National security is a collective responsibility

Interior CS Kithure Kindiki. [Denis Kibuchi, Standard]

At the beginning of a New Year, people take stock of the previous one and pledge to make amends to their lifestyles. The year 2022 was momentous.

This is the year during which we experienced a devastating drought. It is the same year that ushered an unprecedented political transition in the country. All the happenings of the year have no doubt posed various security challenges.

Of course, there are experiences many of us would like to forget. There are others we would like to improve on in the New Year and there are those that have to give a wide berth so that we make progress. Of these, we should now mute our political decibel, fold up our sleeves and work on adorning our threadbare economy.

Not much of such a progressive wish, however, will prosper if we do not embrace harmonious co-existence whilst being deliberately vigilant in matters security. We need to embrace the value of good security and acknowledge the pivotal role it plays in moving societies forward.

A dim view of what security entails oftentimes denies citizens the full appreciation of how central to human progress it is in ways more than one. Perhaps a deeper understanding of the less apparent underpinnings of security would help in creating useful perspectives that should, in turn, make citizens more responsive to the government's quest to crush insecurity.

Though hardly acknowledged, the cost of insecurity is monstrous. It manifests in many ways, some quite subtle if looked at cursorily. However, when insecurity leads to the loss of life of frontline security providers that alone robs families of breadwinners and benefactors. In case of serious injury to the men and women charged with keeping us safe become less productive, again a distressing downside to any family.

When criminal activities are directed at installations such as power supply stations, communication infrastructure, transport corridors or learning institutions, the attendant losses spare no one. And when insecurity discourages the establishment of investments, we lose, for this hinders job and wealth creation, it stymies production and therefore our capacity to export, thereby denying us much-needed foreign exchange. In a nutshell, the ripple effects of insecurity and the costs thereof should be of great concern to any responsible citizen.

So what does a 3600 security panorama encompass? According to a 1994 UNDP report, the political-socio economic view of human security entails shielding citizens from such existential and sometimes stubborn threats as hunger, disease and suppression first and foremost. Secondly, the report cites hurtful disruptions in peoples' daily routines.

The same report identifies seven focal areas that determine all round security. These are the economy, food, health, environment, personal safety, harmonious co-existence at community level and political stability. That scope virtually covers the entire range of interests that matter when it comes to creating the correct security atmosphere germane to overall human progress. While the government has its role cut out in providing security to the citizens, the citizens themselves have an equally important role in creating the government-citizen synergy that enhances safety. In recent times, Kenyans have been helpful in pointing out crimes in various domiciles.

This laudable attitude has contributed significantly in ridding our society of criminal elements among us. It is important that even as Kenyans call out crooked elements in our midst we avoid taking the law in our hands. We are working closely with our security and social justice apparatus to ensure that anyone who breaks the law faces the music as he or she ought to.

As we play our part in making 2023 a more secure year, we should remember that the pace of our progress will be as good as our security situation will be. It is right to demand from government the delivery of its pledges that culminated in 2022 but it will be defeatist altogether to demand the same without electing to be active accessories in the bid to make Kenya a more safe and secure country.

-The writer is CS for Interior and National Administration