In the last few months, I have seen my country succumb yet again to the atrocities of the fanatic murderers ‘abrogating’ the divine role of God, taking away lives which they are utterly 3,000% incompetent to produce. Time has made me check myself. I’m I getting inherently mad at the government of the day for no good reason when the culprit lies elsewhere? Are these terror attacks meted on innocent people when the perpetrator is inadvertently blind? I have been silent for so long, reflecting, and in my mental monologues I have decided to share this with you.
I start by making a simple argument. When the government tried to muzzle the media not to report on security matters, I guess that would have been the ultimate death for the general tranquillity in the country, which for long has been a God given heritage to our nation. Then the terrorists started hitting Kenya hard, pelted the civil population with tirades of invective words and the deadly venom of a gun, bullets, laced with more poisons; grenades, RPGs, landmines and many more
It began with Westgate, and up to date I challenge the President of Kenya to retract his statement that the horrors of Westgate will never happen again. I looked at that statement and cheered as a gallant show of taking command of security in the country. It was on the count of the five fingers on my hand a few days later while bragging about the will of the president to fight terrorism did a reality check knocked me out. Not senseless, but speechless. I remember in that single moment of time when a question thrown at me opened so many things in a flash of a nanosecond. A military friend of mine asked me “Why do you think the Al-Shabaab are attacking civilians and not the military?”
I think I gave a silly answer, the military guy looked at me and said “When two countries declare war, you know whom you are fighting, when a faceless amorphous state that operates on the principles of Jihadism use it to wrongly justify terrorist acts and they are not a tangible state, squarely formless or determinately void less, but with capacity to undertake militant manoeuvres, it is going to a long war. The soldiers by themselves are protected, for they are the hands that hold the sword fighting, civilians are the under-belly of a nation.”
“What do you mean?” I asked
The soldier looked at me and said “If you undertake a short history of radical Muslim groups such as Al-Shabaab, the war is not Holy war per se, but a fight to control resources. Unless you find a way to stabilize Somali permanently, the Lords who make merry will continue to churn out even more radicalized terrorists.”
By then I had no idea about the massive charcoal industry in Somali that was being used to fund terrorist operations. I had made little connection between piracy and terrorism, but that day I realized while corruption fights back, terrorism always erupts back when it appears to be highly in check. It was the day the military man gave the short history of the Taliban, and he made sense to me. If I don’t make sense to you, my apologies to you, expand your horizon. After Westgate, the Nation wept. It was then that instead of closing my mind to the world I opened my intellectual window and let the sea breeze of thinking spur on my reflections. In my silent monologues, I felt the urge to write but mixed emotions of vindicating the soldier or lauding the president always kept me at a loss.
Distant events in Kenya changed my perspective, in my silent monologues; I ruled the soldier correct and the President wrong. The soldier had told me the story of Winston Churchill and the speech he gave British parliament of toil, blood and tears. The hard reality to spur the resilience of a nation to endure the ill-fortunes of war with the prize of peace hard fought for and won at the end of the war. In Africa the Boko Haram were wrecking Northern Nigeria to pieces. Yet President Goodluck Jonathan always assured the Nigerian people. Same like Uhuru, and more menace of terror was spewed forth to innocent civilian populations. Mass murders, rape, maiming and killing of innocent people continued unabated. But there is difference here, Uhuru Kenyatta and Goodluck Jonathan are fighting a Stateless enemy, Winston Churchill engaged a well structured State, German.
In East Africa, the Al-Shabaab has taken the cue. They have shown they have systemic hatred for the Christian population. The aim is to fragment the country on religious lines and sow the seeds of discord, so that once defeated, they can have another footing to erupt back. The Al-Shabaab is hot magma, whose volcanicity will not end in a span of months. They will transfer the volatiles of terrorism from their sleeper cells and continuously attack innocent Kenyans. That is why, read my earlier blogs, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto were fervent fools to go on KBC and promise that Westgate will never happen in Kenya. I hope the apostles of political wisdom have given them a thorough ‘reading’ about making reckless comments and promises in terrorist situations. I feel the shame of when Al-Shabaab release a video showing how they organized and undertook their infamous massacre. Terrorism was entwined with local land issues unfettered. Mpeketoni.
Again it happened. Mpeketoni. That again sends chills down the spines of many, especially the women who were forced to witness the execution of their husbands, brothers, sons, and nephews, some were shot for the crime of being boys, age notwithstanding, and toddlers were shot. The blood spills came in torrents, people had forgotten about Westgate and Al-Shabaab were keen to use that memory lapse to their full advantage. This time, the President was an embarrassment to me from the onset. In this crisis he saw political mileage and rubbished terrorism. It was a way of covering up for his failure to deliver the promise, never again will this happen, so why did happen again? The blame was directed to the opposition alliance. I have mentioned the video evidence linking Al-Shabaab to the massacre, do not shame me again like that Mr. President
Next was the Mandera bus attack. The merchants of terror need not haggle with anybody about the essence of human life. 28 teachers and other people were discriminated on the basis of religion and shot. Only one survived by the fate of the brain tissue of his wife, if God purposes you live, say your prayers and give Him thanks always. I shudder to think of my trauma after such an escape. Will I ever learn to trust the very own life I live? Thirty-six quarry workers were massacred a few days later. In between this major attacks small ‘inuendo’attacks were sustained at churches, hotels, businesses, private homes ceaselessly.
The final straw in the hat was Garissa attack. I call final because it is the most recent and not because no other will ever occur. That is when I realized the Al-Shabaab is not our enemy; the real enemy is within our own failure. I do not want to revisit Garissa attack, like many Kenyans let me hope to forget this and move on in life. Everybody does so in Kenya, even the security machinery. While we fight graft with kuku thieves, we forget grand-corruption is the cause of our systemic failure in the operations of our security organs. KTN has been able to show a documentary that clearly connects graft at all levels of government and the general society to the unfathomable loss of innocent lives in the Garissa attack. Mr. President, while you have not given me any reason to celebrate, I hope you have the audacity to come forward and apologize to Kenyans and tell them to walk knowing it will happen again, with gruesome consequences. Terrorist are not resting, planning and planning more terror attacks. When and where we don’t know, even if we know, who cares about using intelligence reports that have no daughter who will be shot after a terrorist verbally abuses her parents on a phone call conversation? The poor remain unprotected because those with the mandate are too corrupt to make use of intelligence and curb a crime.
As you do fight corruption Mr. President, do the realistic. Get competent people to do jobs competently without recourse on how will it benefit your aspirations for 2017 as a rider for appointment, if that is the case, do change. I know for a fact, Kenyans are happy that you are finally seen to be folding your shirt sleeves spoiling yourself for a fight with grand corruption. Get me right. Do the tough things with the toughness and seriousness they deserve and thereafter don’t talk much. Be like your late dad, he talked tough with the Shifta and acted tough with them. You better act tough in your own way because the constitution was changed.
…before I forget, don’t lie to me Garissa attack will never happen again. I have a premonition that it may happen, more lives will be lost, but start building resilience in the Kenyan minds to endure, every page in the history of mankind that was filled with atrocities always came to an end, because when you flip to the next page, positive changes always follow the hardest moments in an era. Our sense of security and alertness is becoming sharper in the experience of a nation.