Uhuru Kenyatta Has Failed to Tame Insecurity in Kenya (Part II)
First and foremost, I send my sincere and heartfelt condolences to all those who lost their loved ones on April 2, 2015 during the horrible attack by al-Shabaab terrorists at Garissa University College in Kenya. There were at least 142 students from the total number of 148 people who were killed. Secondly, I strongly condemn the callous actions of the killers who cut short the lives of those young and hopeful Kenyans, who had nothing to do with their evil minds.
Apart from the above, I am angered that President Uhuru Kenyatta rubbished the travel advisory issued particularly by the United Kingdom government on March 27, 2015 which warned about an impending terror attack in Garissa. “There is a high threat of kidnapping in the areas within 60km of the Kenya-Somalia border, in Garissa County and in coastal areas north of Pate Island”, according to a section of the dispatch. Uhuru was cited in the media on April 01, saying: “As much as they say they don’t want their taxi drivers to come, President Obama has said he is coming.” The Interior Ministry Cabinet Secretary (CS) Joseph Nkaissery, equally acted with disdain to the warning by mentioning: “As government, we strongly believe that these advisories are driven by considerations, other than insecurity.” A day later when Garissa University College was attacked, Nkaissery responded that: “We were taken by surprise.”
Uhuru has been reckless with his words in the past, such as when he asked where the parents of a three year-old girl were, when she was raped by her uncles last November. Which normal parent would knowingly let their child be raped? Travel advisories by the European, Australian and American foreign offices should be taken seriously by sharing information across the security arms of the government to prevent unnecessary deaths. If Uhuru has a personal problem with the British because of refusal by the UK government to support Uhuru’s anti-ICC rhetoric since the son of Kenyatta came to power, he should solve it instead of sacrificing the security of millions of Kenyans.
Ironically, in 2013 Uhuru hired the London-based British PR firm, BTP Advisers, to run his presidential campaigns which reportedly cost 100 million euros (KES 10 billion). He has now added former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, to his list of advisers. Uhuru’s family and a small group of Europeans, mainly of British descent, own some four million acres of land in Kenya. In 1943, Englishwoman Edna Clarke bore a son for his late father President Jomo Kenyatta, named Peter Magana Kenyatta. Moreover, the mother of Margaret, Uhuru’s wife, is German. He should therefore stop fooling Kenyans that he has a problem with white people, yet he is filthy rich and is much closer to them, than his poor sycophants.
Ineptitude and misplaced priorities
The Kenyatta regime has not learnt much since the Westgate Mall attack by al-Shabaab in September 2013. The group continues to kill knowing that the response by Kenyan security is often slow and ineffective. Harrowing narratives are gradually coming from some of the Garissa massacre survivors, who will remain scarred for life, because they either saw or heard their colleagues dying painfully from gunshot or machete wounds. Media reports indicate that it took seven hours for the Recce Squad of the General Service Unit (GSU) to get orders to fly to Garissa, after being alerted at 6 a.m. The first responders who were regular police, were overwhelmed at the scene and received support from the military personnel based at the Garissa barracks. However, they could also not do much since they are not trained for close combat like the GSU. Meanwhile, the four Shabaab members had a field day taunting and laughing at the terrified students, whom they slaughtered without fear.
Once again, Kenyans died mainly because they could not be saved on time due to logistical and decision-making weaknesses that saw the Interior CS Nkaissery and the Inspector General (IG) of Police Boinnet, board a plane to Garissa instead of flying the Recce Squad there immediately. The April 5, 2015 Sunday Nation newspaper has revealed that 18 members of the GSU were eventually deployed to Garissa and within 30 minutes, they had killed the Shabaab militants. It is claimed that the delay in flying the squad members was due to their heavy equipment which could not fit into the available police airplanes. The Interior Ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka has been quoted in the Sunday Nation saying that the nine hours taken by GSU to respond was normal, since they had many moving parts. Really?
