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Mo Ibrahim report on Kenya’s security erroneous

By KIRATU KAMUNYA | October 24th 2013 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300


In the latest Mo Ibrahim index on Africa’s security situation, Kenya has incredibly been ranked among the most insecure places in Africa and by extension anywhere in the world.

The report on this ranking attributes the situation in Kenya to its unstable neighbours like Somalia and impliedly the decision by Kenya to flush out the Al Shabaab from their cells in Somalia.

While it is true that such a decision carried with itself the danger of retaliation from the enemy as has been manifested in the wake of the ghoulish Westgate attack, it is clear that the architects of this ranking fell into the terrorists’ trap.


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Before, during and after the Westgate attack, the terrorists have bragged and threatened to turn Kenya into the most insecure place on earth. Of course their success at Westgate has emboldened them in pursuit of their evil agenda namely; to maim and shed the blood of the innocent and defenceless, which is the strategy of choice by cowards.

Coming hot on the heels of September 21, it is easy to see how the scare mongering antics of the terrorists played a substantial role in prejudicing any objective analysis of our security situation by Mo Ibrahim foundation. Granted, our security situation is far from attaining the status of stability.

It is true as well that the different command structures in our police service have previously anchored the avenues for insecurity to thrive. In fact, certain bills to reform legislations on police service in order to create a clear command structure are pending before parliament.

Questions have also been raised on how the security operation was conducted at the Westgate siege. I am sure Kenya’s security forces together with the country’s leadership have learnt valuable lessons on what to do or not to do and God forbid, in a repeat of such situations.

On the whole, however, to rank Kenya among the most insecure places on Earth is clearly misplaced and appears to take cue from a narrative that has been going on for some time now about Kenya being a failed state.

Indeed, on the governance front as in all the other fronts by the Mo Ibrahim report, Kenya is said to perform dismally and is ranked behind countries like Seychelles, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda!

A failed state which three years ago ratified a new constitution encompassing phenomenal reforms in governance? A failed state whose justice system has undergone massive changes in order to enhance its independence and assertiveness?

A failed state which has embarked on a gigantic infrastructure layout to facilitate the movement of its people, goods and services and boost economic growth? A failed state which has just witnessed a democratic and peaceful transition of power in free and fair polls? A failed state whose economy continues to expand on the strength of its Vision 2030 economic blue print and an emerging middle class?


It is evident that something does not add up! The methodology and motivation of the Mo Ibrahim profiling and patronising on democratically elected governments is still unclear. Elected leaders should only be accountable to the electorate and not to external forces with a dubious agenda.

Governance should not be reduced into a race where the fastest pick the prize because it is about meeting the individual needs of a nation in a particular context.

It is about the welfare of the governed and not the assessment of bystanders who fail to appreciate that challenges like terrorism are global and that Kenya deserves support and not condemnation at this point in time.

This is why our national leaders were quick to join hands and disown the travel advisories from some quarters following September 21.

An isolated incidence cannot and should not have been used as the microcosm of our general security situation. The government on its own volition and governance mandate has already put in place sound security measures to forestall situations like Westgate.

It was encouraging to spot no less a person than William Turner, the British envoy to Kenya going about his shopping in a leading mall along Thika Road the other day. This is a vote of confidence in the security measures which our government is employing to safeguard its citizens from both internal and external threats.

Already, the government is in the process of rolling out the Nyumba Kumi security initiative  geared towards community policing by citizens through providing vital information in curbing insecurity posed by strangers in their midst.


The writer is a lawyer with Maina Ngaruiya Advocates.

Mo Ibrahim Kenya failed state
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