Garissa University Attack: 5 Reasons Why Kenya Keeps On Falling Prey Of Al Shabaab
Looking at what has just happened in our country, I am forced to pen down an opinion piece. I usually don’t do such, but today is an exception. With 147 lives lost just like that, I don’t know what next for this government. In less than 3 years that the Jubilee government has been in place, Kenya has suffered more than 10 attacks. Each and every time we are told, “My government is doing …..,” “My government has set aside….,” “My government, My government……,” and the anthem continues.
History of the Attacks Since 2013
- September 21st 2013- Al Shabaab attack Westgate mall killing 67 people and injuring over 175 others.
- April 25th 2014- Pangani police officers nab a car driving on the wrong side of the road and on boarding the vehicle to lead it Pangani police station for questioning, the vehicle explodes killing two officers.
- May 4th 2014- Explosives planted on busses plying Thika-Nairobi route attacked. 3 die and 62 others injured.
- May 16th 2014- Gikomba market is attacked. 12 of our brothers were killed while 70 others were injured.
- June 15- June 17 2014- Mpeketoni attack. Over 60 killed and scores injured.
- November 22nd 2014- Mandera bus attack. 28 Kenyans killed.
- December 2nd 2014- Mandera quarry attack. 36 quarry workers killed.
- April 2nd 2015- Garissa University attack. 147 killed and over 80 others injured.
Note: This is just but a list of what I can recall. There have been other attacks in Mombasa and other towns in North Eastern Kenya that are not included in this list.
Where are we getting it wrong?
I am no security expert, but in my opinion we are getting it wrong in the following ways.
- Failure to heed to warnings– The Kenyan government is known to go its own way especially when other countries like the UK, US etc gives terror warnings. Our government knows everything and can’t listen to others. When the UK government issues travel advisories to its citizens, the Kenyan government rubbishes them away.
- Chest thumping– President Uhuru Kenyatta is on record rubbishing travel advisories issued by the UK government few hours before the attack at Garissa University. The president in his capacity goes to the extent of saying if they wish they don’t want to visit us, let them stay.
- Political interests– Every time the Al Shabaab hit us, our leaders are quick to throw blames to their opponents. This does not serve any good. It only helps to strengthen the enemy in between. Again, when we come up with tough security bills, some people start thinking that there is political witch-hunt behind the bill. We get our foot soldiers and head to the courts to have the bill suspended.
- Failure to learn from our previous mistakes– It is no secret that most of those in forces today paid to get their way into the forces. Last year’s recruitment process was nullified after massive bribery allegations emerged. Instead of mapping the way forward after the nullification, we all went silent on the matter and after our 147 brothers are killed in cold blood, the president emerges with orders to have the 10,000 whose recruitment was nullified admitted for training. This is totally wrong. What do you expect of someone who bribed to have their way into the forces? They will accept bribe to recover what they lost during their recruitment. This means that if a terrorist comes with a million bob, they will gladly accept that and give them way into the country to go kill as many people as they can. Again, why should we hire a policeman and pay them 20/30 thousand shillings while we can afford to pay a rapist close to 1 million? The policeman will accept anything irrespective of the outcome even if it is 1000 more deaths.
- Double Standards– On the issue of nullification of the selection of 10,000 recruits, was this not based on allegations of corruption where officers conducting the exercise are said to have accepted bribe to favor some candidates? If this is the case, is it not in order for Uhuru to go against court ruling and yet he has forced his cabinet secretaries to step aside due to corruption? Which corruption then is he fighting?
In conclusion, security is not a one man show. It is a collective responsibility. Why should we capitalize on our political interests at the expense of the security of those we govern? Whom do we lead after they are all killed in cold blood? I rest my case.