Uhuru Kenyatta has Failed to Tame Insecurity in Kenya

Jared Odero: Nairobi is back to its inglorious days of Nairobbery.

Jared Odero: Nairobi is back to its inglorious days of Nairobbery.

Long before the September 21, 2013 Westgate Mall terror attack in Nairobi, corruption contributed to the human trafficking of Somalis into Kenya. The Kenya-Somalia border is around 780 kilometers long and porous in many parts, which are known as “panya” routes (Kiswahili for rat). These are paths carved and used as entry points for illegal immigrants commonly called mbuzi (Kiswahili for goats). Mbuzi is the slang shared by human traffickers and the police whom they bribe to get through security checks.

A well-oiled network of brokers coordinates the arrival of illegal immigrants through the Kenyan gateway towns of Isiolo and Garissa. In a video titled “Exposing smuggler routes across the Somalia-Kenya border” (November, 2013), CNN correspondent Nima Elbagir and her colleague secretly filmed her bus trip into Kenya using a rat route. She reported that: “Traveling on these smugglers’ routes, we’ve managed to enter Somalia from Kenya without showing any ID, without going through any checkpoints, and without going through any kind of a security process.”

According to Nima, if one does not have legal documentation, then they can buy fake Kenyan identification documents (IDs) for $230 on the bus. “As we arrive at Garissa, the main town in eastern Kenya, passengers line up at the checkpoint. Security officers scrutinize thumbprints with the help of a magnifying glass, comparing them against the fake IDs. We overhear one woman take a police officer aside and tell him bluntly that she doesn’t have valid papers. Everyone, including the woman, is waved back onto the bus and on their way to the country’s capital. I show my official documentation — not the fake IDs we purchased — and join them.”

Similar sentiments were expressed by Parselelo Kantai in an exclusive article titled “What pushed Kenya into Somalia” in the November 2013 issue of The Africa Report magazine. He wrote that a former administrator with the Kenyan government revealed to him how in a 2010 report, he had detailed border corruption and how “militant Islamist groups had established training bases in Isiolo and Wajir counties” with the full knowledge of individuals in the Kenyan government. These were the same people who financed the mbuzi and khat (stimulant drug) businesses. The former administrator observed that a junior police officer manning a roadblock was ordered by his boss not to stop any suspicious trucks at the border, otherwise he would be “charged with failing to obey the lawful order of his superior.”

The former administrator also stated that quite a large number of Somalis were then entering Kenya with possibly fake Ethiopian passports and if they did not have one, would pay Ksh1000 at every roadblock from Moyale to Isiolo. “With these and much more, the future security of northern Kenya and Kenya as a nation is a real concern for anyone who can see beyond his nose” he wrote in his report.

Runaway insecurity
On March 21, 2014 Joe Kiarie ran a blood-chilling headline in The Standard newspaper: “Security alarm as gangsters, muggers take over city” which documented the return of hardened criminals who had been kept off the city center of Nairobi (central business district) since 2005, due to a successful street lighting program, increased police presence and the ejection of street families and urchins. However, since the Jubilee government took over in 2013, street families have returned and the lighting program has been neglected.

“From daylight shootouts to frequent muggings, the city centre is fast degenerating into a gangster’s den. Vulture-eyed pickpockets and muggers targeting pedestrians roam every city corner while smash-and-grab attacks targeting motorists are equally on the rise. A puzzle to most victims is that the criminals, who range from seemingly experienced thieves to impulsive vandals, operate with a high degree of impunity” Kiarie wrote.

It is not only ordinary Kenyans who suffer in the hands of criminals. Crime is now affecting affluent people and robberies have increased at high-end residential areas. Recently, Deputy President William Ruto’s spokesman David Mugonyi was carjacked at night and robbed of cash and other valuables along Dennis Pritt Road in Nairobi, where President Uhuru Kenyatta’s private residence is situated. Uhuru’s aunt and her driver were also carjacked at night earlier this month, along Uhuru Highway and lost cash, mobile phones and shoes. Last December, criminals snatched a mobile phone from Uhuru’s son  Jomo Kenyatta, around 8pm as he was driving along Kenyatta Avenue. On November 20, 2013 robbers attacked the Kyuna home of Uhuru’s uncle Ngengi Muigai, and stole Ksh200 000, mobile phones and other personal effects. Last July, thieves stole a mobile phone belonging to Grace Nyambura Muhuho, a sister to Uhuru Kenyatta’s mother, at her home in Gatundu.

On September 12th 2013, The Standard reported that over 200 MPs confronted Uhuru in a meeting and rated Kenya’s security at either zero or one, on a scale of one to 10. He responded thus: “Security is for all of us, whatever solutions that we drive towards need to incorporate the views of everybody. We have a problem, we must acknowledge it.” A week later on 21st September, Uhuru’s nephew Mwangi Mbugua and Mwangi’s fiancée Rosemary Wahito were shot dead during the Westgate Mall terror attack.

The Jubilee Government has perfected the art of lying and exhibiting inefficiency in security matters. While Uhuru and Ruto’s personal security is guaranteed 24/7, their relatives, associates and the wider Kenyan community have no similar guarantee. Uhuru is totally clueless on how to tame insecurity. According to a recent Standard newspaper report, there is only Ksh62,000 remaining for the operations of the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit during March 2014. The Kenya Police Airwing has only two operational aircraft and generally, there is poor funding for terrorism and crime in the country. Meanwhile, Uhuru is hell-bent on assigning Class One pupils at public schools a laptop each, while Nairobi grows back to its inglorious days of Nairobbery.

Jared Odero


  • Friday, March 21, 2014

    Thugs turn luxury homes into tombs

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    Nalepo has become a rich man’s hell as a wave of insecurity continues to haunt residents day and night.

    Part of Kiserian, it has become a playground for killers, robbers, and thieves.

    Some home owners have moved away, leaving magnificent houses because of the incessant attacks while others are considering going too. Residents have lost count of the murders and raids. “Every month there must be at least one incident. It is too much and we have lost count,” said Mr Reuben Matthews.

    He was one of the earliest to settle in the neighbourhood and has come across numerous attacks over the past 10 years. Now he says he has become an unofficial neighbourhood warden.

    “We have saved lives because whenever a robbery is taking place neighbours call and I alert the police. However, we were not able to save our neighbour Nyaki when they broke into his house in 2006. They shot him through his heart,” said Mr Matthews.

    “It has become common to hear some gun shots or people screaming,” said his wife, Pauline.

    The neighbourhood, two kilometres from Rimpa along the Kiserian-Ngong Road in Ngai Murunya, has more than 250 palatial homes and Mr Matthews, an American, estimates that more than half of them have been raided.

    And residents of this affluent neighbourhood are unable to get much help from the police due to administrative overlaps.

    Ongata police chief Silas Ringera, under whose jurisdiction falls Kiserian, the nearest station to Nalepo, said he could not end crime in the estate because it is under Ngong division.

    And Ngong police chief Farah Mohammed said he had not received any reports of crime in Nalepo, adding: “If it is there, let residents come to me and report it. Let them make formal complaints to me.”

    In spite of detailed security measures which homeowners have put in place, the robbers have devised ways of gaining access.

    They are now removing stones on security walls since they cannot jump over them because they are protected by electric fences, CCTV cameras and motion sensors. The gangs are now targeting new home owners.

    Latest victim

    Mr Eliud Oware is the latest victim. He was attacked on Sunday morning for the second time after moving into his home in September 2013.

    A machete-wielding gang broke into his house by removing three stones from the security wall. What surprises him is that they pressed the door bell. When he woke to check he never saw anyone and so he went back to his bedroom.

    The four men poisoned his five Alsatian dogs with cooked meat before getting in and only one survived. They removed motion sensors and window panes to enter the house. “Before they could get in I saw a man in a red hood carrying bows and arrows outside the house.

    I pressed the security alarm and went upstairs to hide my family,” he said.

    They also had an axe with which they pounded the window panes. The thugs made off with a 41-inch flat screen TV, three laptops, a desktop computer, two mobile phones, a watch and Sh5,700. No-one was injured.

  • insecurity in Nairobi
  • insecurity in Nairobi
  • insecurity in Nairobi
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  • curbing insecurity
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  • Al-Shabaab in Kenya
  • border insecurity
  • corruption and insecurity
  • rising insecurity
  • USA spying on Kenya

    NSA infiltrates servers of China telecom giant Huawei: report
    WASHINGTON Sat Mar 22, 2014 5:25pm EDT

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. National Security Agency has infiltrated servers in the headquarters of Chinese telecommunications and internet giant Huawei Technologies Co, obtaining sensitive information and monitoring the communications of top executives, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

    The newspaper said its report on the operation, code-named “Shotgiant,” was based on NSA documents provided by Edward Snowden, the former agency contractor who since last year has leaked data revealing sweeping U.S. surveillance activities. The German magazine Der Spiegel also reported on the documents.

    One of the goals of the operation was to find any connections between Huawei and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, according to a 2010 document cited by the Times.

    true But the newspaper said the operation also sought to exploit Huawei’s technology. It reported that the NSA aimed to conduct surveillance through computer and telephone networks Huawei sold to other nations. If ordered by the U.S. president, the NSA also planned to unleash offensive cyber operations, it said.

    The newspaper said the NSA secured access to the servers in Huawei’s sealed headquarters in the city of Shenzhen and got information about the workings of the giant routers and complex digital switches the company says connect a third of the world’s people. The NSA also tracked communications of Huawei’s top executives, the Times reported.

    Der Spiegel reported that the NSA breached Huawei’s computer network and copied a list of more than 1,400 clients and internal training documents for engineers. “We have access to so much data that we don’t know what to do with it,” the magazine cited an NSA document as saying.

    The magazine said the NSA also is pursuing a digital offensive against the Chinese political leadership. It named the government targets as former Chinese prime minister Hu Jintao and the Chinese trade and foreign ministries.


    “Many of our targets communicate over Huawei-produced products. We want to make sure that we know how to exploit these products,” the Times quoted an NSA document as saying, to “gain access to networks of interest” around the world.

    “If we can determine the company’s plans and intentions,” an analyst wrote in the 2010 document, “we hope that this will lead us back to the plans and intentions” of the Chinese government.

