Uhuru Kenyatta has Failed to Tame Insecurity in Kenya
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.
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.