Uhuru Kenyatta Has Failed to Tame Insecurity in Kenya Part 3
As Kenyans come to terms with the painful outcome of the terrorist attack at Garissa University College on 02 April 2015, many wonder why the Government of Uhuru Kenyatta did not deploy the elite Recce Squad of the General Service Unit (GSU) immediately, since they are trained for close-quarters fighting. The Squad has now been allocated two helicopters for future operations: too little too late. President Uhuru Kenyatta should have taken political responsibility and resigned for all the lives that have been lost due to terrorism, since the Westgate attack in 2013.
As noted in Part II of this series, Uhuru Kenyatta has never been to Mandera or Mpeketoni to show compassion for the brutal murders by al-Shabaab in 2014. Even if the victims were non-residents, he should have by now met the local community leaders to reassure them of better security and cohesion with other tribes. For two days on June 15-17, the Shabaab members went on a killing spree for hours in Mpeketoni-Lamu, and mainly targeted the helpless members of Uhuru’s ethnic Kikuyu community. It is important to note that the North-Eastern and Coastal regions of Kenya which are dominated by the Somali and Muslim communities have been marginalized historically, and harbor bitterness due to socio-economic disparities. They feel that over the years, each ruling government has treated them like second class citizens. Mandera County for instance, began constructing its first tarmac road in 2014.
It is a fact that al-Shabaab is composed of indigenous Kenyan members and sympathizers who may not necessarily be from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. For example, a Kenyan man of Somali ethnicity identified as Abdirahim Abdullahi who graduated with a law degree from the University of Nairobi in 2013, was one of the killers in the Garissa massacre. His father, a chief in Mandera County, reported that Abdirahim had disappeared for one year to possibly join al-Shabaab in Somalia.
In October 2011, the then 28-year old Elgiva Bwire Oliacha alias Mohamed Seif, was jailed for life by a Nairobi court, for being involved in a grenade attack at the OTC bus stage, which caused serious harm to two Kenyan men. The state prosecutor handling his case mentioned that Bwire had supervised and directed the attack. He converted from Christianity to Islam in 2005, then went to Somalia in 2010, where according to court records, he received training by al-Shabaab on how to attack using firearms and ammunition. He returned to Kenya in August 2011, and recruited at least two men to join terrorist activities. Bwire hails from Budalang’i constituency in Busia County, which is part of the Luhya community. The Jubilee government is therefore aware of Kenyans who are members of al-Shabaab, but due to corruption (bribery for freedom when arrested), poor intelligence and evidence gathering, many terror suspects are never brought to book.
Jubilee government lies and propaganda
Ms. Tabitha Mutuku, a Kenyan woman interviewed recently by the BBC, said her late son who studied at Garissa University College, told her in 2014 that al-Shabaab had sworn to destroy the institution. Additionally, media reports indicate that the principal of Garissa Teachers Training College had asked the students to go home on March 31, 2015 because some strangers suspected to be terrorists, had been spotted in Garissa town. If such information was already floating around, why did the Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery lie that they had been caught unawares?
Since October 2011, Kenyan military troops have been in Somalia to “push back” al-Shabaab that had been attacking and kidnapping tourists along the Coastal region of the country. Elgiva Bwire whose case has been mentioned above, threw grenades at the OTC bus stage in Nairobi just two weeks after the Kenyan troops had invaded Somalia. He told investigators: “If they killed some of our members in Somalia, I had to kill some civilians here. It was tit for tat.” The Kenyan Government must go back to his case and ask why he, who is not a Somali by origin, had committed that act.
According to Reverend Wellington Mutiso, the head of Evangelical Alliance of Kenya, “It is the recent coverts who [are] being used to bomb churches. It is not members of the Somali, Boran, or Swahili communities, which have many Muslims, but the other tribes which have been known to follow Christianity, like the Luo, Kikuyu, or Luhya.” In 2012, Fredrick Nzwili wrote in the Christian Science Monitor that: “Al Shabab, a militant Islamist group with ties to Al Qaeda, is no longer relying on its traditional base of Somali or Swahili Muslims. Instead, the group is recruiting a new multi-ethnic band of recruits, many of whom are former Christians, making it more difficult to identify would be attackers.”
On April 06, 2015 the Kenyan Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed was interviewed about the Garissa massacre by Ms. Christiane Amanpour on CNN. To the utter shock of world viewers, she fumbled with words and became irrelevant, veering off the reality faced by survivors concerning the slow security response in Garissa. Accounts from the survivors and family members who are undergoing trauma do not match her stupid damage control on TV that was full of lies. Kenyans are doomed with such leaders.
Proxy war and charcoal trade
The United Nations (UN) has investigated various sources of financing al-Shabaab and a lucrative one was found to be in the export of charcoal from Somalia to the Gulf region. Although the UN banned charcoal exports in 2012, al-Shabaab still makes around USD 25 million from the overall sale of USD 384 million from ‘taxing’ transporters and ‘shareholders’. A piece titled “A charred harvest” in the Economist Oct 11th 2014 noted that: “The UN investigators claim, in a report presented to the UN Security Council, that profits from Kismayo’s exports are divided between rebels, the region’s government and members of the Kenyan army—which has guarded the port since its capture from the Shabab in 2012.” The bounty is part of what pays for the import of weapons from Yemen into Somalia, and eventually into Kenya to kill innocent citizens.
In July 2014, the Gem Constituency Member of Parliament (MP) Jakoyo Midiwo, who belongs to the CORD Opposition alliance, claimed in Parliament that it was public knowledge Majority Leader in the National Assembly of Kenya, Aden Duale, was part of the charcoal trade in Somalia. Duale is also the MP for Garissa Township Constituency in Garissa County, and comes from the Audaq of the Talamooge sub-clan, which is part of the larger Ogaden clan. Kenya’s most wanted man, (with a bounty of KES 20 million on his head), Dulyadin Gamadhere alias Mohammed Kuno who is an al-Shabaab leader, is a Kenyan national also from Duale’s Ogaden clan. Uhuru’s Government has never commented on Midiwo’s allegation.
In July 1993, two Kenyans working with Reuters television, Hosea Maina a photographer, and Anthony Macharia, a soundman, were beaten, stoned and stabbed to death by an angry mob in Mogadishu, Somalia, alongside two Western photographers when they had been invited to inspect the damage caused by an aerial attack by the UN, on a rebel command post which had killed more than 70 Somalis. Does Uhuru Kenyatta know whom he is fighting in the name of al-Shabaab? Is Kenya fighting a proxy war? Does Uhuru have an exit strategy from Somalia?
As long as Uhuru and his extremely rich and corrupt cronies continue to marginalize the North-Eastern and Coastal regions economically, Kenya will remain a breeding ground for al-Shabaab extremists. The Recce Squad members were paid KES 500 (around USD 5) only per person for lunch, to undertake the risky job of eliminating the militants in Garissa. Further, the squad members have been reduced to guarding the big-bellied politicians and other good-for-nothing Kenyan VIPs, instead of being put into good use to protect Kenyans who pay heavy taxes to maintain Kenyatta’s corrupt government that does not care for their lives. Meanwhile, the Kenyan Members of Parliament earn more than USD 15,000 per month and Cabinet Secretaries have a monthly house allowance of KES 200,000 per month, beside their almost KES 1 million monthly salary. On average, a Kenyan worker earns around USD 1,500 per year. In Kenya, the rich get richer at the expense of the poor taxpayer. Uhuru Kenyatta should ask himself, why then, would a Kenyan youth not become radicalized? TUMECHOKA!