By Juma Kwayera
Kenya is paying the price of failing to tackle official corruption, with the economy once again headed for the doldrums due to insecurity.
The murder of British tourist and abduction of two others in the past month have sent alarm bells, especially in tourist source countries, with respective embassies in Nairobi sending out travel advisory alerts that are already hitting tourism, the countryâs second-leading foreign exchange earner after horticulture.
Experts fault institutions charged with ensuring territorial integrity and criminal justice for the indifference that has turned Kenya into a playground for criminals of other countries. However, recent incursions by criminals linked to al Shabaab dissidents has exposed Kenyaâs soft underbelly, raising concerns about the countryâs ability to repulse external aggression.
In an interview with The Standard on Sunday, Capt (retired) Simiyu Werunga says the police are structured in a manner that it serves the Executive rather than the public.
"The top serves the Executive and the political elite. There is, therefore, need for reorganisation of the force to be more protective than reactive to ensure national integrity is not violated," says Werunga, the director-general of the African Centre for Security and Strategic Studies.
Concerns over the countryâs anaemic security became more apparent after four Kenyan soldiers were taken captive by Somali raiders believed to be al Shabaab elements in two separate incidents â one on the Kenya-Somalia border in the north and the most recent being when a Kenyan speedboat chasing down al Shabaab captors of a French tourist capsized.
The two missing navy officers are suspected to be in the hands of the Somali insurgents. This was barely before alleged Somali militiamen raided Mandera town on Wednesday and killed three people.
The ease with which foreign marauders wreak havoc on Kenyan territory without an effective response has been a major source of concern. Former PS in the Office of the President Ali Korane lays blame on the Executive. He says President Kibaki has not been active in demonstrating the military might of the country to forestall potential security threats.
"During former President Daniel Moiâs time, the Executive could not compromise on the integrity of the Kenyan territory. In spite of the political and economic challenges at the time, Kenyans felt secure inside their borders. The current regime has been too soft," says Korane.
Ethiopia, with the largest army in the region â 800,000 soldiers â deploys its military to guard its borders whenever Somali militiamen attempt to make incursions in its territory. The effectiveness of Prime Minister Meles Zenawiâs repulsion of the Islamic insurgents has turned Kenya into a soft target for the militiamen and pirates.
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