Thursday, April 17, 2014

A striking balance.

There is a reason why electing former councillors as Members of County Assemblies will come to bite us in our hindparts. These people, at the best of times, were not the sharpest knives in the drawer.; these are not the best of times. They simply lowered the IQ of a nation by getting up in the morning in the bad old days of the Local Government Act. Way back then, when some uppity local authority made by-laws, the Minister for Local Government had to approve them before they could be enforced. (Uhuru Kenyatta might have been the last Local Government waziri with a sense of style when it came to kanjoras; Musalia was clearly at sea.)

In the age of devolution - the devolution of power and funds from an avaricious, tight-fisted National Executive to the grassroots - it was foolhardy, especially because of the billions that county government would control, to allow councillors to worm their way back into positions of elected responsibility. In contrast to the days when council chairmen and mayors determined budgets, and patronage,  and they could dish out briefcases of cash to their favourite councillors, governors are at the mercy of their county assemblies. Without an understanding between the county executive and the county assembly, nothing will get done, including the pilfering that defined the lives of all former councillors now masquerading as members of county assembles, mini-waheshimiwas.

It takes a special kind of political genius to get anything done in Kenya, and far and away the most innovative governor seems to be Dr Alfred Mutua of Machakos. His county seems to be the epitome of political sanity; do the resident of Machakos County even know who their deputy governor is? By far, the most silent seems to be a toss-up between Dr Julius Malombe of Kitui and Prof Kivutha Kibwana of Makueni; when they two decide to open their mouths, it is always about political fires being put out or some other extra-county authority that is making their counties ungovernable. Creativity is not their strong suite.

Then there are those whom we stare at with pity mixed with a little shame that they are actually governors: Ken Lusaka of Kakamega, Martin Wambora of Embu, Peter Munya of Meru, Jackson Mandago of Uasin Gishu...those ranks have remained steadfastly swollen for the past year. Then there is the lot that simply defies explanation: William Kabogo (Kiambu), Ali Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Kinuthia Mbugua (Nakuru)...the disappointments? Only one comes readily to mind: Dr Evans Kidero (Nairobi City).

What unites all 47 governors in shaking in their boots is the fear that their MCAs may stray far from the reservation: Martin Wambora's goose is cooked unless he can reel back the ring leaders in his county assembly with a few well-deployed briefcases. Kivutha Kibwana might suffer a heart attack from all the trouble the Makueni assembly has caused him; as might Julius Malombe. Dr Mutua seems to have found the combination that keeps his name in the limelight, keeps his deputy's out, and keeps the assembly as pacified as a bunch of ex-councillors with delusions of grandeur can be. Dr Kidero seems to have discovered that Luo Nyanza is his natural habitat; Nairobi City simply has too many things going wrong at the same time that it is never going to be fixed. Ever.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A tale of two cities.

We are oscillating between supporting the National Executive and its security agencies in their crackdowns on terrorists and their sympathisers and agitating for the protection of the rights of the people facing the brunt of the security agencies.A government, any government, is the proverbial ton of bricks if its might is directed against you. The force being brought to bear against the people living in that district known as Eastleigh must be overwhelming. The fear that must pervade the area must be pervasive. And yet, the debate surrounding the operation of the government has subsided; many have retreated to their lives. They are no longer concerned about the siege or the roundups and concentration camp tactic deployed in the search of terrorists and terrorist sympathisers.

It is alleged that in the past two weeks, at the height of the roundups and door-to-door searches, individual police officers and security agents have collected up to seventy-five million shillings in bribes. Whether that is true is not the issue; what is surprising is that the accusation was made by a Senior Counsel not known for flinching in the light of controversy. It might be that the Senior Counsel exaggerates; who would not if it meant seeing your name in lights? But the reputation of the security apparatus of Kenya has hit nadirs so many times that few are surprised when an allegation such as the one about the seventy-million shillings bribe will go unchallenged even from the National Executive, and the leadership of the National Police Service or the National Intelligence Service.

