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President Uhuru Kenyatta concedes security lapse, blames Raila rallies

By JAMES MBAKA
Updated Wed, June 18th 2014 at 00:00 GMT +3
President Uhuru Kenyatta concedes security lapse, blames Raila rallies
President Uhuru Kenyatta gives a statement on the Mpeketoni attack in Lamu County during a televised address to the nation from State House in Nairobi.  [Photo: PSCU]

Nairobi, Kenya: President Uhuru minced no words the twin attacks in Lamu which Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility and on which his security aides had linked to the terror cells, was connected to recent political rallies.  

Though he neither named Coalitions for Reforms and Democracy leader Raila Odinga, or even his Opposition movement that has presided over a series of rallies aimed at pressurising Jubilee to yield to demands for national dialogue, Uhuru left no doubt where the blame lay.

He accused politicians whom he variously described as reckless and hatemongers engaged in “ethnic-profiling of one community... The sum total of these campaigns (recent rallies) is to portray certain people as less human, and, therefore, less deserving of compassion and consideration, and perhaps, fair game for brutality and abuse”.

Political rhetoric

Uhuru said the frenzied political rhetoric that has been witnessed in the country in the recent weeks would not be tolerated any more.

“The inciters have also given examples of other countries where thousands of citizens have died and been maimed under similar circumstances,” Uhuru said.

The second finger of blame pointed at his own security officers, especially in Lamu who he conceded received but failed to act on advance intelligence brief on the impending attack. “It is now clear that intelligence on this attack was availed to the security officers in Mpeketoni. Unfortunately, the officers did not act accordingly.”

He added: “This negligence and abdication of duty and responsibility is unacceptable”. 

Though he ruled out direct involvement of Al-Shabaab militia in the attacks that have so far claimed 65 lives, he blamed it on what he called fanning of local issues that have propagated radicalisation.

“We live at a time when our people are vulnerable to reckless leaders and hate-mongers, who manipulate them, to create hate, intolerance and fanaticism. This makes them easy prey to radicalisation and crime. Reckless leaders propagate the unlawful message that some are more or less Kenyan than others.” 

The President warned that politicians inciting the people would be prosecuted.

Raila was unavailable to comment on the inference to his renewed political activity but his Orange party secretary general Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o told a international television channel: “We are happy we finally have someone who knows (identity of) people who have been killing Kenyans and we are now waiting for them to be arrested”.

Raila’s team, sources revealed, had opted to let the President’s statements to play out in the public before responding, most likely today.

In his televised address yesterday from State House, Nairobi, Uhuru cited evidence that local political networks were involved in the planning and execution of attacks and that the incitement played into the opportunistic networks of other criminal gangs.

“The attack in Lamu was well planned, orchestrated, and politically motivated ethnic violence against a Kenyan community, with the intention of profiling and evicting them for political reasons... This, therefore, was not an Al-Shabaab terrorist attack,” Uhuru told the nation.

On the security lapse the President castigated officers who slept on the job and declared they had been suspended pending prosecution. Deputy President William Ruto stood behind him throughout the national address.

“Every public officer of whatever rank and stature is a high trust. Every officer who abdicates his or her professional standards or engages in corruption or neglects the duties casts his lot with terrorists, rapists, robbers, murderers and other criminals because they condone crime in their complicit conduct,” Uhuru went on.

The Head of State said the Government would enhance security in Lamu and other areas considered flash points.

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