    The Times also reported that as Huawei invested in new technology and laid undersea cables to connect its $40 billion-a-year networking operation, the NSA was interested in getting information on into key Chinese customers including “high priority targets – Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kenya, Cuba.”

    The Times quoted William Plummer, a senior Huawei executive in the United States, as saying that the company did not know it was a target of the NSA.

    “The irony is that exactly what they are doing to us is what they have always charged that the Chinese are doing through us,” the Times quoted Plummer as saying.

    “If such espionage has been truly conducted then it is known that the company is independent and has no unusual ties to any government, and that knowledge should be relayed publicly to put an end to an era of mis- and disinformation,” the Times quoted Plummer as saying.

    The Times noted that U.S. officials see Huawei as a security threat and have blocked the company from making business deals in the United States, worried that it would furnish its equipment with “back doors” that could enable China’s military or Chinese-backed hackers to swipe corporate and government secrets.

    Snowden last year fled to Hong Kong and then to Russia, where he has asylum. The United States wants him returned to face criminal prosecution.

    U.S. officials have denied the United States and NSA have spied on foreign companies to help American companies gain a competitive edge. A U.S. intelligence official said the NSA and other agencies do not provide secretly collected intelligence information that could be commercially sensitive or give a competitive advantage to U.S. firms.

    U.S. officials acknowledge that in the course of assessing the economic prospects or stability of foreign countries American agencies might collect data on individual companies.

    They also said the United States might collect data on foreign companies in preparation for imposing economic sanctions or taking other foreign policy-related actions against a country and its leadership, but not to aid American companies.

    The Times and Der Spiegel articles were published just days before Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Europe and will hold talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, herself a target of electronic surveillance by the NSA.

    They also were published during U.S. first lady Michelle Obama’s visit to China. In Beijing on Saturday, she told an audience of college students that open access to information – especially online – is a universal right.

    (Reporting by Will Dunham in Washington and Stephen Brown in Berlin; Editing by David Gregorio)

  • Saturday, March 22, 2014

    Gangsters’ resort city where robbers ‘work beside police’

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    It was just after lunch, heading to 2 pm, and Steve Biko Wafula, who styles himself on Twitter as @SokoAnalyst, was going for a family engagement in Buru Buru Estate.

    At the City Stadium round-about, he was caught up in traffic and decided to roll down the windows of his Mercedes Benz.

    Out of the blue, he says, a young woman, no more than 25 years of age, calmly walked up to his car and shoved a gun in his face.

    “She was so calm and looked so young that I hesitated. Then she cocked; I let her and her accomplice take what they wanted,” Mr Wafula told the Sunday Nation on Saturday.

    The gangsters robbed him of his phones, wallet, laptop, tablet and cash. It was in full view of passengers and motorists in nearby vehicles, and the police officers manning the roundabout a few metres away, he says. None came to his rescue.

    “It is not fair that you drive such a big car while our families stay hungry,” the thieves told him as they robbed him.

    Mr Wafula abandoned his journey and turned around to report the matter at Central Police Station. He was even armed with a lead; his phone could be tracked by his mobile service provider, which showed that the culprits had gone into Mathare slum. But as of Saturday, the police had not made any headway on the matter.

    “A police officer friend of mine told me not to bother – that it was too dangerous and logistically problematic for them to go into Mathare,” he said of his formal pursuit to recover his property.

    That dramatic robbery is only one among many that have tracked Nairobi in the past month, making every part of the city unsafe as armed gangsters roam the streets and invade homes, robbing and getting away with it almost at will as the police appear overwhelmed by their job, or as in Mr Wafula’s case, unwilling to pursue the gangsters.

    The ruthless gangs roaming the city know no boundaries, whether in the posh estates where the rich live or in the sprawling neighbourhoods inhabited by the middle class and the poor.

    They attack on the streets, using stolen cars to trail motorists before carjacking them, or lurk near residential entrances and pounce on their victims.

    Most recently, cases where robbers storm residential houses in the middle of the night, no matter how well secured, have been on the rise. Such cases have occurred in Runda, Karen, Spring Valley, Kilimani, Muthangari, Gigiri and Kileleshwa, which ought to be some of the most secure places.

    Suburbs like Ongata Rongai and Kiserian, where most Nairobians have invested hugely in housing, have not been spared either.

    Sometimes the robberies result in death, as has happened in Kasarani, Embakasi, Fedha, and South B and C Estates.

    Gangland style attacks in areas like Huruma, Kayole, Dandora, Kibera, Mathare and Pipeline are commonplace. The carjackers often pose as passengers.

    Cases of break-ins in which watchmen are either shot dead or injured are often reported in the Industrial Area where gangs raid to steal goods in godowns. In most cases , by the time police arrive at the scene, the gangsters are often long gone.

    In one of the most prominent and recent incidents, David Mugonyi, communications secretary at the Office of the Deputy President, was carjacked on March 17 on Dennis Pritt Road in Kilimani, near State House.

    He was accosted at his gate by four men, three of them armed with pistols. They took control of his Toyota Prado and drove with him in it towards the city.

    They later abandoned him in Mlolongo after taking Sh120,000, phones and other valuables. His vehicle was later found near Pipeline, a crime-prone area.

    Security expert Twalib Mbarak, while asserting police presence should be heightened to check crime, explains the menace goes beyond law enforcement.

    “The conspicuous consumption patterns is a major contributor. Some people enjoy the good life, while others wallow in destitution. In Nairobi, for every posh area, there is a slum Lavington, Riverside (Kawangware), Kilimani, Hurlingham and Woodley (Kibera) and Muthaiga (Mathare North),” Mr Mbarak points out.

    “All the guards, gardeners and househelps are drawn from these slums, who feed information about their bosses’ lifestyles. The same information eventually reaches criminals, and that is how crime evolves.”

    Private security guards

    Nairobi police chief Benson Kibui said investigations had revealed an alliance between private security guards manning residences and estates and criminal gangs.

    “The security guards cut off power to the electric fences and then tip off gangsters. The collusion is widespread. Unfortunately, police cannot be everywhere; we urge home owners to be vigilant,” he said.

    Assistant Commissioner of Police John Ndiema, who is in charge of Inspections at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, at the vetting of senior officers revealed that police do not keep proper records or preserve evidence.

    When the police do respond in time, or after investigations, they are brutal the Flying Squad and the Special Crimes Prevention Unit have been cited.

    For instance, on March 7, six men were gunned down in a shoot-out near the General Service Unit training school.

    Police explained it was a result of a crackdown on criminal gangs to tame crime upsurge.

    Mr Mbarak thinks this may not be the best approach.

    “The police cannot win by shooting and arresting criminals. When one is killed, there are 50 more graduating. Police try their best, but the gangs are simply too big to be contained.”

    “To address crime, the country must address socio-economic challenges by creating employment, make education relevant to social sustainability, and totally eradicate corruption.”

    Last week, a memo to Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo, seen by the Sunday Nation revealed that police are returning to the basics idea of mapping out crime prone areas and reviewing how police patrols should be conducted in future. Police also plan to re-introduce “999” patrol cars to respond to emergencies.

    So far, Muthaiga is, perhaps, the safest place to live in. It’s heavily guarded by the General Service Unit. The wealthy and mighty live there, including former President Kibaki, key western diplomats and heads of global institutions with offices in Nairobi.

    On Friday last week, a three-man gang broke into Pastor Julian Kyula’s house and robbed him of money and other valuables.

    The gang made a hole through the concrete wall to gain entry then broke the main door.
    About an hour earlier on Thika Road, Mr George Kiheru of the Nation Media Group, was attacked by four men, one carrying an AK-47 rifle.

    He had stopped at Roysambu to drop off a colleague, Mr Boniface Muigai. They were bundled into another vehicle and later abandoned at Mowlem, Dandora after being robbed of cash, mobile phones and other valuables.

    A recent police reshuffle aimed at promoting efficiency, saw four division commanders transferred in Nairobi––Patrick Oduma (Central), Akelo Odhiambo (Embakasi), Titus Yoma (Langata), and Mathew Gwiyo (Dagoretti).

    They were moved to Matuga (Kwale), Vigilance House, Kirinyaga South, and Mathira East in that order, and replaced by Fredrick Muthama Lai (Central), Appolo Wanyonyi (Embakasi), Elijah Mwangi (Langata), and Rashid Hulbale Mohammed (Dagoretti).

  • Uhuru's relatives robbed

    Thursday, March 13, 2014 – 00:00 — BY KAMORE MAINA

    PRESIDENT Uhuru Kenyatta’s aunt was carjacked in Nairobi on Tuesday night. Jean Njeri is married to Uhuru’s uncle George Muhoho, the former MD of Kenya Airports Authority. She was carjacked while driving on Uhuru Highway by armed criminals who robbed her and her driver of Sh 20,000, mobile phones and shoes. Crime has recently shot up in Kenya, particularly in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu, with carjackings hitting unprecedented levels. According to police statistics, there about 10 vehicle hijackings each day in Nairobi. Criminals have targeted affluent areas such as Karen, Kilimani, Kileleshwa, Westlands and Runda where they have broken into houses and robbed or carjacked the owners. Public transport has not been spared with matatus being seized and carjackers shooting dead any passengers who refuse to cooperate. Yesterday police deployed more General Service Unit officers to guard close and extended members of the First Family following incidents involving them.

    Muhoho’s wife was with her driver Moses Kamau when four armed gunmen attacked them as they waited for traffic lights to go green light near University Way at around 8pm. The thugs forced their way into her Nissan Wingroad car, robbed the two, and later dumped them near the International School of Kenya and disappeared with the vehicle. Police were yet to recover the vehicle by yesterday evening. Njeri then walked to Spring Valley police station to report the incident around 9.30 pm. Another report was filed at Nairobi Central Police station. Yesterday CID Chief Ndegwa Muhoro, Deputy IG Grace Kaindi and IG David Kimaiyo could not be reached for a comment as they were involved in police vetting. There have now been five attacks on the First Family since Uhuru became president in April 2013. In December, Uhuru’s son Jomo Kenyatta lost a mobile phone to muggers along Kenyatta Avenue. Jomo was driving from town at around 8pm when criminals snatched his phone through the car window which had been rolled down.

