Sunday, 6 July 2014

Uhuru should fire security chiefs for negligence and incompetence now

By Makau Mutua, July 5th 2014.

It’s not my position to advise President Uhuru Kenyatta, but today I am compelled to offer him several nuggets. That’s because the son of the Burning Spear is caught in the eye of a deadly storm — literally. I deeply care about my native country. I can’t let it go to the dogs without a fight. President Kenyatta sits at the pinnacle of the state, and what he thinks and does could possibly make, or break, the country. Yes — don’t doubt it. Sovereigns have that much oomph. That’s why anyone with two cents worth of advice should offer it to Kamwana. President Kenyatta is steering the ship of state, but many of his critical navigators are rudderless. This is why. Kenya faces existential threats in two key areas — security and corruption. Officials in these dockets must be sitting on hot coals. But President Kenyatta can’t curb these threats one-handed. The head of any state is a figurehead, but not in the sense of a mannequin. He must be a visionary and broad thinker who conceives great ideas. But — and this is critical — he can’t be the implementer. That task falls to his lieutenants and foot soldiers in the state. The key ones here are the Attorney General, the Director of National Intelligence Service, the Director of Criminal Investigations, the Inspector General of Police, the Chief of Kenya Defence Forces, and the Interior Cabinet Secretary. Let’s dig deeper. First, I don’t think there’s anyone who’s more important in the security apparatus than NIS Director General Michael Gichangi. It’s General Gichangi’s job to know everything. I mean literally everything that has a security connotation. This includes domestic and foreign security questions and threats. He must traffic in the world of information and gossip. His job is to listen, and listen carefully and analyse what he’s heard and seen — and then separate the noise from credible information. It’s his job to give actionable intelligence to President Kenyatta and other security organs pronto. He can’t say he didn’t know. Every successful terror attack is either a failure of intelligence or lack effective prevention. Second, Inspector General David Kimaiyo can’t appear — and be — clueless. The men and women under his command can’t flee a fight at the first sight of an al-Shabaab terrorist. That’s what happened in Mpeketoni. The police abandoned their stations and fled in the face of enemy attack. Nor can Mr Kimaiyo be given actionable intelligence and fail to prepare to thwart, capture, or kill the attackers. It’s no use issuing tough-sounding statements after the fact. Who gives a damn after they’ve been killed by terrorists? Mr Kimaiyo must either admit his troops are not up to snuff, or he’s an incompetent leader. If poor training and obsolete equipment are to blame, he must own up and prove it. See also: Team on coalitions talks fails to meet President Third, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku looks like a man lost in the wilderness. He makes wild statements and issues threats to politicians when he should be concerned about criminals and terrorists threatening the country. I think Mr Lenku knew zilch about security before he was planted there by President Kenyatta. I don’t know why President Kenyatta made such a poor choice in such a commanding docket. It’s even more shocking that he hasn’t relieved Mr Lenku of his responsibilities after all the attacks. How many people must die before a key official resigns in disgrace, or is fired by the President? President Kenyatta can appoint Mr Lenku to a post in tourism to soften the blow. Fourth, CID Director Ndegwa Muhoro and AG Githu Muigai must come in for drubbing. Prof Muigai advises the President on legal matters, including on corruption and criminality. Mr Muhoro is the boss of criminal investigations. This one-two punch can only be described as shoddy and lax. Prof Muigai has either given faulty legal opinions to the government, or ducked the issues before him. Mr Muhoro’s office is infamous for conducting incompetent and shoddy investigations that can’t stand up in a court of law. That’s why suspects — who are guilty as sin — easily beat the rap. Then the government accuses judges of letting crooks walk scot-free. Hello — there’s something called the Constitution. Judges can’t convict or hold suspects on zero evidence. Finally, KDF Chief Karangi deserves scrutiny. I have nothing but respect for the general, but this is the question — if his men and women were so effective in Somalia, why have they been so ineffective at home? Exhibit number one was Westgate. His troops performed dismally there — and in the border areas. The President promised an investigation, but none has commenced. General Karangi should do more. At the very least President Kenyatta should fire AG Muigai, General Gichangi, Mr Lenku, Mr Muhoro and Mr Kimaiyo.
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