innocent of terrorism or wholly guilty.

If we fight terrorism as Kenyans, no community will complain of discrimination or profiling for commercial or political reasons. We must however admit that whole communities can sometimes embrace shared visions as the Kikuyu imbibed the dream of independence or the Somali embraced secession into a greater Somalia.

In the event, the enemy is greater than terrorism and can be overcome only by addressing the bigger problem of perceived rejection or oppression with an ideology of persuasion and inclusion rather than exclusion and conquest.

We cannot fight terrorism without asking hard questions. Is this war ours or are we paid by America and Europe 450 million shillings to fight their own war?

Or are we targeted as American friends by Islamic fundamentalists trying to wrestle Kenyan Coast, Eastleigh, North Eastern region and Zanzibar from American influence?

The war against terrorism will bring out the best and the worst in Kenyans. When Senator Kindiki Kithure announces that criticizing the war against terrorism is supporting terrorism, he is also propagating political terrorism and dictatorship, aside benefit from the war against terrorism.

Already Kenyans are victims of two types of terrorism. We have terrorism of the al Shabaab and a faceless terrorism that is killing radical Imams, Sheikhs and Muslim youth that many believe are government anti-terrorism agents. With what shall we fight terrorism?

Security experts advice that to be at par with terrorists who are lawless, government should suspend democracy and law and fight terrorism with terrorism, dictatorship, jungle law and shoot to kill orders.

Unfortunately by doing so, the government will lose its moral superiority over terrorists. To liberate people from terrorism, government must use more not less democracy and freedom.

The war against terrorism is a war of ideologies not arms and will be won by the more liberating ideology. The ideology of terrorism cannot be killed by bullets and grenades but by a superior ideology that will win souls and minds from it to democracy.

Terrorism must be countered with a powerful arsenal of arguments everywhere. Government can have more lethal arms but lose the war to terrorism if it has a more convincing ideology.

To win the war against terrorism, like Nyerere of Tanzania, President Uhuru must explain to Muslims and Christians alike that Kenya government is not a government of Kafiri or infidels and nor is it a government of Christians or Muslims.

While Kenyans have their religions, the government has no religion like Britain or Saudi Arabia. If all Kenyans accept all religions are equal, terrorism might lose its appeal to radical Muslim youths.

At whatever level, there are certain tactics government must not apply against terrorism. It must not target communities, arrest people en masse or confine suspects in stadiums.

They evoke bad memories when colonialists parked Kikuyus in stadiums, military government locked up Chileans in stadiums or when Nazis parked Jews in concentration camps.

Finally, the war against terrorism must be fought simultaneously with the war against corruption because graft accounts for illegal entries into Kenya, fake identification papers, illegal immigrants and arms with which terrorists fight.

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