    On November 20, armed criminals raided the home of Uhuru’s uncle Ngengi Muigai and robbed him and the family of Sh200,000, mobile phones and other personal effects. No-one was hurt in the attack. A report filed at Spring Valley police station states that two men and a woman armed with an AK-47 attacked Ngengi in his home in Kyuna after cutting the fence. Three months later, detectives from the Special Crime Prevention Unit last week arrested two men and woman over the robbery. Police recovered a Nokia mobile phone stolen from the family. SCPU chief Noah Katumo confirmed the arrest but said the matter was still under investigation. He said police were yet to recover the AK-47 used in the attack. Police recovered the mobile phone from the woman who then led them to the two male suspects. She claimed she had bought the phone from the two men believed to be watchmen. All three denied attacking Ngengi.

    In July 2013 Central Province Police chief Larry Kieng said Peter Kariuki Njoroge was arrested and charged with robbery after being found with a Nokia 2730 stolen from the home of Uhuru’s aunt Grace Nyambura Muhoho in Gatundu. Nyambura is a sister to Mama Ngina Kenyatta and George Muhoho. Kieng said the mobile phone belonged to Gaiti Muhoho who died in June and was buried at his farm following a short illness. Armed gunmen raided Gaiti’s home on July 5 and stole three mobile phones. During the Westgate attack, Uhuru lost his nephew Mbugua Mwangi. Mwangi was shot several times as he tried to protect his fiancée Rosemary Wahito during the terrorist attack. Uhuru’s elder sister Christine Wambui, her personal secretary, and nephew Jomo Gecaga, who is Uhuru’s personal assistant, were also at the mall but escaped unscathed. – See more at: http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/article-158589/uhurus-aunt-carjacked#sthash.zlnksbj3.dpuf

  • Listen to the story of Homosexuality /Lesbianism in Kenya Schools>(

  • uhuruto wameshindwa

    Poll: Most Kenyans worried of insecurity
    Updated Saturday, February 1st 2014 at 00:00 GMT +3


    Most Kenyans feel the Government has failed to tame rising insecurity, a new opinion a new poll indicated. The survey said Kenyans believe the Government is not doing enough to keep them safe.

    The poll released early on Friday also noted that Kenyans are unhappy with the way the 10-month-old Jubilee alliance administration has failed to address the rising cost of living and joblessness.

    One out of every three Kenyans thinks the administration of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto has performed dismally in keeping Kenyans safe from thugs, terrorists and other outlaws, who have wreaked havoc in the country in recent weeks.

    The study by Strategic Research and Communications Consulting for Africa Limited also lists “economic crisis” as the most worrying issue among Kenyans. This is a pointer to the high cost of living as a result of the implementation of the 16 per cent value added tax last year. Insecurity is also high, and so are unemployment, corruption and poverty.

    Pending cases

    Jubilee alliance administration rode to power on the promise of giving jobs to youth, fighting corrupt cartels and declaring war on poverty.

    Devolution, the pending cases against the President and his deputy, and “poor governance” are also listed among the top concerns of Kenyans in the study conducted last month.

    “Asked what the issues that they felt the Government should deal with urgently, most Kenyans point to the creation of employment opportunities as the most urgent task followed by improving security situation and addressing of the high cost of living,” the study noted.

    It is not surprising that all these issues dominated the list considering the uproar that they have generated.

    The terror alert issued just two days ago, coupled with increased cases of robbery, muggings, and theft have had Kenyans a worried lot.

    The increased police patrols in major towns, and the personal assurance of the Head of State that he will deal with insecurity has done little to calm the nerves of Kenyans.

    There’s also a perception of corruption within the Jubilee government.  Prof Kithure Kindiki and Aden Duale claimed last week that corrupt cartels which masterminded Goldenberg and Angloleasing were frustrating the construction of the standard gauge railway line.

  • uhur's cousin robbed

    Thursday, December 5, 2013

    President’s kin robbed of cash in house raid

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    Armed attackers Thursday robbed President Kenyatta’s cousin of Sh280,000 at his Spring Valley house in Nairobi.

    This was the second time in a fortnight that the family of Mr Ngengi Muigai was attacked by armed robbers.

    Police said the gang of three men and a woman dug a hole through the fence and then held the security guard hostage at about 1am.

    When Mr Muigai’s son, Timothy, drove into the compound on Shanzu Road, he was seized by the robbers.

    Nairobi deputy county commander Moses Ombati said they forced him to take them into the house where they robbed his father of Sh280,000, six cellphones, two laptops and jewellery.


    They forced the son to drive them in one of the family cars to Lavington where they alighted. They then ordered him to drive back home.

    Mr Muigai had shifted from a house on Ole Dume Road in Kilimani late last month after armed attackers raided it.

    The latest attack occurred during a countrywide power blackout.

    “No one was injured,” Mr Ombati said.

    Police also reported that there has been an increase in the number of women involved in crime.

    Last week, police arrested a woman believed to have been behind the attack on former Kamukunji MP Maina Wanjigi in Karen. The armed attackers robbed the family of two firearms, Sh17,000 and household items.

    They also burnt Mrs Wanjigi with a hot iron.

    The Spring Valley robbery occurred barely 20 hours after four gang members, including a woman, shot and seriously wounded a security guard at a jewellery shop in the city centre.

    The gangsters had entered the Chandaria 2000 jewellery shop on Wabera Street posing as customers before they ordered everybody to lie down at gunpoint.

    The guard was shot in both thighs as he attempted to raise the alarm.

  • The swolution is to arrest and hang Kenya dictators >This is the way forward>

  • Likoni gun attack
  • Likoni gun attack
  • Enjoy a Lion specializing in eating Gnus testicles >Testical crasher>

  • Uhuru's securocrats

    21st March 2014

    Vol 55 N0 6

    A year of living precariously

    The ICC’s case against President Kenyatta is in disarray but so are his own political forces and the managers of his grandiose public spending plans

    At the presidential inauguration of Uhuru Kenyatta last April, few would have predicted the chaotic current state of the Jubilee Alliance government. Then, almost his sole preoccupation was to avoid trial at the International Criminal Court. The government has since expended so much energy on the ICC case that the business of running the country has suffered.

    One year on, the ICC case, which Kenyatta once described as ‘a personal challenge’, is all but over, say political sources in Nairobi. Witnesses, one of whom was scheduled to give extensive testimony on the meetings at State House that preceded some of the 2007-08 election violence, have recanted or disappeared. There have been indications that the Office of the Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, has been looking for the right moment to announce that the trial cannot go forward.

    Yet Kenyatta’s government is now deep in a war with an unexpected foe – itself. The President and his allies are fighting battles against the bureaucracy inherited from the previous government but are not prevailing. The conflicts are whittling away at the President’s authority and preventing his government from carrying out even some of its basic functions.

    Crime, inflation and grand corruption have risen sharply in the last year. Expectations of an economic take-off have dimmed since the cheers that greeted Kenyatta’s disputed election victory. The government has incurred new debt and inflated the public wage bill against a background of falling tourism revenue – the result of the Westgate terrorist attack and Islamist activity on the coast. Beside concern about loans from China and elsewhere, mostly for infrastructure expansion, there are worries about the growing cost of the new, devolved counties (AC Vol 55 No 4, No way to run a railway & AC Vol 55 No 5, Jubilee lays into America, too & Warning shot or loose cannon?).

    Presidential pay cut
    The public sector pay crisis has most starkly revealed the tensions within the government. On leaving a cabinet retreat a fortnight ago, Kenyatta announced that he and his deputy, William Ruto, would take a 20% pay cut, along with their cabinet. The reason: the public wage bill was fast becoming unsustainable. For the President himself, scion of one of the country’s wealthiest families and with numerous perks and privileges of office, the salary reduction was little more than a gesture. Wags in the media pointed out that the cost of his accommodation during the four-day retreat exceeded the pay cut he had taken.

    The presidency did not get the joke. State House officials summoned senior executives of the offending newspaper, The Standard, and forced them into a humiliating public apology for inflating the cost of the retreat.

    There appeared to be something more to the State House encounter than a mere flexing of authoritarian muscle – a habit that Kenyatta displays with increasing frequency. When, in an ostensible initiative to confront the public pay crisis Jubilee members of parliament tabled a bill proposing that the 47 counties be cut to ten, it was clear a full-blown assault on devolution was under way. The bill also proposed to eliminate all nominated MPs and women’s representatives, as well as reduce the county representatives from ten per county to three.

    The Jubilee government’s first year has been characterised by an impatience with the new constitution and a disregard for other arms of the state, notably the judiciary, which until recently was widely considered an independent champion of the new constitution. Kenyatta and Ruto have maintained a rhetorical enthusiasm for the constitution but neither supported it in the 2010 referendum.

    The President’s troops in Parliament began an assault on devolution almost as soon as they had been sworn in. They first rejected Senate proposals last May to increase subsidies to the counties. The case was heard by the Supreme Court and dismissed. Displaying its now established tendency to go rogue, Parliament – where Jubilee enjoys an unrivalled majority – then took on the judiciary, attempting to curtail its budget and dismantle the Judicial Service Commission late last year. Both the Speaker, Justin Muturi, and the leader of government business, Aden Bare Duale, are unashamed presidential loyalists. With the politics of sycophancy reminiscent of President Daniel arap Moi’s era now in full flow, it is hard not to see these assaults as coming directly from State House.

    The swift and irregular impeachment of Embu County Governor Martin Wambora looked to be part of the same campaign. A Jubilee man and a district administrator known for his closeness to Moi, Wambora was impeached by the county legislature based on corruption claims. He went to court, at which point the Senate, at odds with the Council of Governors, ignored a court order staying his impeachment and enforced his dismissal. Muturi remarked that he would not enforce what he termed idiotic orders from the courts.

    In rapid succession, Parliament has now tabled bills limiting the authority of the governors and threatened to reduce sharply subsidies to the counties. If the attack on the constitution is part of a slide back to authoritarian rule, the contest between divergent factions of the executive appears connected to controlling resources.

    Kenyatta has admitted that corruption cartels have touched his own office but he blames the Deep State, the cabals of top securocrats who were so powerful during Moi’s rule. The most recent scandal concerns procurement for school computers, a US$300 million pledge high on Jubilee’s manifesto which is now stuck in the mud of corruption claims at the Education Ministry. Tellingly, the President has been unable to act, an indication that the Deep State may be tying his hands.

