The rising insecurity in the country has to be handled with the seriousness it deserves. Security is one of the primary guarantees a government must offer its citizens. The current administration has handled the security docket in an incompetent, ineffective, inefficient or unconcerned manner.
Wanton loss of life has been reported in many parts of Kenya. In 2013, residents of Bungoma were killed mercilessly for a whole month unabated. The violence moved to Mandera, Garissa and Mombasa among other towns. Last week’s massacre of 21 police officers in Kapedo, Turkana County in a similar manner to the Baragoi one in 2012 where 42 officers died demonstrates the laxity with which the government treats security.
The government’s response has been generally slow and same lame fixes have been touted every time. Legislators from the joint Parliamentary committee on National Cohesion and Equal Opportunities led by chairman Johnston Sakaja recently vowed to push for amendment to the penal code for cattle rustlers be treated as suspects of murder and robbery with violence. They opined that these stiffer charges will help reduce the vice but it’s doubtful this would check the menace.
The flip side to that is how insecurity related incidences affecting the President and senior political figures have been addressed in record time. When the President was heckled at a function in Migori and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga attacked at a Coastal rally, the suspects were quickly arrested and arraigned in court. These two incidents affirm the ability of government to provide prompt security service and the same should be extended to all Kenyans without prejudice.
Article 238 (1) of the Constitution on the principles of national security is clear that ‘national security is the protection against internal and external threats to Kenya’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, its people, their rights, freedoms, property, peace, stability and prosperity and other national interests.’ Major re-organization of the security sector in line with the 2010 Constitution has not borne fruit yet.
While poor pay and housing have been challenges to the sector since Kenya’s independence; poor coordination seems to be the greatest obstacle to effective service delivery. An IPOA’s report released in October cited poor coordination as the main course for slow response to attacks in the Coast of Kenya. The report also revealed corruption as a police officer attached to the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit allegedly helped terrorists to smuggle arms from Somalia, which were then used to launch the Mpeketoni attacks in Lamu County. Such reports reveal the state of disarray in the sector.
Hard decisions have to be made. Human life must be valued by the political leadership. The security docket must be handled with the seriousness it deserves. Office holders must be responsive to their call of duty and restore Kenyan life and dignity. Every Kenyan deserves Presidential level security as the past has shown, it is doable.