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What NSIS should brief President Kibaki tomorrow

By - | Nov 24th 2012 | 4 min read
By - | November 24th 2012

By Donald B Kipkorir

Most likely, tomorrow morning, General Michael Gichangi, the head of the National Security Intelligence Service, will be at State House to proffer his President’s Daily Brief (PDBs). By law and tradition, Mr Gichangi has to meet the President every morning even if they don’t like each other.

The briefings are confidential and thus frank and candid. In his PDBs, Gichangi advises the President on current and future threats and possible threats to our national security. Such threats are both local and foreign.

Of late, Kenya has had its national security tested across the country. We have experienced tribal conflicts in Tana Delta; terrorist attacks in Mombasa, Nairobi and Garissa, and banditry in Samburu and Turkana. These criminal patterns may in the long metastasis and make Kenya go off the cliff.  The failed States of Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia begun with small-scale armed criminal activities till crime became a national pass-time. To avoid us following on this foolhardy course, Gichangi ought to advise the President tomorrow morning as follows:

 The President has to be advised that we must be humble enough and admit the inadequacy of our Police Service in its training and equipment. It is time we outsourced the training and kitting to USA, Britain and Israel. 

When our Police are compared to those of this trio, ours will be kindergarten scouts. Our current Police cannot even stand a face-to-face war with cattle rustlers.

Recruitment of the Police Force should be re-looked at afresh. As our police are not conscripted but voluntary, it should not be subjected to gender or tribal quotas. The truth is that in Kenya, not all tribes are warrior tribes.

It is only the Kalenjin, Maasai and Somali men whose DNA is for war. Police recruitment should be mainly drawn from these three tribes. National security has to be beyond sentimental issues of gender and tribal balance. Then, the Police have to be remunerated way above other civil servants to attract the best and the brightest youth.

After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack in America, the 9/11 Commission was established. The commission made 41 recommendations amongst which was the establishment of the Homeland Security Department. Homeland Security was tasked with dealing with all forms of terrorist attacks, organised crime, and man-made and natural disasters. Since then, America has not experienced terrorist attacks and has been able to deal with disasters. Kenya needs to localise the 41 recommendations. We don’t have to re-invent the wheel.

Police and security needs often change, we need to have specialised police unit.  America has SWAT team that is an elite police tactical unit with specialised training and equipment.

All developed Western Countries and others like Pakistan and India have similar outfits. Kenya can develop a unit to be called Combat & Eradicate Terrorism & Related Activities (CETRA).  This unit will be small and nimble and receiving the best financial and material resources. Once the unit is in place, we will never again send fresh graduates to their death as we did in Baragoi.

We have had problems with the Judiciary once we take terror suspects before it. The courts have been applying the Constitution literally and granting suspects bail. As long as terror suspects are out on bail, we cannot win the war against terror. To stop this, the Chief Justice, Dr Willy Mutunga has to be engaged.

Article 169 of the Constitution says that Parliament shall enact legislation establishing jurisdiction, powers and functions of subordinate courts. This article has to be used to establish special courts that will be dealing with terror-related cases. Such specialised courts will develop their own jurisprudence balancing national security against Bill of Rights. The main causes of terror in our country are three: Somalia, cattle-rustling and youth unemployment. These three have to be tackled. On Somalia, the first choice to pacify the country is theirs.  Somalia has to have a stable country. In default, in concert with Ethiopia, we have two choices; sub-divide Somalia equally and make the State of Somalia disappear, or make it a client State.

On youth unemployment, comprehensive national and county policy has to be formulated to put all youth on some activity. Building of new County Headquarters and new roads will be a good starting point. To implement all he above, needs the confirmations of the recent nominations of David Kimaiyo, Ndegwa Muhoro and Samuel Arachi as Kenya’s first Inspector General, Deputy Inspector General (Police Service) and Deputy Inspector General (Administration Police) respectively. The three scored the highest marks in their categories.

The noise by human rights activists is just that; noise. The activists had a chance to appear before National Police Service Commission and they did not.

And on gender, the law does not say that there must be the third-policy in the top three positions. It is a fallacy that the media and activists are propagating. That is not what the Constitution says. The third-gender policy refers to the entire force. So, liaise with the Prime Minister and forward the three names to Parliament tomorrow and have them approved within the week.

If General Gichangi advises the President tomorrow morning as per my recommendations, then Kenya will be on the way to finding her place in the sun again. We cannot be living in a country that is rattled by grenade-throwing and cattle-rustling terrorists. And without national security, we cannot make much economic progress. Investors want strong property rights, but above all, security. Gichangi, give us security by wise counseling our President. And buy me a cup of tea for my free advice!

The author is an Advocate of the High Court

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