Friday, 13 June 2014

Foreign governments do no wrong in protecting their citizens

In his address on May 16 2014, President Kenyatta claimed that Usalama Watch had disrupted the networks that supported radicalization and violence.
This is certainly not the case. If anything, activities under Usalama Watch have opened up new avenues for the unfiltered flow of information and finances, given the accepted corrupt nature of arrests, ransom and release going on at Kasarani and Pangani police stations.
It’s no longer a secret that the security agents and in particular the police have taken the opportunity accorded to them under Usalama Watch to exort the community. The horror visited upon ordinary citizens is depicted in a short film by InformAction, a not-for profit organization.
At the  time over 400 tourists were evacuated from the Kenyan coast by Thomson Travels, a long established tours and travel company,  President Kenyatta was stating that his government had received no intelligence from its partners, including Britain.
As he addressed the nation, two blasts occurred in Gikomba open air market, killing 12 people and injuring 70 others.
It's a well known fact that the Anti-Terror Police Unit is supported by both British and US agencies that focus on counter-terrorism.
It is highly unlikely and implausible that foreign intelligence agencies will act independently on a nation's soil, receiving information on imminent terror attacks and not share that information with the host nation despite being partners in a "war on terrorism" leaving civilians at risk.
The idea that the National Intelligence Service, the Anti-Terror Police Unit, the Criminal Investigations Department and Kenya's entire military intelligence network were absolutely unaware of a threat so massive and serious that over 400 people had to be evacuated at short notice to another continent is rather ludicrous.
That Kenyan authorities can seek to shift economic blame to a foreign government seeking to protect its citizens is laughable.  
At a time when the forces behind trans-national crime in Kenya are at their strongest, it appears that the Kenya government is conveniently providing  political cover for their shortcomings by shifting blame to partners who see the risks and the dangers clearly and take action.
The only idea that Kenyans can derive from this sort of policy is that Kenyan lives seem to matter far much less than those of tourists.
Most certainly, it is time that the call to sack certain officials and appoint new smarter and more intelligent replacements was heeded.

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