    Both securocrats and the judiciary angrily deny claims that senior civil servants leaned on the Supreme Court last March to reject ex-Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s petition against the election results. Yet the influence of the likes of former civil service head Francis Kimemia remains undiminished (AC Vol 55 No 5, Warning shot or loose cannon?). Demoted for unexplained reasons during the Westgate attack and its embarrassing aftermath, Kimemia continues to be a key figure in the administration. Similarly, it escapes no one that no senior military official, including the Chief of Defence Forces, General Julius Waweru Karangi, has been punished for their handling of Westgate (AC Vol 55 No 1, Chickens come home to roost). Moreover, while Ruto’s supporters demanded the dismissal of several key State House officials for allegedly coaching ICC witnesses to testify against Ruto, Kenyatta emphatically defended them.

    Many believe that Kenyatta is beholden to the securocrats for trying to get him off the hook at the Hague but does not like it. Key securocrats continue to wield significant influence but he is only biding his time, say State House observers, until he can move against them.

    Meanwhile, accountants are delivering their litany of bad news about out-of-control public spending. The debt portfolio is being pushed towards a crisis point by grand infrastructure projects, like the new railway project. Devolution is making the public wage bill balloon and former President Mwai Kibaki’s tax-and-spend policies are still feeding through the economy.

    One year ago, the threats were all external. It was the ICC and the challenge of Odinga on the rostrums. Out of Parliament and government, Odinga is a much-reduced figure although he presents a potential threat to Kenyatta in 2017. It is the enemy within that is Kenyatta’s main concern.

    Copyright © Africa Confidential 2014

  • MP Wachira Karani robbed

    Laikipia West MP Wachira Karani was attacked and robbed of Sh200,000 in Nairobi at the weekend.

    According to Nairobi County police commander Benson Kibue, two gunmen on a motorcycle approached the legislator outside Ultravetis Company in Industrial Area on Saturday.

    (READ: Check city crime wave)

    “The attackers rode away without injuring the MP but took the money, a mobile phone and other personal effects,” he said.

    A few hours later, another gang of four men is said to have blocked a female motorist near the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication.

    Police records indicate that they forced her into the back seat and took control of her car, a Range Rover, and drove towards Ruai.

    They robbed her of Sh4,000, two mobile phones, and two ATM cards. They then abandoned her in Ruai after a tyre burst.


    On Sunday morning, police in Kayole recovered polythene containing a Ceska pistol loaded with seven rounds of ammunition.

    Meanwhile, Kilimani OCPD Peter Kattam said investigations are underway into the increased crime wave in the city.

    In another incident on Sunday night, passengers en route to Kikuyu from the city centre were robbed in Westlands after seven people in the vehicle turned out to be thieves.

    Irate passengers however managed to seize one suspect and attempted to set him ablaze but he was rescued by police.

    “We are investigating the case. The driver, who was also attacked, is admitted in hospital and is in stable condition,” said Mr Kattam.

    On Thursday last week, police arrested Joseph Kamau Njoroge and his conductor when they reported to police that four armed men posing as passengers had attacked them and robbed the passengers of cash and other valuables near Uchumi along Jogoo road.

  • ksh 500 billion lost

    Sh500b State funds cannot be accounted for
    Last updated on 24 Mar 2014 11:29

    By Lillian Kiarie

    Kenya: As much as Sh500 billion State cash could have been squandered or cannot be accounted for since 2012.

    That was the shocking revelation by the Auditor-General Edward Ouko, whose work is to keep track of Government spending to ensure taxes and other revenues the State generates is neither stolen nor misused, and that the spenders account for it to the last penny.

    Dr Ouko raised the red flag over continued plunder and discrepancies in the national book in his yet-to-be-released report for the fiscal year 2012/13.

    Even before the storm over the catalogue of mismanagement highlighted in earlier report settles, the auditor warns that preliminary findings of the latest audit show massive misappropriation of taxpayers’ funds.

    During the 2011/12 financial year, taxpayers lost more than Sh300 billion, but the latest estimates indicate the figure could rise to nearly Sh500 billion. This is close to half of what Government projects to collect in ordinary tax revenue in the current financial year.


    This is also the amount the Government is expected to use to fund its ballooning wage bill. This, in simple terms, is the cost of unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful spending by State departments and ministries.

    “Not much has changed. But I can point out that in our ongoing audit process, we are coming across similar cases of questionable unaccountability just like last year. The same ministries that were pointed out to be misappropriating funds are the same ones giving auditors wanting financial statements for auditing,” reckons Ouko in an exclusive interview with The Standard.

    The auditor warned that this misuse of public funds has “become the norm” and the biggest offenders were the same players.

    The wastage continues to soar even as the Government appears keen to cut down on runaway expenditure by introducing austerity measures, part of which is the move to have President Uhuru Kenyatta his Deputy William Ruto and Cabinet and Principal Secretaries taking a pay cut.

    Ouko estimates that up to 30 per cent of the Government’s total budget in any financial year is wasted. Last year, Sh338 billion of the total government expenditure for 2011/2012 was unaccounted-for. The total budget for the 2012/2013 financial year stood at Sh1.45 trillion, of which 30 per cent or Sh483 billion is likely to be misappropriated, he reckons.

    “The Sh338 billion plundered in 2011/2012 is more than enough to cater for the Nairobi-Mombasa Standard Gauge Railway,” Ouko explained.

    Airtime, flowers and tea were reported to account for Sh338 billion.

    The Auditor General, who is expected to release the 2012/2013 audit report mid next month also suggested the pay cut agreed on by the Executive should be channeled to strengthen the offices of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption, Controller of Budget and the Kenya Office of the Auditor General in order to curb this massive wastage of public funds.

    Ouko cited lax internal controls and disregard for procurement rules as major contributors to the excessive spending.

    Experts say wasteful spending in public offices is fueled by lack of consequences.

    Wasteful spending

    “If people continue to think they have done it before and nothing happened to them, then I guess the temptation is to continue to do it because nothing is done about it anyway,” said a Treasury source who declined to be named.

    Our Treasury source added that no lessons seem to have been learnt as no clear example has been sent out on what will happen if people break the rules.

    “The extent of questionable expenditure items and noncompliance by the accounting officers is indicative of an environment where incurring unauthorised and irregular expenditure has become the norm, and not the exception,” lamented Ouko.

    He, however, noted the recent Government commitments to do more about poor audit outcomes and wastage were reassuring, but were clearly not enough.

    Ouko emphasised the need for timely audits and proper Information Technology tools to seal financial misappropriation loopholes.

    “There is need for timely and continuous audits by independent bodies. Most Kenyans do not have the mental value of the magnitude of change this wasted money can do for the country. If you picture how much money is lost, you will see how much development funds we are throwing away,” Ouko added.

    Nairobi County

    He pointed out that Nairobi City County led the list of the units that failed to issue receipts for some services they rendered and to account for the financial operations in their departments.

    “Some of the departments in the Nairobi County, among other counties, fail to issue receipts for services they have rendered such as parking fees or they collect money from the public, notably hawking fees, without consent. When they do not give you the receipt that means that money is not accounted for. Where do you think it goes? To their pockets of course!” he said.

    “County governors have a tendency of making themselves unavailable when my team demands financial statements from them. They love to play cat and mouse games with my team and only react when their financial statements are made public,” he said.

    Ouko said releasing the reports was not a personal vendetta against any public official, but his office was merely performing its duties as expected of it by Kenyans.

    Ouko disputed claims that his office was not adequately performing its task and instead pointed out lack of adequate funding as one of the greatest challenges to performance.

    “My office is not the problem. Last year we requested for Sh3.6 billion as recurrent expenditure and Sh1billion for development expenditure, but we only received Sh2.1 billion for recurrent expenditure and Sh500 million for development,” he said.

    On development expenditure, Ouko’s team wanted to purchase land to set up new offices that would offer a good working environment.

    His team is currently occupying several floors at Anniversary Towers.

  • lose talk of how she will kill Putin and all Russians living in Ukraine!

  • OK who voted for this useless drunkard called Uhuu? The guy forcefully grabbed the presidency just to save his skin from Hague other than that hakuna kitu. People say that the only safe place in Kenya today is inside the statehouse. Rutos aid was just grabbed at the gate of statehouse,very soon hata inside the statehouse people will get robbed there. Uhuru is busy sucking wariah pussy!

  • Uhuru and corruption

    Corruption: Will President Uhuru Slay the Dragon?

    At face value, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s recent stance on corruption is commendable. It is a good start for anti-corruption efforts which have greatly suffered from the lack of political will from the previous governments. The president has prioritized the vice and it is just a matter of time to judge whether or not he is either on the right track or genuine about it. The intention of this commentary is to ensure that the president and his team do not repeat the mistakes that have been seen in the country or elsewhere in the world.

    First, it should be noted that the steps taken by the president are not unique to Kenya. The fight against corruption has been fought for many decades in this country by fine generals who have come and gone uncelebrated. Institutions to fight corruption have been created, recreated, named and renamed since 1960s. The fight has evolved, and losses have been counted and are still being counted. People have become wealthier overnight and have gone scot free. Public institutions have bowed before the kingdom of corruption. Services, as well as justice have only been available to those who can afford to pay an extra fee. Almost every aspect of governance in Kenya is corruption-infested.

    As a staunch supporter of President Uhuru’s recent move towards corruption, I will be devastated if these current efforts sublime in the thin air like back in 2002 when Mr. Kibaki took the helms of power. I hope that the President and his government know what they are up against. That is why I want to be part of it in any way I can. There are a few things that our newly ‘awakened’ war against corruption under the leadership of the president should put into consideration.

    Firstly; it is important to note that corruption is not a practice that can be eradicated. It is an inherent nature of human character and its occurrence can be regularized to avoid its negative aspects to socio-economic and political development. Corruption, just like any other vice in systems of governance, is an inherent individual or collective excess of those in position of influence in a society where structures of governance are not appropriately organized or designed. Secondly; clear conceptualization of corruption is needed before we can go ahead to formulate laws and design policies to regularize it. This will ensure that we do not end up criminalizing some aspect of our social life or forms of informal interactions in the society. The criminalization approach to corruption has clouded our reasoning and strategies towards anti-corruption efforts. As a result, we have tended to import policies and strategies that are contextually invalid. Thirdly; corruption is not entirely a legal matter and its reduction should comprehensively put into consideration other aspects other than legally defined aspects of corruption. In fact, in as much as the rule of law is very paramount in the fight against corruption, this legal aspect should include social-cultural and economic structures when designing anti-corruption policies.