When former Prime Minister Raila Odinga was preparing to bury his late son Fidel Odinga in January 2015, President Uhuru Kenyatta personally offered four military helicopters to ease transportation to his rural home. Since he is the Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defense Forces, why did he not order the military to provide choppers to deploy the Recce Squad members immediately to Garissa? Talk about misplaced priorities. Most of those students endured pain and psychological torture while trapped in their hostels waiting to be butchered, yet Uhuru was sitting in Nairobi knowing so well that he could have reduced the casualty by ordering a faster response. Has he ever learnt from the past? Apparently not, since he has never bothered to visit Mandera after the brutal killings of 28 teachers on a Nairobi-bound bus in November 2014, and soon after, 36 quarry workers, by the Shabaab. When more than 60 people were killed by al-Shabaab in Mpeketoni, Lamu County for two days in June 2014, Uhuru was quick to blame local politicians, especially CORD, the Opposition alliance. Later in early 2015, the Shabaab released a blood-chilling video showing how they entered Mpeketoni and slaughtered innocent Kenyans. Uhuru has never commented on the video and has no guts to call the killers by their name, al-Shabaab, and always refers to them as “our enemy.”
Uhuru the non-caring president
When Garissa University was attacked, Kenyatta went against a court ruling which had stopped the intake of police recruits in 2014, by ordering that they be taken for training immediately, at the police college in Kiganjo. According to him, the country does not have enough security personnel. However, the process had been stopped because of the bribes those potential recruits had paid to the recruiting officers. Uhuru issued an executive order on the matter, yet he could not exercise the same to reduce the brutal murders of those innocent students in Garissa. It is beyond imagination that four terrorists had a standoff with military troops for more than ten hours.
Beyond the Shabaab attacks, Kenyans are generally not secure and feel that the president does not care about them and only reacts with threats when killings have already taken place. Uhuru mentioned in 2014 that Kenyans should be responsible for their own security. Maybe the government’s slow response in Garissa was an example of what he meant. He should be aware that the immediate former President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria ran out of luck because Nigerians felt he had failed to stop the perpetual killings by Boko Haram, and could not control corruption. As millions of Kenyans remain disillusioned with Uhuru’s failure to keep security in Kenya, and with the latest attacks at the University, there is every indication that the situation will only get worse. Kenyans should anticipate more attacks because the corrupt Uhuru government in incapable of governing, let alone keep security. Kenya needs a regime change.
Ur article is sooo biased and full of hate.its clear that u are a Raila die hard follower.You should be in jail for hate speech.
WHO and HOW Garissa University Al-Shabaab Terror attack was PLANNED and EXECUTED
Grace Kai, a student at the Garissa Teachers Training College near the university, said there had been warnings that an attack in the town could be imminent.
“Some strangers had been spotted in Garissa town and were suspected to be terrorists,” she told Reuters.
“Then on Monday our college principal told us … that strangers had been spotted in our college… On Tuesday we were released to go home, and our college closed, but the campus remained in session, and now they have been attacked.”
When Kenya’s army finally arrived, they surrounded the school but remained outside the school gates. They didn’t engage Shabaab or end the killings. Government planes, when they finally arrived, carried the interior minister and police chief for a now embarrassing photo op. Journalists who drove the 225 miles to Garissa from Nairobi arrived before the special forces who came by air.
Eleven hours after the attack was launched, a crack police squad reached the school and ended the siege 30 minutes later.
“This is negligence on a scale that borders on the criminal,” The Nation, a local newspaper blustered in its editorial on Sunday. Survivors, they said, reported how gunmen, killing with obvious relish, took their time.
At Kenya college, Christian students foretold massacre
By Robyn Dixon
April 5, 2015, 1:48 PM Reporting from Kitengela, Kenya
When the Somali militant group Shabab attacked Garissa University College, Stanley Muli, 22, hid in a wardrobe, wondering why the army stationed nearby was taking so long to arrive..
For two hours after the attack at 5:30 a.m. Thursday, no one came to the rescue as Muli listened as Shabab fighters searched rooms and killed terrified students. He thought bitterly about the students’ protest last November over the lack of university security, when the army had arrived swiftly and had beaten many students.
“I was just praying [to] God that the [Kenya Defense Forces] would come,” he said Sunday. “I was just thinking how come they have taken so long, because the barracks are near.”
In a town long known for violent extremist attacks, the campus of mainly Christian students was an obvious target in a predominantly Muslim area within striking distance of Somalia, 90 miles away. Students said they felt unsafe and exposed, knowing the university was vulnerable to attack.
“We were fearing that if these people [Shabab] came, they could kill many, many Christians,” said Muli, who had been shot in the thigh but survived in his hiding place. He said the government “failed to protect us. We are angry, because we lost some of our best friends. We think, ‘How come security wasn’t there when we were are the university?’ They took no care.”
