An Open Letter to CS Internal Security on Security Challenges in Kenya

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This letter intends to highlight on strategies to combat insecurity incidences that has remained our biggest challenges in the recent past. As we speak, Kenyans are in utter shock and perturbed by the manner in which innocent persons died in the hands of blood thirsty goons who operate and strike occasionally with impunity. Most parts of the once peaceful nation locals today live under utter total fear from all sorts of terrorist gangs who are politically and religiously motivated and from all sorts of social misfits and ragtag cattle rustlers whose main objective is to cause mayhem and anarchy to say.
It’s my opinion that the problem is far from what we purport, but lies with our ways of doing security business, our political approaches to sensitive matters facing the country, corruption and lacking political will and support needed to fight the vices. Most people luck genuity in reasoning when addressing national matters in social-political forums.

Firstly, most Kenyans are tribal minded, corrupt, short sighted and unpatriotic when dealing with sensitive matters that affects our peaceful Kenyan society. We address issues superficially than critically face it and put a stop to it before spreading. We luck long term strategies, plans and rigid road map in tackling head on our security challenges. For instances, cattle rustling should have been eradicated in the North Rift long before the year 2000, but as it seems thrives on the existing political will and the support from sections of politicians in the said regions and our lackluster approach to the issue. Again, it will not help running after ragtag individuals with heavy military wares while the heavy weight godfathers, paymasters and planners roam freely in safe houses in major centres. Our security personnel remain to bear the brunt of fighting the evil vice. Let’s handle each case scenario separately as below;

Terrorism- A global threat and complicated, but could be worn using new approaches that worthy under taking. These include but not limited to;
• Deploying new anti-terror squad in all threatened areas to apprehend and quickly deal with situations, just as we quelled shifta menace in the early 90s in parts of the former NEP. The outfit be well trained and equipped to deal with terrorism entirely and safe guard our institutions from unwarranted attacks.

• The elite teams to be drawn from persons with local knowledge and ready to undertake the delicate missions as deemed unnecessary. The team be well vetted before their deployment and well-motivated to serve the nation.

• Have long range patrols along porous borders and deal with suspected persons likely to be threat to national security.

• Repatriate all suspect aliens, immigrants and refugees with likely criminal records to country of origin

• County commissioners serving in hotspot areas to be held accountable for all that occurs in respective regions and areas of jurisdictions.

• Create funds to fight the vice as matter of urgency in order boost security forces operational capacity and reach at the time of need. The said funds to be dished as incentive to persons with firsthand information on suspected targets. Also institute a Control Room/ Operation Centre which would be manned by professional staff as ways to to swiftly deal with arising situations countrywide.

Cattle Rustling:
• All livestocks be branded a fresh and surveillance teams instituted to seriously monitor stock movements and threat levels in respective regions where the vice is rampant.

• Empower local village headsmen, Chiefs and various council of elders to take the challenges head on in their respective counties.

• Security patrols be enhanced in sensitive parts to apprehend suspected criminals in their hide outs, passage routes and their accomplices before they strike.

• Table in parliament stringent legislations to be meted to all criminals/offenders, gangs, cattle rustlers, terrorists alike as deterrence t future offenders.

• Counties to create remote crime monitoring operation centres as ways to monitor and quickly deal with livestock movement and rustlers too.

Private Security Guards: In the new strategic shift, there’s need to empower our security firms to possess fire arms so to safeguard sensitive targets, logistic sites, banks, churches/Mosques, major hotels and super markets located in our cities. The police and military be left to do their primary core duties.
• Once more again flash out criminal from city estate to make cities habitable and conducive business environment.

• Secure all vital areas, airports, seaports and military camps/police stations with strong fences, walls and barriers to avoid raid by criminals who want weapons for our benefits.

• Vet all ex-police and military personnel residing in respective counties as ways to curb their involvement with criminal activities and gangs.

• The positively identified ex chaps be deployed to assist in security sites using their past knowledge gained from the disciplined forces.

• Give amnesty to all criminals to surrender their ill-gotten weapons or else face full force of the law.

• Weed out corrupt officials from all security agencies as stop gap to the menace facing the country.

• Liaise with security counter parts in the neighboring countries in the region as ways to dealing with cross border insecurity.

• Modernize security apparatus, purchase new equipment, surveillance gadgets, retrain security officers, review their terms of references, salaries and welfare, post and reshuffle where possible while retaining refined and up to the task leadership in the forces.

• Create/institute anti-Al-shabaab squad just like the old anti-shifta of early 90s, mainly composed of staff with local understanding and the needed knowledge in the area of operations.

• Improve street lightings, police patrols and intelligence round the clock, monitor criminal activities for action to be taken.
• Post capable, efficient and up to task officers to hotspots as lasting measures to tackling the security myriad facing NEP counties and elsewhere. It’s recommended that dedicated officers from the region be deployed to fight the vice as long term solutions.

• Institute board of commissions to revisit past occurrences and come up with their findings, recommendations on witnessed security lapses.

• Arrest culprits found culpable for sleeping on the job or corrupt officers blamed for failing to deliver their mandates and tasks as necessary.

By Maj (Ret) Adow O Jehow former Military Officer & Security Consultant based in Nairobi.