While proof was not adduced as to who murdered Aboud Rogo or Abubakar Sharif, many were willing to believe that it were security agents who shot them dead in cold blood. The recent exercises in vetting of police officers has exposed the security establishment to unfamiliar scrutiny. Multi-millionaires in the ranks are unable to explain the sources of their wealth. Rumours about police officers owning matatus and therefore, being leery about enforcing the Traffic Act, or policemen so poor that they moonlight as guns-for-hire or, worse, hire out their firearms to other gunmen, are believed without hesitation.

It is only a certain section of the middle classes who could, in all honesty, agree with the good intentions of the National Executive. These are people who live in relatively secure residential districts. (The recent attacks against elected representatives are anomalies.) Their roads, street lights, drains and sewers are in good condition. Their personal and home security is very good; many retain the services of private security guards. The police are unlikely to come knocking on their doors in the middle of the night "searching for illegals". Their cars are unlikely to be stopped at police road-blocks and searched for firearms or explosives. Even if they fit the profile of the people the police they are searching for, if they happen to live in Lavington, Muthaiga, Kitisuru, Kileleshwa, Red Hill, Runda, Nyari or Spring Valley, the police are unlikely to trouble them. (I don't know about the Traffic Police; those are a law unto themselves.)

Other Kenyans do not enjoy that luxury of the presumption of innocence. It is not seen as a right in Eastleigh, Dandora, Kariobangi North (and South), Ruai, Doonholm, Mwiki, Zimmerman, or Githurai. "Utajibu maswali mbele" is the response even when you have valid documents of identity on your person. (A swift bribe might change your circumstances for the better though.)  The roads, drains, sewers, street lights and pavements in these areas are distinct only when they are patched up. Crime is rife. Corruption is pervasive. The people have been desensitised to an extent that the plight of their fellowman is none of their business. It is why they do not care about the crackdowns and roundups in Eastleigh; it is fact of life for them.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Beware the Ides of March.

In the time of war, the law falls silent. That was Cicero. He supported the appointment of Julius Caesar by the Roman Senate as dictator. It ended in tears when Brutus, Julius's most trusted confidant, conspired with other senators to assassinate Caesar on the senate floor. Each of the conspirators stabbed him.

Kenya has not appointed a dictator. Neither the Senate nor the National assembly has abrogated its powers under the Constitution. Uhuru Kenyatta is not a dictator. He swore, on the bible by the by, to uphold the laws of Kenya, the Constitution and the laws of nations in the execution of his duties as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces. Therefore, one seeks to know by what authority his government has rounded up thousands of suspects, concentrated them at the Safaricom Stadium at Kasarani, subjected them to vetting by the National Police Service, the Immigration Department, the Anti-terrorism Police Unit and God knows who else in the name of seeking to protect Kenyans from a war being waged by an unknown enemy.

Many Kenyans have come out in support of the President and his government in the tactics they have used in the past week in attempt to take the war to al Shabaab. Very few have thought to question whether, in a nation with a written constitution, a broad set of written laws and a Parliament that represents their interests, it is fit and proper for due process to be abrogated for the sake of temporary safety. Some of those rounded up have been identified as having committed offences. Some have been identified as being prohibited immigrants under Kenya's immigration laws. But few have been identified as having waged war against Kenya.

There are those who would not argue with the description of Kenya's borders with Ethiopia, South Sudan and Somalia as porous. President Kenyatta is acutely aware of this; in one of his first decisions as President, he directed the Cabinet Secretary for Defence to spend four billion shillings to bolster Kenya's defence. In a recent interview to commemorate one year in office, he declared that the Government of Kenya would do all it takes to keep Kenyans safe. He was broad on rhetoric and short on specifics.

