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Westgate inquiry is a waste of time…everything is obvious

By ABABU NAMWAMBA | October 6th 2013

Ababu Namwamba

[email protected]

So President Uhuru Kenyatta wants to establish a commission to “investigate” Westgate? Mr President, DON’T! A Westgate Commission is a waste of time and precious shillings. Kenyans are  commission-weary, because commissions of inquiry have become nothing but a cynical instrument for publiclulling, scapegoating and buckpassing.

The country right now is in no mood for political baloney or puerile shilly-shallying. Kenyans want swift and decisive action by a government that takes responsibility and a commander-in-chief not afraid to say “the buck stops here”. Moreover, what must be done is so obvious. It is obvious that our preparedness to confront terror strikes is zilch. It is obvious that we bungled the whole rescue operation; so badly that it cost more lives and property than should have, and, in all likelihood, handed those vile merchants of death an unlikely escape.

And the reasons are similarly so obvious that investigating them would be a sick joke: an insult to our intelligence and a slur to the memory of the departed souls. Petty peeves and juvenile rivalries, shambolic planning and operational discordance amongst the various security agencies delayed deployment and robbed the operation of the crucial element of surprise. Amateurish communication amidst schoolboy errors by government kept the hijackers aware of our every move, while leaving the public bewildered.

Our warped sense of “sovereignty” denied us crucial timely backup. Now we are using the “foreigners” to conduct forensic analysis on our wasted, and to hunt for the “white widow” & co!

By the way, are those “foreigners” Chinese? It is obvious that we are paying the price for some very bad national manners; our unbridled greed and corruption that motivate immigration officers to aid vile elements to infiltrate our borders, and the police to look the other way; our murder of merit in the public service.

How, for crying out aloud, do you expect your intelligence and security apparatus to perform when you disdain meritocracy and dole out jobs with ethnicity as the chief basis? We are paying for lowering our respect for human life and dignity to Stone Age levels.

Mahatma Gandhi identified the “seven social sins” as: politics without principles, wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, and worship without sacrifice.” We are guilty of all these, and more. And we need no “commission of inquiry” to tell us so!

Mr President, Kenyans have had enough of confusion that reminds them of that tale of the clueless four – Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.

The Jubilee government should hear Chris Christie, when he says: “the rule for effective governance is simple. It is one Ronald Reagan knew by heart. And one that he successfully employed with Social Security and the Cold War. When there is a problem, you fix it. That is the job you have been sent to do and you cannot wait for someone else to do it for you.”

Protection of the life and property of all Kenyans is the primary job of government. There should be no circumlocution, prevarication or indeed obduracy.

After six months in office, even the President himself would struggle to convince his own soul that his government has lived up to expectation. And so, rather than waste time on some infantile inquiry, Uhuru Kenyatta must demonstrate that he is fit for command...by performing four simple acts: swiftly, decisively and unapologetically.

One, reboot and reload the entire security apparatus. Logician Sylvano Borruso warns that, “after hitting your thumb with a hammer more times than it takes to drive a nail into the wood, the probable indication is that you have no talent for woodwork”.

Two, put a premium on merit and end this obsession with tribal roulette. Martin Luther King advises that, “we must live together as brothers or perish together as fools,” and adds, “the time is always right to do what’s right.”

Three, wage real total war on corruption. Four, hit those vile enemies of our nation. HARD!

Ernest Hemingway cautions us never to mistake motion for action. That is exactly what a Westgate Commission would be – all motion, no action. Mr Prezzo, don’t dial that number!

Writer is Budalang’i MP and Chair of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee

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