    In this respect, the president’s team should consist of not only lawyers but Anthropologists, Sociologists, Political scientists and Economists. Moreover, the policy makers should revisit the previous strategies and understand why they failed or succeeded. I would suggest that instead of fighting corruption in general, the government should set right its priority areas. That is, the targeted areas should be well defined and prioritized. Anti-corruption effort has proved a sea of uncertainty that requires a compass direction to navigate. Otherwise there are possibilities that we might end up where we started from just like it has been for the past decades. This is what some scholars have referred to as finding entry points in situations where almost every citizen is not spared of corrupt practices. These entry points must not necessarily bring forth big structural changes, but instead inject small necessary changes that may result into big changes towards anti-corruption efforts.

    My advice to the president’s anti-corruption team will be based upon these lines of argument. I will start by asking; is the president really up for the task? How can we fight corruption given the history of disappointments of anti-corruption efforts and their current status? Where do we start from with high prevalence and deeply rooted network of corruption in our governance system? The answer lies in finding out societal, economic and political pillars being eroded by corruption. It also lies with instilling the rule of law in governance processes.

    It will be a waste of time to fight corruption in entirety because it is multifaceted, multilevel and complex. Worst still, in Kenya corruption has been institutionalized in the public sector by inter-sectoral cartels that embrace both public and private professionals. These cartels have imposed informal taxes in the public institutions. Apart from this, there are myriad aspects of corruption and not all of them deserve government focus. The president’s team should, therefore, prioritize areas of focus which if fixed; the positive effects may trickle down to affect non-priority areas. Priorities can be given to courts of law, the police, public service commission, and tax authorities. These institutions are key institutions in the life of a state. However, the focus must also be grounded within a complementary and independent institution such as anti-corruption bureau that should oversee the implementation of anti-corruption policies.

    Such priority or target areas should be broadly defined under various categories with objectives that should include; reinventing public trust in the public institutions – this may ensure a creation of a bottom-up anti-corruption norm in the society. Such norms are important since petty corruption in Kenya has been largely rationalized by grand cases of corruption that has eroded trust in public institutions. Strong anti-corruption norms among members of the public may make it cumbersome for corrupt politicians to get elected or re-elected. Making corruption a taboo in the society legitimizes anti-corruption policies and creates public trust. Trust in public institutions may, as well create self-perpetuating anti-corruption efforts by increasing their legitimacy and public participation.

    Objective number two should be to further reduce public officials’ discretion in service delivery by strengthening e-governance in areas I refer to as bribe zones. These include; the police, immigration department, Tax authority and licensing boards. E-governance has been identified as a tool that can possibly reduce corruption in the public sector. Sectoral reforms such as making police force lucrative by only absorbing, at least, Master’s graduates may change the working culture in the police force. This may create a culture of career consolidation rather than wealth accumulation. The latter is prevalent in the public institutions of sub-Saharan Africa. However, these can be long term objectives of anti-corruption measures. What I am trying to point out is the fact that anti-corruption efforts cannot be entirely detached from institutional reform exercises. Otherwise, it will be like covering a heap of garbage with a polythene cover and claiming to have cleaned it up. Corruption policies cannot be handled like spraying of mosquitoes to reduce malaria or spraying of pesticides to curb the spread of a crop disease. It is an act informed by and embedded in the institutional organization of public institutions.

    The third objective should focus on grand corruption. This is because fighting petty cases of corruption is a waste of resources and time for anti-corruption bureau. In other words; with its legally biased conceptualization of corruption, anti-corruption bureau may hardly find evidence for prosecuting petty cases of corruption. Petty cases of corruption take place in the most covert ways than grand corruption. The latter can be easily traced to procurement flaws. It is grand corruption that has been used to rationalized petty cases of corruption in the public institutions. Therefore, by prosecuting and confiscating properties of those senior officials or businessmen found guilty of corruption, the effect may trickle down to reduce corrupt behaviors amongst street level bureaucrats. This is the nipping the bud method which I am afraid might come with making political sacrifices by the president.

    If the president is up to the task of reducing prevalence of corruption, the first challenge will be to get prepared to make difficult political sacrifices. It has been historically proven that; for heads of state to fight corruption and instill public trust in their governments, they have sacrificed closest allies or supporters. Facing such decisions may determine whether or not the president is just opening another scene of anti-corruption failures in the country.

    The fight against corruption should not necessary be a distinctive government policy as seen in Africa. Public organizations, as well as government policies should be designed in such a way that they take into consideration aspects of corruption that are inevitable to public management. The governance structures by their design should be able to stall corruption. For example, if public institutions are so bureaucratic that they do not effectively deliver to the public, then they should be restructured. A case in point can be legalizing some informal payments meant to quicken service delivery process. That is, if a passport or an ID takes thirty working days to process, an extra fee should be legally introduced for those who would like to have it before then. However, it should be put into consideration that every aspect of the law is liable to abuse, and in that way, the government should ensure that service-seekers are very educated and informed. Therefore, instead of creating expensive distinctive institutions to fight corruption (which have failed), funds for such an institution should be rather injected into reducing aspects such as ignorance or reducing poverty that allow prevalence of corruption. Initiatives such as putting up more industries in rural areas can address poverty and increase access to education for the poor unemployed families.

    Unfortunately, with the level of corruption in the country, such funds may not reach where they are supposed to be. We have seen the collapse of industries like Kenya Co-operative Creameries under Daniel arap Moi’s presidency; which justifies the existence of an independent anti-corruption institution. But why has such an institution failed? The answer lies on its legally biased design as well as lack of political will from the government.

    An institutional structure of the Kenya’s Anti-Corruption Agency has hardly allowed it to effectively fight corruption. Apart from not being able to mobilize valid evidence, the hierarchical nature of this institution has increased power distance already eminent in our society, and of which is evidently correlated to corruption. The power distance has consolidated strings of patronage with it ugly faces in our public management. Hence, there is a probability that our Anti-Corruption bureau is not any different from other public institutions in the country in terms of its administrative culture. In this way, when the president is calling for an effective design for anti-corruption, he should first ensure that the bureau is not haunted by spirits of tribalism or political loyalties that have been used to twist the arms of the law. He should ensure that the bureau is insulated from political witch hunting and should have powers to prosecute culprits of corruption.

    In addition, the cost of engaging in corruption should be made higher than benefits incurred by perpetrators. This can range from long term imprisonment and blacklisting of all family members from any employment or business undertaking, to life imprisonment and confiscation of all properties registered in the names of the perpetrator and those of close relatives. But this requires the rule of law, which is limited in Kenya.

    However, the easiest and least controversial step would be if the president could start by ensuring that members of his cabinet declare their wealth and face public scrutiny on how they mobilized such wealth. The president should lead the pack in doing this and call upon the heads of other two arms of government to follow suit. By doing this, the president will mobilize the public behind him and it will not matter what kind of political sacrifices he will have to make. He shall have undertaken a simple step but created a big change.

    By Gedion Onyango,
    PhD Research Fellow, University of the Western Cape,
    Cape Town, South Africa.


  • if Uhuru’s son is not safe and gets mugged losing his mobile phone,who is an ordinary Kenyan? Uhuru should stop talking too much and begin acting.

  • Radicalizing Kenyan youth
  • ruto's wife should stop roaming around
  • Exposing smuggler routes
  • border corruption

    Kenya: How illicit trade in guns, sugar thrives along porous border

    Sunday, December 01, 2013

    Even as the move by Government to close of refugee camps in northern Kenya generates heated debate, reports about smuggling of goods in the region only add fuel to already burning fire.

    Dadaab is indeed more than just a refugee camp. Over the years, it has mutated into a major smuggling hub for sugar, rice pasta and electronic goods. Investigations by The Standard on Sunday reveal that illegal immigrants, some of whom have acquired Kenyan ID cards, smuggle more than 15,000 bags of sugar worth more than Sh72 million daily through the porous border with Somalia.

    More dangerously, the culprits sneak into the country illegal arms and ammunitions, posing a serious security threat. It is the latter threat that persuaded the Government, through Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku, to order the refugee camps closed. Officials of the UNHCR have, however, vowed to defy the order maintaining that the refugees can only leave the country on assurance of their security and better life back home.

    In the meantime, however, the activities of some of the refugees are only but helping to reinforce the Government’s case.

    Owing to the illicit trade in sugar in the north, Kenya loses Sh5 million in tax revenue daily. Most smuggling is accomplished through connivance of Government officials working in North Eastern including police, Kenya Revenue Authority, Customs officials, the Provincial Administration and the Kenya Bureau of Standards. The smuggling is conducted in the vast Dagahley, Hagardera and Ifo refugee camps in Dadaab District in Garissa County. Refugees in the Dadaab camps have established links with their relatives back home in Somalia, who bring in imported goods such as sugar from Kismayu Port in southern Somalia.

    Unlike in Garissa, where the sourcing of sugar is done by dealers in refugee camps, smuggled sugar which enters via Wajir and Mandera is procured by local Kenyan businessmen and Somali nationals, some of whom have illegally acquired Kenyan IDs. These traders have relatives in Somalia or connections through clan linkages.

    In an average week, 50 lorries with a capacity of 500 bags, each containing 50kg sugar, enter Wajir town, some offloading their cargo, while others proceed to Isiolo, Marsabit and Moyale towns in Marsabit County. Smuggling has been ongoing along the Kenya-Somalia border since the fall of Siad Barre’s regime in the 1990s.

    It has created an ‘untouchable’ community of millionaires, mainly Kenyan Somali traders, who are protected by a ragtag army in their trade deals. The millionaire smuggling community also includes Government officials who receive huge kickbacks to let in the goods.

    An eight-week investigation by this reporter, with support from Africa Centre for Open Governance (AfriCOG), established sugar enters through the border towns of Liboi, Mandera, Elwak, Hullugho and Wajir. Kenya produces 500,000 metric tonnes of sugar annually, while the consumption is approximately 800,000 metric tonnes, leaving a shortfall of 300,000 metric tonnes.

    This shortfall is supposed to be imported from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) region. It is this shortfall smugglers exploit when bringing in sugar. The sugar enters Somalia via the ports of Kismayu, Bosaso and Mogadishu and mainly originates from Brazil, having been packaged in United Arab Emirates (Dubai).