The defence of the realm must be done in the context of the laws of the realm. Presidents cannot make their own laws as they go along except as they are permitted by the Constitution. This dictum has been challenged by the amorphous nature of the enemy Kenya and many nations face in what George W Bush, the forty-third president of the United States called the global war on terror. Kenya has a dark history in the abrogation of the laws of the land; massacres, unlawful detentions, detentions without trial, disappearances and assassinations were the order of the day in the 1960s, '70s and '80s. It all started with the idea that the President could declare a person an enemy of the state and use whatever tools he had at his disposal to dispose of these enemies.

Kenyans pray that the President has a plan and that it has nothing to do with the reincarnation of the imperial president many Kenyans buried with the ratification of the Constitution in 2010. Parliament has proven to be supine; its leadership has done nothing to temper the enthusiastic application of draconian tactics in the war against radicalism in Kenya. The Judiciary is in crisis. Its leadership is in the middle of an internecine war to control the billions allocated to it by the National Assembly. It falls on the people, on whose behalf and for whose interests the President, his coalition and his government govern to temper the inclinations of the President. If the non-elected leaders among us lead the cheer in the violation of the principles enshrined in the Bill of Rights, they will find themselves standing alone when the untrammelled power of the President is directed at them.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

What else can we do?

If the United States, Great Britain, the Russian Federation, the Philippines, India or Spain have been unable to solve their problems with restive minorities with a penchant for grenades, assault rifles and improvised explosive devises, who are we to declare that the recent approach by the Ministry of the Interior and Co-ordination of National Government to identify "the enemies within" is the wrong one? While the "sealing off" of Eastleigh estate and the rounding up of thousands of "suspects" and concentrating all of them at the Safaricom stadium formerly known as the moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, might evoke images of Stalin's gulags or Hitlers concentration camps for those who subscribe to the History Channel, it is time someone asked the more fundamental question: will we treat Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku with kid gloves the next time a violent atrocity is perpetrated against innocent Kenyans? The answer, this blogger believes, is "No!"

Since the Republic of Somalia disintegrated in 1991, Kenya has played host to hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees. Because it took close to twenty years for the fighting to abate long enough for some semblance of normalcy to return to Mogadishu, many citizens of Somalia have become integrated into Kenyan society, especially among their co-religionists and ethnic kinsmen living in Nairobi, Mombasa, Mandera and Wajir and until the United States'-led Global War on Terror crossed the Atlantic, Kenyans and Somalians had lived in peace sans suspicion. When George Bush the Younger declared a global war on terror, he invited every one with an axe to grind against the United States to go to war against the United States. It is how Kenyans, who have never really been on the receiving end of US war planes or tanks or missiles, would not think twice about following the teachings of a preacher and head for Mogadishu or Kismayu to wage war against the Kenya Defence Forces in the ranks of al Shabaab.

For forty years, the only problems Kenya had were political; with the job of establishing a one-party state cut out for President Kenyatta the Elder and Daniel Toroitich arap Moi, the received wisdom from Yosip Broz Tito to Deng Xioping to Nicalae Ceaucescu to Yoweri Museveni was pretty much clear. In the 1980s, it was the foolhardy who would pretend to the throne that was the presidency. It is with the collapse of the one-party firmament that Kenya started flirting with "youth-wingers" and "militias." The murder, rapine and looting that engulfed the nation in 1992 sowed the seeds for the restiveness in Kenya's Coast, North East and Northern Frontier. Uhuru Kenyatta finds himself fighting, in effect, a secession without the tools to do it. Taking a leaf out of the US experience in Iraq, Kenya seeks to expel all "prohibited immigrants" because they contribute to the ranks of the malcontents fomenting war against Kenya. What choice is there? 

Simply because they come from dire circumstances is not sufficient not to act against them. Simply because it is a corrupt system that encouraged their becoming prohibited immigrants is not a sufficient reason not to act against them. Some are dangerous; some have actively fought the Government of Kenya. Kenya does not have the surgical precision of identifying everyone as do the USA, Great Britain or Spain. Therefore, we will use the blunt weapon of "wapi ID?" and mass deportations. If the bleeding hearts outside the Safaricom stadium have another way of separating the sheep from the wolves, please, share them with Joseph ole Lenku.

