Ethnic Perspective of Terrorism in Kenya

It doesn’t matter what the security operation does at the moment, but historical aloofness and petty tribal jingoism is the key concern that must be addressed as the security operations proceeds. Members of the Somali community are by all means majorly Muslims. Each and every terrorist act in the last 16 years has been aided by at a Somali and of special concern from Somalia. Right from 1998 to 2013 Westgate siege Somali nationals have played a significant role in this attacks, and that is the fact Somali leaders of Kenyan origin must address first. Remove foreign chaff from their local brood.

Secondly, it is an open secret that Eastleigh has been harbouring both bona fide refugees, terrorists masquerading as refugees and clandestine figures right from the time it became a centre of commerce controlled by the Somali community. Considering the high number of incidences that have happened, even to the extent that the local MP of the area was almost killed in a grenade attack, something must be done to beef security. No one ventures sensitive information easily, and the need to protect your brother despite the wrongs he does to the larger community is stronger to the Somali family than to the nation. As citizens we have to learn that a time comes when the nation is greater than the individual, the late Prof. Saitoti was no fool to coin that.

When Duale’s gaffes reveal that Somalis are the commercial kingpins in Nairobi or Garrissa or Moyale is not a matter of consequence. What begs my concern is why delineate regions that have no Somali as a major community the play grounds for future terrorists’ attacks? That is the basis of tribal grouping, and where such tribal jingoism begins to take root, something is rotting in a society that is composed of different ethnic communities. This rot is made further smelly when stereotyping takes shape is describing social patterns in the country. For example since most terrorist have been targeting Christians and Christian institutions it becomes easy for paranoid Christians to presume Muslims are targeting Christians, and when Duale goes on air in public forum making egocentric tribal remarks of that kind, what is he reinforcing in the minds of those who wrongly and continuously perceive Muslims as terrorists, and here is a Somali leader who seems to purport that terrorist attack are bad in so far as they target Eastleigh because the commerce kingpins in the area are Somalis who are Muslims?

This problem is further worsened by serious utterance by irresponsible religious zealots who are even on record for having stated killing a Kaffir or even a Christian in the propagation of terrorists is a handsome thing. The whole fabric of religious tolerance that is an essential pillar in maintaining unity in the country becomes just a farce inscribed in the national anthem without pragmatic application. That is how Central African Republic became a rotting state in a religious conflict that could not be cooled from within her own boundaries. God forgive serious learned scholars of the law when they make statements that in real sense are in contravention of the Constitution. Somali scholars do not use tribal jingoism and religious veil to assert that Somalis are unfairly being targeted, but we all know that no matter what happens, preventing terrorisms is a big problem. On the wider scale, history reveals that other tribes are culpable to the vice in Kenya, but who have been dominant in the practice locally?

What I simply mean is that religion is being used wrongly on two fronts. One Muslims are not terrorists, but in our historical biography as a nation many terrorists acts have been involving Muslims and more sadly of the Somali origin. So when time comes to clean the act, I am foreseeing a pure success against terrorism in the short-term, and a serious defect in the ethno-tribal relations, that can seriously be undermined by uncorrected perspectives from Somalis themselves, while being stereotyped as the perpetrators of terrorist acts in the country by the general public. The effect of this stereotyping is creating the bad impression that Muslims are terrorists. The best solution is now for everybody to act according to the law and the spirit of the new Kenyan Constitution. This serious problem that arises from pettiness will be a thing of the past.

Lastly, the previous governments have been again the major players in encouraging terrorism by being mediocre, silly and inept in resolving the terrorist problem. Much as the blame game goes against the Somali people in Kenya, the government by its own ignorance of choice allowed Anglo-Leasing scandal to prosper, and Kenya lost a milestone in equipping herself with proper tools in the fight against terrorism. It is good that Kenyan has always taken a lead role avoiding intruding the affairs of other countries, but this time, our inaction is the harvest of hindsight in Somali. The product was the sprouting of extremists in that country who abuse religion, and the spill over is in Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda and even as far as Congo. Kenyans, we should not blame the Somali per se, we should share the blame collectively and find a solution that works for everyone.


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