    However, smuggled rice comes into Kismayu from Pakistan. Smuggling is made attractive by the fact that the cost of sugar production in Kenya is about $600 (Sh51,000) per metric ton, which is way above the average production cost of $400 (Sh34,000).

    Locally, milled sugar goes for up to Sh120 a kilogramme whereas the smuggled sugar costs as low as Sh50 a kilogramme in the towns of Wajir, Garissa and Mandera. It means smuggled and imported sugar is cheaper than locally-produced sugar.

    Following frequent incursions by the Al Shabaab militia into Kenya resulting in sporadic killings, including the shoting of security agents such as administrative police officers, a number of security border posts have been closed down. This has led to major security gaps in the border.

    Due to the increased sugar imports into the Kenyan market during the last six months, retail prices have slightly fallen compared to the same period last year as reflected in the price of sugar in North Eastern. The smuggling is perfected by cartels that operate from refugee camps through links with their clans in Kismayu.

    They raise money and send it to their relatives in Somalia through forex bureaus locally known as ‘hawalad’. Their contacts in Somalia, upon receipt of the money, load the ordered quantities of sugar onto waiting lorries and trucks for onward transportation to the border points. Illicit deals It is at this point that Kenyan traders and brokers get involved in the smuggling.

    Once the lorries and trucks loaded with smuggled goods get to the border, the Kenyan dealers, who have established illicit relationships with Government officers and security agents, intercede. They pay these officials huge bribes to facilitate the trucks to cross the border.

    A notorious smuggler in Ifo refugee camp, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of being victimised for betrayal by his colleagues, says on average, 60 lorries of mainly 25 tons, popularly known as ‘miguu kumi’, carry 500 sacks each weighing 50kgs across the Kenya/Somali border at Dobley, every week. Usually, 30 trucks offload their cargo in the three camps, while the remaining 30 proceed to Garissa, Modagashe and other small towns on the outskirts of Garissa town, in a process coded as ‘Warabiis’ (feeder) by the smugglers.

    According to information we gathered, those found transporting 200 or more 50kg bags of sugar bribe senior security officials with at least Sh130,000, whereas those trafficking 200 bags and less part with a minimum of Sh85,000. Smugglers prefer ‘sorting out’ the police before the trucks arrive instead of allowing the vehicles to be impounded.

    Our smuggler source said: “We usually pay the ‘baraxat’ (pseudonym for bribe in the Somali language) through Kenyan brokers. These brokers usually have good contacts and are highly trusted by Government and security personnel because of their long established relationships.

    Bribes amounting to between Sh100,000 and Sh130,000 are paid out to be shared among some Government officials and security agents along the route from Liboi to Dadaab, which include refugee camps of Dagahley, Ifo and Hagardera.” When the intermediary agents pay bribes, the money is shared between officers at roadblocks and amongst their seniors.

    Investigations established that there are about 17 organised brokers from Liboi to Dadaab as well as in Garissa and Modagashe areas, whose responsibility is to ‘smooth’ the way for incoming trucks as soon as the drivers report their departure from Kismayu. The Kenyan brokers and many Somali nationals with illegally acquired Kenyan identification documents usually drive around in Four Wheel Drives with tinted windows.

    They enjoy unlimited access to many security areas and get preferential treatment at police stations and KRA offices. They move in and out of police stations, customs and KRA offices to pay off bribes so that their vehicles are allowed to cross unimpeded.

    The vehicles travel in convoys of 10-20 lorries at night when there is less movement along the routes getting through security roadblocks uninterrupted and unchecked. In order to reduce the frequency and amount of ‘baraxat’, smuggling is conducted through five main routes popularly known as ‘cut lines’ or ‘panya routes’ used to transport ‘barmuda’ (Somali for smuggled goods). The preferred routes are Karuraax 1 and 2.

    The other routes Others are Dobley (Somalia) -Madax-Baagey- Ifo- Garissa- Modogashe (99 kilometers) Dobley-Degelema –Abdi Sugow- Balambala-Ifo or Garissa or Dagahley or Hagardera (110 km).

    They also include Dobley-Degelema-Hameey-Welmarer Waldena- Amuma – H/dera- Fafi–Garissa and the 150km Shabah- Dedejabula- Sarif-Biyamadow-Dagahley.

    The latter route is lately being avoided because of increasing mobile patrols and road barriers erected by bribe-seeking security officials who may not necessarily be on duty.

    The smugglers’ journey from Kismayu port city to refugee camps in Kenya may take about 10 to 12 hours and they usually travel at night to avoid security personnel. They avoid security not for fear of arrest, but extortion.

    Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) in conjunction with forces from the African Mission in Somalia (Amisom) have since taken control of Kismayu port. It would be expected that with their control, smuggling would subside. On the contrary, facts on the ground indicate that this is not the case.

    Financing of sugar imports in Somalia is through the export of huge amounts of charcoal from Somalia to the Middle East. According to a UN report two years ago, charcoal worth between $35 million (Sh 1.5 billion) and $50 million (Sh4.2 billion) is exported from Kismayu per year.

    The export of charcoal is thus the bloodline that brings other contraband into Kenya. When KDF took over Kismayu, it disregarded a UN request to uphold the ban of the export of millions of tons of charcoal at the port. Consequently, the importation of sugar and hence its smuggling to Kenya has continued unabated despite the take-over of the port by military personnel. For instance, Dadaab Acting Deputy County Commander, Bernard ole Kipury, acknowledges that smuggling of contraband goods, mainly sugar from Somalia, is a big problem that cannot be overlooked.

    He blames the smuggling in Dadaab on its proximity to the border and the involvement of wayward Government officers. He says the Government is committed to fighting the menace. According to Kipury, “efficient policing of our porous borders with Somalia is a very tasking endeavour.” He says there are more than 40 routes which smugglers use interchangeably to sneak in illegal goods.

    To adequately fight this, he said, the Government would require about 1,500 soldiers to cordon off the borders or install high-tech surveillance cameras “which may be impossible at the moment.” But the fact remains that the challenge is not that of numbers of officers required for deployment. The challenge is corruption, lack of patriotism and indiscipline by officers deployed in the region.

    As a consequence of illegal imports of arms and ammunition, banditry has for many years become rampant in the region. Further, the illegal trade in charcoal and sugar is believed to be funding the activities of Al Shabaab, the Islamist militia that has been fighting Somalia authorities amd causing insecurity in Kenya, including the recent Westgate Mall in Nairobi.

    Osman Abdi Ibrahim, the Chairman of Dadaab District Peace Committee says smugglers bring in firearms and ammunition hidden underneath smuggled foodstuffs, taking advantage of the fact that their vehicles are not inspected by security officers. These firearms are later used in criminal acts in Kenya.

    Wajir County Police Commander David Kuria says he is liaising with other stakeholders in the county to come up with fresh strategies to deal with the menace. Wajir East Deputy County Commissioner Jacob Warengo says security stakeholders are working on new ways of dealing with the smuggling by making random and incognito crackdowns on business premises.

  • On the heels of terror
  • On the heels of terror
  • Corruption in Kenya

    How cartel lets illegal immigrants into the country

    In Summary

    •The Nation traced the underground routes through which foreigners enter the country and secure key identification documents with the connivance of corrupt officials.
    •At the core of the racket are brokers known as ‘mukallas’ by immigrants who operate with utmost secrecy, thriving in jargon and masterminding specific routes.
    •The Nation learnt it is difficult to arrest immigrants from Somalia because they are well-connected and well-oiled with money.

    Corruption in the Immigration Department and police service has made it easy for foreigners to enter Kenya and secure ID cards in a matter of weeks, Nation has established.

    In the midst of growing terrorism threats and the resultant crackdown on illegal immigrants, the Nation traced the underground routes through which foreigners enter the country and secure key identification documents with the connivance of corrupt officials in departments clustered under the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government.

    At the core of the racket are brokers known as ‘mukallas’ by immigrants who operate with utmost secrecy, thriving in jargon and masterminding specific routes.

    The immigrants are mainly from Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan, who sneak in through porous borders and make their way by road to the Isiolo town where they begin the process of securing ID cards and passports.

    Thereafter, they make their way to Nairobi or other places of their choice.

    Mr Ibrahim Hassan, the officer in charge of Prisons in Isiolo, where those unfortunate enough to be caught are held for deportation, said the dream to gain entry into Kenya is overwhelming for the foreigners.

    “Coming to Kenya, for them, is like the American dream. They sell everything they have to give brokers the money who sneak them into the country,” he says.

    Mr Hassan says fining the immigrants is a waste of time since most of them do not have any money with them.

    “Because it is expensive to accommodate the high number, we recommend that they be deported as soon as they have been arrested,” he says.

    The border town of Moyale, which lies on the North Corridor, is cited as the key point where foreigners from Ethiopia and Somalia converge before heading to Isiolo.

    Somali immigrants mainly enter Kenya through Mandera and then proceed to Moyale using local guides.

    From Moyale, they are able to navigate their way to Isiolo despite the highway between the two towns having having nearly a dozen security checks.

    The ‘mukallas’ have links to networks in the police who alert them about the security barriers.

    For instance, when a truck full of illegal immigrants is a kilometre away from a roadblock, the passengers are told to alight and walk through bushes, and then board the truck again past the checkpoint.

    “We catch up with the truck a kilometre after the roadblock. All along we are led by someone who knows the terrain well,” an immigrant who spoke in confidence to the Nation in Isiolo Town said.

    Mr George Naibei, the police chief at Archers Post in the outskirts of Isiolo, said most of the immigrants arrested are from Ethiopia.

    The Nation learnt it is difficult to arrest immigrants from Somalia because they are well-connected and well-oiled with money.

    This makes it easier for them to make their way through bribes.
    “We have arrested several, especially when the water levels at the Ewaso river are high, this makes it difficult for them to cross, so they have to use a vehicle,” Mr Naibei says.

    Isiolo Town is their first port of call beacuse of its strategic location and ethnic mix, which akes it easy to melt into the local population.

    Investigations led the Nation team to a man only identified as “Mr Harrison”, who had at the ready all the tools for processing identity cards.

    Mr Harrison has a camera for taking passport photos, a roller for taking finger prints, IDs’ registration forms and a vehicle.