Garissa University College was inaugurated in 2011, the first university in northeastern Kenya, but its first full-year intake was in 2013. Students said almost no one wanted to be there because of Garissa’s security problem, but they were declined spots on the mother campus, Moi University in Eldoret. Most wanted to transfer, but found it impossible.
“It’s like we were being experimented on. When this university was being put in that place, I don’t think it was the right place,” said Gideon Nyabwengi, 19, who escaped death by crouching behind the low, half-built wall of a washroom.
“When we went to that university, we thought what kind of university is this? The lack of security was a major thing. When you got your letter of admission to Garissa some people were saying it wasn’t safe to go. This thing was being predicted,” he said. Some of his friends told him he should get a gun if he was going to study at Garissa. Others said they would pray for him.
When the attack arrived, it was pitiless.
Hiding, Nyabwengi heard his best friend beg for his life, pretending to be a Muslim. When the friend was unable to recite a Muslim prayer, he was fatally shot, Nyabwengi said.
“I heard them shouting, ‘We’ve come to kill and be killed.’ They would go and bring some students out of the dormitories and shoot them. [The students] were told to lie down, then I’d hear gunshots, gunshots and crying.” In the three hours before he escaped, Shabab continued killing unimpeded.
Students said Kenya’s army eventually surrounded the campus but didn’t overcome Shabab or bring an end to the killings. A crack police squad, the General Service Unit, didn’t arrive until about 4:30 p.m., 11 hours after the attack, according to Kenyan media reports. The police ended the siege 30 minutes later.
Furious students and their parents question why the Garissa campus was left so poorly guarded, especially after recent, widely circulated intelligence warnings of an impending attack on a university. Students from a neighboring teachers college in Garissa were sent home Tuesday, two days before the attack, because of the uncertain security situation.
In January 2013 and again last September, Garissa residents protested over insecurity for non-indigenous residents in the town, after many killings, including shootings of hotel patrons.
In November, students angry at the lack of security at Garissa University College held a strike and demonstration. They demanded extra police guards and a fence. There were requests the campus be relocated.
Although the fence was built, survivors of Thursday’s attack said authorities failed to take the university’s security problem seriously enough.
Ironically, the high metal fence made it harder for some to escape. When Nyabwengi tried to vault the fence, he fell back down at the first attempt and was shot in the arm. On the second effort, he managed to get away. But he said that women students had a harder time scaling the fence.
Nyabwengi said he and many of his friends tried unsuccessfully to get a transfer.
“You had to struggle, use a lot of money for a bribe, or you were just wasting your time.”
“We were fearing that if these people came, they could kill many, many Christians.”
– Kenyan student Stanley Muli
Instead, students were told at orientation that security came down to the individual, with warnings that girls should avoid wearing miniskirts.
Nyabwengi said locals on occasion threw stones at female students in the town, apparently because they didn’t like the way they were dressed. Muli said that at his orientation last year, students were warned that local people had tried to strip a female student for wearing a miniskirt.
When Shabab claimed responsibility Thursday for the attack, it said the university was on Muslim land and was there to promote “missionary activities and to spread deviant ideology.”
Students said very few of the students on the campus were Muslims and even fewer were members of the local population. There had been local protests that few Garissa people had gotten jobs on the campus.
There was also tension over the presence of a mosque on the campus, used by the local community to pray. Students protested that those using the mosque weren’t subject to security checks. Seeing it as an added source of insecurity, they called for it to be moved off campus.
When the gunmen arrived, their first target was an early morning Christian prayer meeting. Of 29 students there, just seven survived.
“We were praying,” said Duncan Obwamu, 25. “We were in a circle in the room holding hands.” First, the barrel of a gun appeared at the door. Then it fired, striking a young woman leading prayers. A Shabab gunman stepped into the room and continued firing.
“He didn’t say anything, but you could see from the look on his face he was very happy,” he said. Obwamu, hit in the arm and shoulder, covered in the blood of other students, lay still as the gunman kicked the bodies to be sure they were dead. “I heard him laugh as he communicated with the others outside. He was very happy about what he’d done.”
Muli’s father, Joseph Mwavu, 50, a mason, said he was unhappy when his son got an admission letter to Garissa University College, “because the whole world knows that anywhere near the Somali border is dangerous.”
He said if help had arrived earlier on the day of the attack, many students could have been saved.
“I’m very bitter because [the government] had all the information. They knew what was happening but they took so many hours to respond,” said Mwavu.
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