Nixon Kanali, Nairobi Kenya
Sunday evening, two buses are attacked with explosives along Thika Road leaving two people dead. Just before that on Saturday, two explosions go off in Mombasa killing four people.
It has now become a common thing for Kenyans to wake up to such breaking news of explosions that leaves Kenyans dead and some critically injured. Recently, Kenya has been on the spotlight with blasts in major towns. This is clear indication that our security situation is wanting, something which should make us Kenyans a very worried lot. The Kenya police have even admitted security as a very big challenge. Where does this admission by the police leave us as Kenyans?
These frequent attacks have been blamed on the presence of the Kenya Defense Forces in Somalia. Some Kenyans and leaders have even been calling on the government to withdraw the troops in Somalia.
During its campaigns, the jubilee coalition made several promises one of them being on security. Uhuru Kenyatta even went further to announce that his government will spend an extra sh.3.3 billion annually to improve the police force.
Last year, Kenya’s security was ranked among the worst in Africa in an Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) report. Kenya was position 42 near the edge of the bottom-placed and ranked as poor in personal security for its citizens and visitors.
Ms Hadeel Ibrahim, the founding executive director of the Mo foundation said after the report came out that Kenya’s security situation has been largely affected by its unstable neighbors. He even added that the situation was likely to remain the same if the security situation in Somali is not improved.
The report also showed that Kenya’s involvement in the Somali conflict including the deployment of forces in Somalia contributed greatly to poor security. More than a year now and the security situation in the country is just the same. The country decided to focus more on terrorism related crimes early this year with the police carrying swoops and arresting people with no valid identification documents, has this bore any fruits?
Let us face the real situation here, yes, the war and presence of our Kenyan troops in Somali is part of the contributing factors to the security state in the country, agreed. Some countries like Ethiopia and Uganda also have their troops in Somalia, why are they not experiencing such attacks? Why has Kenyan become an easy target where these terrorists can easily drive on a highway and throw and explosive inside a moving bus or a church? This are the questions that the Kenya police, the national intelligence service and the government itself needs to answer to Kenyans.
Does the government ever ask itself these questions? I blame it on corruption, corruption at the immigration department in Kenya, at our borders and even inside the police service itself.
Last month during the Eastleigh crackdown dubbed ‘’Operation Usalama Watch’’ there were allegations corruption. One ethnic Somali claimed that he was asked for a bribe of 10,000 Kenyan shillings by a police officer to secure his release. Those who failed could not afford to pay the bribe were detained.
Anyone who has visited the immigration department can also agree that it can take you less than 3 days to have your documents ready, just by parting with something small. Professor Anyan’g Nyon’go once referred to the department as a den of corruption; he even asked an audit report of the immigration department to be done.
That is the reality of things that the government is trying to run away from. During his first state of the nation address, President Kenyatta even acknowledged the need to clean up the government. ‘’it is a hard truth that some of our public services are rife with waste and corruption. That waste threatens the productivity we have so painfully begun to build’’ the president said. Well, this clean up should just start at the immigration department and the Kenya police.
Kenyans are now starting to wonder if we are safe in our own country. As much as security is a personal responsibility, it is also the responsibility of the government to protect and safeguard its citizens as outlined in the constitution.