The people love a show.

We are a nation of laws, a kienyeji version of the American wild west or something in between. Dr Willy Mutunga, Prof Githu Muigai, Keriako Tobiko and David Kimaiyo will argue that Kenya is a nation of laws. The families of the slain Aboud Rogo and, lately, Abubakar Shariff will argue that Kenya is a kienyeji version of the wild west; not even the rudimentary honour code that prevailed in the wild west is to be found in Kenya. Many Kenyans despair that Kenya lies in between these extremes.

Aboud Rogo and Abubakar Shariff stated their positions plainly: they agreed with the violent expressions of religious zeal by al Shabaab. It remains unclear whether they used the mosques, from which they preached, to recruit Kenyans to fight for al Shabaab; the Governments of Kenya, the United States, the United Kingdom and half-a-dozen others claim that both the slain men were recruiters for al Shabaab and that they were responsible for planning terrorists attacks on Kenyan soil against the Government of Kenya and governments friendly to Kenya.

It is whispered in dark alleys that it is indeed government operatives who despatched the pair to meet their maker. No proof have been adduced to prove this. What is notable is that leading members of society argue that if it was the government's operatives who murdered the two men, then it was fit and proper for the government to have ordered the killings. After all, these leading lights argue, these were men who had declared war on Kenya, who sympathised and supported an enemy of Kenya, and who were unapologetic about the blood of Kenyans that had been spilled in their little war with Kenya. Needless to say, these leading lights do not see the benefit of an arrest, arraignment, prosecution, conviction, sentencing and punishment process for the likes of the late Mr Rogo or the late Mr Abubakar. Due process is not for the "enemies of Kenya" they would argue.

The United States has pioneered this pre-emptive approach to national security over the past twelve years. Since al Qaeda exposed the fatal weakness in a national security apparatus that relies on war ships, strategic bombers and nuclear missiles, the United States has developed a national security strategy that has elided the rule of law and has all but re-written the grounds for the application or suspension of due process. It seems that all the President of the United States has to do is to designate you an enemy combatant waging war against the United States and hellfire will rain down on you courtesy of the Reapers and Predators that prowl the night sky. The United States, it seems, has found an ardent disciple in the Government of Kenya, if the rumours about the deaths of Messrs Rogo and Abubakar are true. Death may not come by hellfire missile, but it will be extra-legal; relying only on the president's decree.

If only we were capable of learning from our mistakes and those of others. "Pre-emption" is not new; it has been applied for millennia. Kenya's history with pre-emption is very dark. Some will argue that this blogger is woefully out of line when he argues that the deaths of Tom Mboya, Pio Gama Pinto, Josiah Mwangi Kariuki and Robert Ouko were an application of the doctrine of pre-emption at its basest. But consider this. They were leading lights of restive communities who would one day command sizeable constituencies that would challenge the established orders of their particular days. Messrs Rogo and Abubakar may have been hate-filled, hate-mongering villains; but none can argue convincingly that they did not have a growing following or that their positions were illegitimate among their followers.

What may supporters of their executions declare is that Messrs Rogo and Abubakar had committed grave, treasonous crimes against Kenya. If this were true, evidence to support such accusations must surely have existed. If such evidence existed, its veracity should have been tested in the courts of law. If the evidence was robust, Messrs Rogo and Abubakar would be pursuing appeals after appeals while cooling their heels in inhospitable surroundings such as Kapenguria or Manyani prison camps. Those applauding their executions contend that Kenya's prosecution and judicial systems cannot be trusted to do the right thing. The police would inevitably screw up the investigation; the prosecution wouldn't have a forensic leg to stand on to successfully obtain a conviction; but were the two somehow to get it right, the magistrate hearing the case would be swayed by a Very Large Briefcase of money. Their argument goes like this: we know they are guilty; we cannot prove their guilt; rather than leave them to commit more crimes, we will murder them and the people will love us for it. They forget that the people who celebrated your coronation are the same ones who will cheer at your be-heading; the people love a show.