    Thr Nation team met a group of 15 beneficiaries of Harrison’s services at Nairobi’s Eastleigh. They were not supposed to get out of the house until their IDs were ready.

    To reach Harrison on phone, one has to use a certain jargon.“When you are seeking his help you say, ‘niko na mbuzi iko Kiamaiko, unaweza zinunua?’ (I have goats at Kiamaiko, can you buy them?),” says a middleman.

    After agreeing on the mode of payment, the immigrants revealed, Harrison takes a down payment and then embarks on making the IDs.

    “He came into the house where we were waiting already armed with a camera, a roller and the forms,” the source told the Nation.

    The immigrants readily paid the money and Harrison took their credentials and set off for Isiolo.

    “He told us the IDs would be ready in three weeks, he was paid Sh100,000 on the spot, he is known to deliver, so we had no reason to doubt him,” the source revealed.

    In Isiolo, Nation learnt, Mr Harrison goes into the interior, where he convinces poor peasants parents to provide their IDs and accept and pose as parents of the applicants in exchange of between Sh1,000 and Sh2,000.

    Mr Hassan Hokicha, a chief in Isiolo admits it is difficult to prove that the applicant is fake.

    “We normally tell applicants to bring their birth certificates to prove they are from this area, but sometimes they say they have attained the age of getting an ID and they do not have any education, so do we turn them away yet the parents have said the applicants are their sons or daughters,” he says.

    Mr Harrison then forwards the forms to the registrar of persons office in Isiolo using his contact inside.

    The forms are brought to Nairobi for processing like all normal applications. After three weeks, the genuine Kenyan IDs are ready for collection.

    Harrison brings them to the owners, who now become citizens of the country from Isiolo County, gets his cut and goes back to Isiolo to wait for another deal.

    With the ongoing police swoop in the country, we were told, Mr Harrison is lying low.

    By the time of going to press, we had forwarded all the details of Harrison to the CID and Immigration Department.

  • terrorism and police abuse in Kenya

    The Economist

    Security in Kenya

    Little law, less order

    Crime, terrorism and police abuse are all rising together

    May 10th 2014 | NAIROBI | From the print edition

    FIRST a van swerved down the motorway to Thika, then a police car. Coming to a stop 200 yards ahead, a man jumped out of the van and ran along the barrier in the middle, pursued by a policeman with his gun cocked. He fired repeatedly at the man, the bullets flying directly into oncoming traffic. Bystanders fled in panic, but were hardly surprised. In Kenya the police are often as dangerous as the criminals.

    A neighbour of your correspondent in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, was recently held up at gunpoint, beaten up and robbed by a gang a dozen-strong. It had picked the wrong target, though. Maina Wanjigi is a former cabinet minister whose son is a friend of the president. Within days, special-branch police had hunted down and killed every one of the intruders.

    Summary execution is a common fate for Kenyan criminals. A motorcycle rider in Nairobi was recently threatened by a robber who jumped on the back of his bike. The rider bravely bashed him over the head with the helmet he was about to put on and alerted a policeman standing nearby. The officer strode up, confirmed that the man writhing on the ground was the robber, and shot him at point blank range. Even criminals who make it to court may still face an extrajudicial death. Bail is easy to get and court dates often missed. But victims can pay corrupt policemen to bring fugitives back—to be shot on arrest.

    The crime rate has undoubtedly been rising. The UN, whose agencies have a large presence in the capital, reckon the number of burglaries in Nairobi doubled to 300 from the last quarter of 2013 to the first quarter of this year. Private security companies, who are reckoned to employ more than 100,000 people in Nairobi, are thriving. Ever more cameras, fences and walls are going up, with barbed wire strung along the top. Some robbers, dressed as guards, have taken over entire residential compounds and methodically cleaned out all the houses.

    In the Nairobi suburb of Karen, a banker’s wife was recently woken up by her son who had a robber’s gun barrel in his mouth. Four different gangs are said to operate in the area, undeterred by the muscular police presence. A local official describes them as “cheeky”. In March the vice-president’s spokesman, David Mugonyi, was hijacked in his car near the president’s office. After being beaten up, he scraped together $1,500 through mobile-banking before he was released. “They brazenly drove with him through the main city streets,” a newspaper reported.

    Political violence is rising, too. Though Kenya avoided bloodshed during last year’s elections, it has since experienced a rash of terrorism and clumsy counter-measures by the police. Last autumn a four-day siege at the Westgate shopping centre ended with at least 67 dead. The Shabab, a Somali Islamist group responsible for that outrage, has since carried out numerous smaller-scale bombings, including one in March when police stopped a Somali driver and, without searching his car, took it to a police station. Bombs in the boot then blew up, killing four people. On May 3rd and 4th, bombs exploded on public buses on the outskirts of Nairobi.

    Security forces have reacted with vigour but often without much sense. Soldiers plundered the Westgate centre while searching for attackers. The siege lasted so long, it is widely reckoned, because it took time to cart away the loot. In April police rounded up 3,000 Somalis in a football stadium, antagonising a whole community whose co-operation is needed to uncover the bad eggs within it. A week earlier, a radical Muslim cleric known as Makaburi, who had encouraged young men to join the Shabab, was shot dead outside a court in Mombasa, Kenya’s port city. Many people assumed security agents killed him.

    Uhuru Kenyatta, who became president last year despite accusations at the International Criminal Court in The Hague of masterminding ethnic killings six years ago, has pledged to make Kenya safer. “For a long time, the security sector has not been given the attention it deserves,” he said recently. “We are changing that.”

    He has a long way to go. The main problem is that the police are underpaid and phenomenally corrupt, with little respect for the law. The lowliest guards working for private security companies are far better paid than their counterparts in the police. Traffic police, for instance, routinely stop drivers for spurious reasons, expecting a bribe in return for letting them proceed. It has been reported that even to obtain a place in police college, you need to pay a bribe. “The police are completely out of control,” says a prominent farmer.

    Kenya does not even have a public telephone number for people to ring in an emergency. The police are chronically short of money. A leaked report claimed that Nairobi’s anti-terror police unit has a monthly operational budget of $735.

    Kenya is one of the world’s five leading countries in terms of the funds it gets from the United States for combating terrorism. Last year it got $8m. Britain has helped to train Kenyan forces in counter-terrorism. But the governments of both countries, disappointed with the results, have reduced their level of co-operation. It is hard to see where the president can begin.

  • Homeowners flee after thugs

    Homeowners flee after thugs terrorise estates

    Written by MALACK OBEGI, posted on May 9, 2014 (2 days ago)

    Hardcore gangsters have taken over a neighbourhood on the outskirts of the city, forcing home owners to abandon their mansions and rent houses in safer locations.

    Mr Isaac Parashina is one such homeowner. In just five months, the gangsters have attacked him three times, forcing him to abandon his newly built three bedroom mansion in the Bondeni area of Ngong and rent a house in the relatively safer Ongata Rongai.

    In the latest attack two weeks ago, a gang of five broke into his home after shooting the night guard.

    “The guard narrowly escaped death; they shot him at the chin and thought he had died,” a neighbour recounted, requesting not to be named for fear of attracting reprisals from the gangsters.

    Another abandoned home in Bondeni Estate, Ngong.

    “The gangsters stole assorted household goods including mobile phones, cash and electronics during the attack,” said the neighbour.

    Late comers

    “The police arrived late, long after the gangsters had terrorised us. In this place, neighbours hardly come to the rescue of one of their own whenever such attacks happen,” the man said.

    After attacking Mr Parashina, the gang went to another home about 200 metres away and defiled a 12-year-old girl as her parents watched in horror. They left after robbing the family of household goods.

    Days earlier, another resident had been carjacked as he drove home at around 9 pm.

    The carjackers used his phone to ask his relatives to send money to him via M-pesa failure to which they would harm him, the man said.

    Once they had collected a substantial amount and transferred it to their M-pesa accounts, they dumped him in Ongata Rongai. His vehicle was later recovered in Kiserian.

    “It is a well organised gang. I once encountered them, they all wore police uniforms and they seem to know this area very well,” he added. Mzee Paraset Sindeu, who has lived in the area all his life, said the gang has poisoned more than ten dogs in various homes before committing the robberies.

    A resident, only identified as Mama Wanjiru said her two dogs were killed by the gangsters before her home was attacked.

    She told of her next door neighbour who has been attacked more than six times since moving to the area. In the latest robbery, they tied the children using neck ties in one room, ransacked the house before using the family car to ferry away the stolen goods.

    Abandoned car

    The vehicle was found abandoned in Ongata Rongai two days later.

    Last year, veteran politician Abuya Abuya was attacked and robbed of his vehicle and other valuables in the same area. To date, the vehicle has not been recovered.

    In the latest attack on Sunday night, a bodaboda rider was attacked and killed by gangsters who also stole his motorcycle.

    A few hours earlier, a gang had attacked a home in the area and seriously injured one person before stealing household goods.

    The attack prompted officers from the Ngong police station four kilometres away to swing into action, gunning down the gang’s suspected ringleader.

    The officers raided the suspect’s shanty in Ngong’s Mathare slums and shot him dead.

    According to police reports, the suspect only known as Mbugua, a father of two, shot at the police before being gunned down. His wife was seriously injured and rushed to Kenyatta National Hospital where she is receiving treatment.

    Residents blamed police officers for failing to deal with the insecurity in the area.

    Area chief Joseph Lempeiyan, however, said police had intensified patrols and plans were underway to open a new police post.

    Ngong OCPD Farah Mohammed said security had been beefed up in Bondeni.

    “We have increased security patrols in Bondeni and that is why crime has drastically reduced,” he stated.

  • MRC Militants Bullets Ridden Bodies

    GRAPHIC PICS: Bullets Ridden Bodies And Blown Out Brains Of MRC Militants Who Attempted A Raid At NYALI ARMY BARRACKS

    Today in the morning at around 5:00 AM MRC attacked ‪‎Nyali Barrack‬ with intent to murder soldiers and rob firearms. They jumped through the perimeter wall while armed with machetes and UNFORTUNATELY hacked one soldier on guard killing him.

    The other soldiers fought back shooting dead 6 MRC militants on the spot. They wore black clothes, blue ribbons on the head and talked in a ‘particular’ vernacular language during the attack.

    They were saying that they have been protected by special charms by witchdoctors.

