Sunday, July 6, 2014

INSECURITY IN KENYA: PERHAPS ITS TIME FOR THE JUBILEE GOVERNMENT TO QUIT

Let me state that I am a card-carrying member of the United Republican Party (URP), partner of The National Alliance party (TNA) in the Jubilee Government of President Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto.

I stood as its candidate for the Kilifi North parliamentary seat in the corruption-ridden 2013 general elections. Though I bowed out of active politics a year ago to pursue my passion in writing, I am still a political animal who is attracted to political events, and therefore follow them closely.

For months, I have been resisting the temptation to crucify the Uhuru/Ruto Administration on matters of insecurity because I felt the government needed more time to consolidate its hold on governance and to muster the skills and gather the resources to fight crimes of all kinds.

But after more than a year of incessant and blatant failures on the part of the government to rein in terrorist activities that have led to hundreds of innocent people losing their lives, I have no reason to believe - after the latest attack in Hindi, Lamu, where more than 20 people perished this week  - that this regime has the wherewithal or the political clout to end terror attacks against its people.

It doesn't matter whether the attacks are perpetrated by the dreaded Al Shabaab, the audicious Mungiki or by the baneful Mombasa Republican Party elements who are agitating for secession of the Coast region.

The bottom line is that the Jubilee Government has failed its people on security. The country is no longer safe, whether in the capital city of Nairobi or in far flung regions. Policy makers who are supposed to protect people have either run out of ideas or have given up because they can't cope. Departmental transfers of officers within security agencies have not worked to improve the situation; official assurances of safety have become a clich√©, and all anti-terror efforts have come a cropper. Westgate, Mpeketoni, Hindi and dozens of other sites of horrors tell me enough is enough.

Consequently, it is now my view that time has come for the Jubilee Government to call it quits. Three and half years until the next elections is too long for Kenyans to live under constant threats of annihilation.

In any case, we have seen governments elsewhere give way for more or less similar reasons.

In February, for example, the Egyptian government of Hazem Beblawi resigned following a protracted strike by public sector workers. In South Korea in April, Prime Minister, Chung Hong, left following a ferry disaster in which 300 people died. In Ukraine, Prime Minister Mykota Azarov, saw no reason to continue ruling after two months of demonstrations that threatened the country's economic and social development. I can cite many other such cases.

There are enough reasons in Kenya - and this has nothing to do with the Opposition push for a national dialogue (which I strongly oppose) - for Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto to voluntarily disband government, allow an interim administration, and prepare people for fresh elections. Let us give a chance to leaders out there with more gusto and fresh ideas to secure the lives of Kenyans.

Finally, allow me to borrow a quote from George Saitoti as he involuntarily abandoned his quest for the presidency during the Kanu delegates conference at Kasarani Sports Complex in 2002. "There comes a time when the nation is more important than an individual," he said.

That time is now.

And that is my say.