Friday, April 04, 2014

If they sacrifice for us...

This blogger has a spectacularly dim view of the political classes. It hits its nadir when a politician becomes an "elected representative" of the people. It turns to hostility when the said elected representative attempts to speak with erudition on matters beyond his competence, intellect or jurisdiction. But this blogger accepts the elected representative as a necessary evil, even though they are more and more evil than necessary these days.

The role of an elected representative, after the lofty ones of "representation, legislation and oversight" is to mediate conflicting interests so that they do not turn into violent disagreements that flare up every time someone or some group wants to flex its muscles. It is why many still believe politics to be the last true "calling" where the people come first and the elected representative comes second. Anyone who would stand in public and articulate an idea that is held in common by a community must surely feel the need to do so in addition to the narcissistic tendencies we have come to associate with those of that persuasion. That person must feel that he or she is the only one who could defend the interests of his community and negotiate with his peers for the best deal for his community. Even in Kenya where faith in the elected classes continues to suffer ignominy after ignominy, there is still a hope, diminishing it is true, that the elected classes will stop fattening their wallets and start fattening the people's wallets.

It is why the whole debate about devolution needs to be re-calibrated. Members of County Assemblies are the closest to grassroots politicians that Kenyans will ever have. We have already made the error of electing and nominating largely semi-literate men and women to these assemblies; it is an error we cannot rectify until 2017. We cannot however, allow them to behave like the perfidious local authorities that have gone the way of the A-Trak. It is shocking to read stories in the press about the one billion shillings MCAs spent in 2013/2014 on travel. A billion shillings divvied up between around 1,800 people is an obscene sum, especially when thousands of Kenyans are at risk of starvation, hundreds of Kenyans are at risk of water-borne diseases, and tens of thousands of children are malnourished. It is an obscene sum when public retirees have to go for months without their pensions.

Kenyans are united four-square behind devolution; they are wary, though, that it is about to be hijacked by ex-councillors determined to recreate their glory days of dubious tenders and rampant graft. Kenyans are placing their faith in the Controller of Budget and the Auditor-General and when these two come up short, in the Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury and ultimately, the President. Kenyans do not want devolution to be strangled or watered down; but they do not want the same graft-related problems of the national government to be replicated in the county. The Devolution Conference in Kwale is valuable; it would have sent a powerful signal if only the conference facilities were paid for out of public funds and each governor and his vast entourage paid their way out of their own pockets. That no one thought of this speaks volumes about their intentions with our money.

Greed, A National Value and Principle that Unites us All.

This blogger's parents did not have a plan when they had him; they swiftly came up with one, though. That plan cost them dearly: fiscally, emotionally and socially. But they were determined; they taught their son how to act, talk, listen and think. They decreed that he would be brought up along the Christian values of hard work, thrift, and honesty. They enforced these values with a tyrannical hand; thirty odd years later, this blogger is glad his parents were tyrants because if they had not been, this blogger would be dead in a ditch somewhere outside Agra in India.

In this weeks blog, Luis Franceschi asks that Kenyans need to change their values in order to enjoy an orderly and comfortable life as that to be found in Luxembourg or Brussels or Cologne. (70 Kenyan students visit Brussels, Luxembourg and Cologne, Daily Nation, Friday 04/04/14.) This blogger is compelled to agree with Mr Franceschi. In a small number of cases, the job of instilling the right values in our children is taken up by institutions other than the family, especially where a child has been orphaned or taken away from its parents. By and large, however, the values we learn are taught in the home, and when we discard them we are a reflection of the values of the parents and the elders in that family.