    The attack seems systematic, well planned and executed since ‪‎Malindi‬ AP camp was attacked and vehicles damaged.

  • North eastern chaos

    KENYA-SOMALIA: Insecurity without borders

    GARISSA/MANDERA, 17 September 2010 (IRIN) – The Islamist insurgency in Somalia has had a spillover effect on security in the northeast of neighbouring Kenya, affecting livelihoods and the delivery of services, say residents and officials.

    The worst crimes reported in the region recently include killings, carjackings and abductions – including, in 2009, of aid workers and, in 2008, of two nuns. Insecurity in the borderlands has led thousands of livestock herders to abandon their traditional grazing land, say locals.

    Dozens of community programmes have been disrupted, notably those dealing with reproductive health, sanitation, food security and education, according to NGOs working in the region.

    “There is a direct effect of insecurity in Somalia for the humanitarian operations in northeast Kenya,” Patrick Lavand’homme, deputy head for Kenya of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, told IRIN.

    “One of these effects is that Somali rebels enter Kenyan territory. Messages and threats have been received by humanitarians about their own security from some of the Somali groups,” he added, noting that as a result of these incursions and indigenous banditry and armed cattle rustling, the UN classifies the region as a phase-three security zone, “which means no [UN] movement can be done without armed escorts”.

    A senior UN source working with security concurred, asking not to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

    “I think it [insecurity in Somalia] has worsened the situation in northeast Kenya. There is no government on the other side. Nobody knows how many weapons go back and forth across the border. That is always a concern,” he said.

    “Northeast Kenya, and Mandera specifically, is just across the border, and this is not a real border, there is no fence. There are known Al-Shabab elements in control on the other side of the border,” he said, adding, however, that it was impossible to say how much of the criminality in the region could be attributed to Somalis rather than Kenyans.

    “It makes it harder for the UN to do business, there is no freedom of movement without escorts, there is a 6pm to 6am curfew. It is not an area where humanitarian workers move freely,” he said.

    The difference between the two sides of the porous border, he added, was that Kenya had an active police unit that provides “some level of security” in the region.


    Kenya Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe told IRIN: “The spillover effect is mainly in terms of firearms and lawlessness. The legal way of solving disputes has also been suspended on the other side such that disputes are sometimes solved with shooting.

    “The frequency [of attacks] may be small but the impact is high… humanitarian workers may not be able to do all they would like to or they may not go to the areas at all,” he said.

    “This feeling of vulnerability has caused a disproportional deployment of security officers there. Going by the population of the area and the economic activities, that place should not be taking the number of security officers it takes.”

    For such security officers, according to a recent Chatham House report, “being posted to the arid northeast, and particularly to administer the border area, is not an attractive proposition.

    “It entails dealing with a ‘strange terrain’, ‘strange people’, a ‘strange culture’ (pastoralism) and ‘strange way of life’ (relentless insecurity),” Hussein Mahmoud wrote in Livestock Trade in the Kenyan, Somali and Ethiopian Borderlands.

    “As a result, soldiers’ morale is usually low, and this seriously affects their performance. The problems of effectively controlling the border are compounded by its length and rough terrain,” the report added.

    Security reviews

    To minimise risks, many agencies review security on a daily basis. Measures, often costly, such as not travelling at night, avoiding certain routes and areas, moving in convoys, ensuring field staff keep in regular radio contact with head office and using local staff to work in more sensitive areas are also employed.

    “Current security management procedures and adherence have been made very strict, the security situation along the border is frequently monitored with all staff and volunteers under instructions to liaise with the security forces about any changes in the security situation,” said an NGO worker.

    “The [Somali] militias have made several attempts to abduct other workers and steal vehicles but failed; the threat, however, still looms,” he added.

    NGOs are opting to ground their own vehicles, relying on hired transportation instead. “The police stations and patrol bases in Mandera resemble a parking bay… all the vehicles owned by NGOs have been parked and instead we hire vehicles to do our work. It’s expensive as transporters charge exorbitant prices and we use a lot of money to pay for security,” said a member of the Mandera NGO Forum, who asked not to be named.

    He said the insecurity had denied hundreds of needy families assistance because few skilled personnel were willing to work for NGOs in the insecure areas. Voluntary staff, who lack insurance, are particularly reluctant to work in risky areas.

    “The NGOs which have left Mandera are not cowards… Their reasons for leaving are justified as some had been attacked and threatened as being agents of western countries and spreading Christianity,” the Forum member added.

    A ban, reportedly imposed by clerics with links to Al-Shabab, on public screenings of films and football matches has cut off the income of many video parlours, said one trader in Mandera.

    “It’s a very sad situation that a group of [foreigners] can disrupt our lives, deny young children, poor families and women the support they need most,” added another resident.

    Budget pressure

    The situation is similar in the neighbouring districts of Garissa and Wajir, said Irshad Yussuf, the Sisters for Maternity Health Organization Community Health Programme Manager.

    “Our budget has considerably increased; this has forced us to evaluate some of our projects in areas along the border.

    “The expenditure on security is enormous, our reproductive health programme is at risk because we propagate the use of condoms for family planning, raise HIV/AIDS awareness and campaign against FGM [female genital mutilation/cutting]. I am sure the guys across the border consider our mission to be anti-Islam. This is wrong. We are also Muslims,” he said.

    Health programmes such as child immunization suffer the most, with some community organizations unable to monitor their projects, Yussuf told IRIN.

    According to the Kenya Red Cross Society, the insecurity has also complicated the planning of prompt disaster response.

    [This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

  • Uhuru has failed

    Kenya’s insurgency

    Somalia’s troubles come south

    Kenya is battling an ever more sophisticated jihadist foe

    Dec 2nd 2014 | NAIROBI | Middle East and Africa

    IN the small hours of December 2nd gunmen snuck up on a group of sleeping quarry workers in Mandera country, close to Kenya’s border with Somalia. They were rounded up and made to lie face-down on the ground. Thirty-four of the men, who make a pitiful living mining and breaking stones, were executed with a bullet to the head; two were beheaded; all were non-Muslims.

    Ten days earlier in the same remote part of Kenya gunmen flagged down an early-morning bus. Each passenger was asked to recite a verse from the Koran and to respond to a Muslim greeting. Those who failed were shot in the head. Twenty-eight people, many of them teachers going home for the Christmas holidays, were killed.

    The Shabab, the militant Somali group affiliated with al-Qaeda, which is strengthening its foothold in Kenya, said it carried out both massacres.

    The attacks underscore Kenya’s state of dire insecurity and inability to come to grips with the Shabab, either in the countryside or in key cities. The militant group had already struck the capital in an assault on the Westgate Mall in which at least 67 people were killed in September 2013. But this was merely the most prominent of at least 136 terror attacks that have taken place since 2011, when Kenyan soldiers were sent into Somalia to help push back the Shabab. Most have been small-scale: a grenade tossed at a bus stop or a volley of bullets fired into a church, but the group’s ability to mount more complex attacks seems to be improving.

    The Shabab’s focus has shifted somewhat from Somalia, where it has lost control of towns to Kenyan and other forces operating under an African Union banner and where key leaders have been killed in American air or drone strikes. In Kenya it is seeking to drive a wedge between already divided Christian and Muslim communities. At Westgate the four gunmen made patchy efforts to separate Muslims and non-Muslims, and in the end killed many of both. It was a blow at the heart of the Kenyan state. Members of the elite, including a nephew of President Kenyatta, were massacred in a mall that symbolised Kenya’s growing wealth. By contrast the killings in Mandera and Mpeketoni, where at least 60 people were killed in June, probed at the poor and neglected edges of the country.

    Nigeria, at the other end of Africa, offers a case-study in what happens when the persistent low-level ravages of an Islamic insurgency are ignored. Boko Haram’s attacks there have brought the legitimacy of the state into question. The Shabab’s recent actions betray similar tactics.

    Since Kenya’s independence some 60 years ago, mostly-Christian communities in the north have jealously held power and money. Generations of neglect and marginalisation of Kenya’s Muslim and Somali communities, combined with the easy cross-border flow of extremists and deepening domestic inequality, have created a reservoir of angry, excluded young men ripe for recruitment by jihadists.

    Kenya’s capacity for catastrophic inter-communal strife was borne out in the wake of the 2007 elections, when more than 1,100 people were killed in politically-motivated tribal violence. Now the Shabab is trying to prise apart another of Kenya’s fault lines.

    The primary vehicle for extremism in Kenya is al-Hijra, an affiliate of the Shabab whose leader, Sheikh Ahmed Iman Ali, lives in Somalia. According to Matt Bryden, director of Sahan Research, a Nairobi-based think-tank. “Al-Hijra has been slowly but steadily growing in strength and capability, and increasingly represents a domestic threat in its own right.”

    Moreover the state appears to be exacerbating the problem with heavy-handed tactics. In the days before the Mandera bus attack Kenyan police raided a series of mosques in the coastal town of Mombasa. About 200 people were arrested and four mosques were shut down. Police displayed hand grenades, pistols and knives they said were seized inside the mosques.

    The local response was outrage from Muslim community leaders and human rights activists, and then an angry rampage by Muslim youth in which three people were stabbed to death.

    The subsequent bus attack, claimed a spokesman for the Shabab, was an act of revenge for the mosque raids. He also reiterated a demand that Kenya withdraw its troops from Somalia, where 3,700 soldiers serve, and promised more attacks. “This is a war between Muslims and non-believers,” he declared.

    The group’s former “emir”, Ahmed Godane, had made a similar ateempt to stir sectarianism in Kenya with one of his last audio messages before being killed in an American air strike in September. Godane addressed Kenyan security operations in which ethnic Somalis were rounded up and deported, presenting the Shabab as defenders of both the faith and the people. The killings in Mandera indicate that new leader, Ahmed Umar Abu Ubaidah, is sticking to Godane’s strategy.

    The vengeful tit-for-tat of this fitful war is set to continue. Within hours of the Mandera bus attack Kenya’s army said it had pursued and killed the attackers. It then launched retaliatory air strikes on suspected Shabab camps across the border. Hours after the quarry massacre President Uhuru Kenyatta said that “we will not flinch in this war against terrorists” and replaced his embattled interior minister and police chief. A military response is expected but Kenyans are wondering why their government and security forces always seem to be a step behind.


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