With honest and brave advice Uhuru will defeat al Shabaab

Kenya Defence Forces soldiers. Photo/FILE
Kenya Defence Forces soldiers. Photo/FILE

If today President Uhuru were to ask prophet Micaiah whether he should continue fighting or pull KDF out of Somalia, Micaiah would probably tell him what he told King Ahab: "Don’t fight Rammoth Gilead – don’t fight Somalia."

However, bad advisers will tell the President to continue fighting in Somalia, not for national good, but interests of Kenyan businesses and Somali leaders. No wonder Americans advised against Kenyan invasion of Somalia.

After watching Garissa massacre and demolition of American twin towers on November 9, 2001, from close quarters, to me terrorism is the worst possible enemy that will demand from us the highest sacrifice to defeat.

However, to win the war against al Shabaab in Kenya and Somalia, there are things we must do and things we must not do.

Since elections are over and we cannot replace the President, President Uhuru must ensure he is the best he can be or step aside for someone else. Only at greatest cost can war be won by a second rate President. And to be best for the war, the President must be most inspiring.

To win the war, the President must have the best possible advice, as no President can rescue his country from war if he is under the sway of bad advisers as Kenyatta under Mbiu Koinange, and Moi under Nicholas Biwott.

But then the President should reveal to the public his key advisers who should take credit for good advice and be sacked for bad advice. No country can afford to be at the mercy of bad, sycophantic and invisible advisers.

President Uhuru should also sack advisers who gave him bad advice such as: not to go to The Hague, trash travel advisories by the British government (even though shoes of a bad Banyan can be good medicine), defy court orders and train police officers corruptly recruited, employ people already indicted for corruption, continue keeping KDF in Somalia when there is a shortage of police to protect Kenyans back home, eliminate democracy to fight terrorism with dictatorship and blame the people (“security begins with you and me”) for failing to protect themselves against terror attacks without training, arming and licence to carry arms.

To convince people of the need to die fighting terrorism, the President should govern the country to demonstrate that it belongs to all, not to a few people. Only when people collectively own the country can they be ready to die for it.

Since war is not fought with brawn alone, but also with brains and souls, Kenyans urgently need an ideology of patriotism and equality of religions to defeat Islamic radicalisation. And as people have been ready to die fighting slavery, colonialism, apartheid, negative ethnicity and clannism, they must also be ready to die fighting religious intolerance.

But if Muslims and Christians shall live together as equal Kenyans, they must form a joint moral army to fight religious intolerance and al Shabaab terrorism. In schools, rallies, working places, churches, mosques and media, Kenyans must fight religious intolerance together.

When President Uhuru bungles, as he did, more than 10,000 police recruits and security laws amendments, he should have the courage and humility to accept mistakes, apologise and make correction.

Equally, when leaders of the police and army make unforgivable mistakes like using military planes to serve private needs instead of taking officers to fight terrorism, they should be sacked immediately. No officer should sit on intelligence meant to save lives and be spared the axe.

To bolster efficiency in the security sector, no jobs should belong to particular communities or clans, and no jobs should be given as ethnic replacements. It was wrong to give Joseph Nkaissery the security docket merely as a Maasai replacement of ole Lenku or Joseph Boinett the IG merely as a Marakwet replacement of Kimaiyo. Unless we are driven by a death wish, the President should give out security jobs only on merit, never ethnicity.

Further, for our security’s sake, we must avoid negative ethnicity, ethnic and clan conflicts like leprosy, or ethnic communities and clans will embrace terrorists as allies against ethnic and clan enemies deeply entrenching them within communities.

However much we love money, no Kenyan should do business with al Shabaab or cleanse them of the al Qaida Islamic terrorism.

Apparent al Shabaab successes come not from their strength but our own weaknesses. Since al Shabaab started to engage us on Kenyan soil, we have been fighting more to lose than win by fighting defensively rather than offensively.

Finally, let us not forget that historically all wars – justified or unjustified – are very destructive. Yet countries are attracted to them like moths to the fire. Before we get deeper into our war with al Shabaab and Somalia, let us take a keen look at Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Palestine or Somalia and ask ourselves if that is where we want to take Kenya.

Even as we defend ourselves against al Shabaab, we must look for all ways and means of ending this war before we get into a point of no return. To end war before thousands and thousands of people die is not cowardice. It is great courage that we must not fear to embrace. Let President Uhuru seek dialogue with the enemy and explore ways of ending this war before it becomes a conflagration that will consume us all. To win war we must not necessarily fight to the finish. Wars can be shortened and won through dialogue.