One of the subjects I loved in school was History and Civics. In high school, I loved it even more because of the History teacher. I can’t remember her name it has been 16years since. But what I remember about her is that she was plump, light skinned, sometimes wore revealing dresses and giggled a lot, kinda how I like my women. I digress. She spoke passionately about history and I loved it too because I loved and understood stories. This should have been an indicator of the story teller I would later become in life.

One of the concepts she helped me understand was that of government and how it was intended to be of the people (hence the electoral process), for the people ( the beneficiaries) and by the people. It is this last bit that I want to discuss. By the people.

I have watched with growing interest and some disbelief, the criticism that we have been giving our government over security matters. I have watched and heard people criticize our President over the statement he made last week that “Security starts with you!” For some weird reason, even the elite Kenyans, those that I Imagine have good cognizance of issues and are analytical in their thinking, have been putting up posts on social media and memes of the President’s speech. However think about it for a minute, who is the government? Who is responsible for your security?

I think we are fooling ourselves if we are waiting for some superpower called the government to be the watchman. We are the least patriotic country I know and I blame our lack of patriotism for our security problems. If we were true patriots we would be actively securing our neighborhoods and towns. We wouldn’t let anyone mess with our freedom of movement and our right to own property. How many of us are involved in neighborhood watches, or community policing? How many of us have dismissed Nyumba kumi? Do you really know your neighbors are you too busy “minding your own business? How many of us bribe policemen for traffic offenses? Aren’t you the same people complaining about Alco blow, and speed guns? You do not want to obey the rule of law, yet you want the same damn law to protect you? Why are you surprised when the police and our immigration take bribes from the terrorists? We are NOT patriotic enough!

Ok, let me discuss NYS. I have head guys warning us about the “militarization” of the country. What would you rather, 5000 young people jobless and vulnerable to Al Shabaab recruitment plus other crimes, or 5000 young people equipped with skills that can be called upon for nation building  and maybe even deal with some security threats? Have you seen what they are doing in Kibera? Israel as a country faces more threats in a day than we will ever face in a month. These threats have been thwarted mostly because of a very patriotic populace and one that is security aware. I am made to understand that all citizens who live in Israel serve their military for a while after the equivalent of high school, before they can go to University. I am convinced that when each of us takes our personal security seriously and starts to be more aware of their environment, then we shall have a more secure nation.

Yes the government has a responsibility to secure her people, and yes maybe Moi did a better job. But was he operating under the current constitution? Aren’t we the ones who curtailed the powers of the president, and that of our 10,000 strong intelligence service? He swore to uphold the Constitution and that is what I expect him to do. You do your goddamn part!

As a Kenyan, I believe in my country and in the change that this government represents.  I however have some suggestions that my inexperienced mind has conceived

  • I suggest that we create an equivalent of the American Patriot Act. This should give our government some leeway to create organs and some muscle to deal with the homeland security threats that we face.
  • I also suggest that we enhance the training of our security forces to deal with terrorism. I am not sure that this is part of the police reforms that are currently on going, though I stand corrected.
  • We have a paramilitary squad known as the GSU. Is it possible to deploy most of these in the vulnerable areas of Mandera and the coastline?
  • We could also join hands with Ethiopia who have the biggest infantry this side of the Sahara, to help us secure the LAPSSET corridor which benefits us both.

Our refugee camps are a huge source of the homeland security issue. Dadaab in particular holds about 600,000 Somalis. I know this because we work for some of the aid agencies that work in the humanitarian and refugee sector. 600,000 Somalis in refugee camps is a HUMONGOUS problem. My extra curriculum reading tells me that most Somalis are only loyal to their clan. Speak to these aid agencies and you will hear about Down Kenyan Somalis and Nothern Kenyan Somalis and how they are always warring amongst themselves. These guys I suspect have more weapons in those camps than we care to know. We will NEVER solve our terrorism problems until those camps are CLOSED! Then of course there is the ripple effect on our economy, Eastleigh, South C, real estate in Nairobi in general, and the aid agencies that hire thousands of our brothers and sisters.

I sincerely hope that the changes made yesterday with our security chiefs will bring in some fresh thinking in our security apparatus. I also hope that you are angry enough to report all crime and suspected crime to the police. I hope that you will take your own neighborhood security seriously and engage with the police in community policing. I pray that you will play your part and be the government BY THE PEOPLE!!

God bless Kenya!

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