It is not as far-fetched as one might think in the age of the twenty-four hour movie or music channel, the internet, or the world of online and offline video games. If a child spends all its time in front of the idiot tube, not being mentally nourished with information or education, instead being bombarded with sleaze, sex, corruption, lying and cheating in the name of entertainment, it is the parent that allowed that to happen who is responsible for the values that the child is picking up from the medium. It is the parent that permits its child to spend hours on hours listening to music that has little to recommend it spiritually, academically or morally. It is the parent who is responsible of the awkward socialisation of its child when it cannot interact comfortably with other because the child has spent a considerable portion of its existence with its fingers glued to a video game console.

When we look at the men and women we elect to high office, the men and women we appoint to positions of trust, and the men and women we trust to keep us safe, doing the wrong thing every time they are faced with a choice, why can't take the analysis of their behaviour to its logical conclusion and ask what did their parents, and elders teach them? In the 9th Parliament, a Member from the Rift Valley was nicknamed Baba Dennis for allegedly fathering a child with a girl young enough to be his daughter and then refusing to take parental responsibility for the child. Why did we not ask whether those were the values that the MP instilled in his own children or whether these were the values his parents and grandparents, uncles and aunts instilled in him?

The desire to be first at all times whether or not we deserve to be first is not in-born; it is learnt. In Kenya, it is reflected every day when motorists will not wait for the lights to turn before making their, usually wrong and dangerous, move. It is reflected in the sharp elbowing into lifts even before they empty of their previous passengers. It is reflected in the cheating that has become endemic in institutions of learning, encouraged by the faculty and parents alike, during examinations. It is reflected with the impatience with learning; we want to know, but we do not want to understand. It is the desire for the fastest buck possible. Today, it is our only national value. Greed!

Thursday, April 03, 2014

It is all about legitimacy.

No! It is not a question of national security, but one of public safety. Despite the legalistic definition of national security, the meaning that people derive from that loaded phrase is the security of the government, and not the safety of the people. The security of the government is the continued existence of a political power in charge of that government. In Kenya this has frequently come to mean the continued reign of the incumbent president. It very rarely means the safety of the people or their property or the institutions that are important to them.

Therefore, when commentators point out that the structural infirmities that permit the prolific killing of elephants and rhinos in our national parks exposes gaps in Kenya's national security, they miss the point by a mile; they seem to be of a piece as those who would call for the extra-legal killing of dissenting Islamist voices amongst us. They are united in considering that the ease with which poachers seem to kill trophy wildlife, transport their spoils through our towns and cities, have them loaded onto ships or planes, and delivered to final customers overseas exposes the weakness in the policing of our national parks and game reserves, policing in our towns and cities, policing at our border crossings and a woeful inadequacy in our intelligence-gathering and analysis systems. But they would be loath to admit that all these areas in which weakness or inadequacy is exposed are not institutions for the safety of the public but for the perpetuation of political power at its most basest.

Our forces of law and order and our intelligence services are designed to corral us into docility; we are not to question what our political superiors know or do. We are to remain silent and allow our taxes and our national treasure to e expended as the powers-that-be determine to be best. If we are to raise our voices in protest, we are to do it in the manner and form that the powers-that-be permit, that is, in such a way as we do not threaten their continued grip on the levers of power or the taps of fabulous wealth.

It is for this reason that a community, such as the diverse and cosmopolitan one at Kenya's coast, will continue to defy the neat pigeon-hole to which the State is determined to consign it. When the county commander of police declares that the people cannot fight the government and win, he is subtly reminding them that in his understanding of national security, he will burn down the town to preserve the authority of the government. he will set his police on them to keep them from hurting themselves with foolish thoughts of challenging the authority of their government. It will never occur to him that because of a complex set of reasons, some recent and some historical, a majority of the peoples at the coast consider the government of the day, whether at national level or county level, to be illegitimate.

The question of legitimacy also stalks the wildlife conservation meme promoted by those who like to see "Kenya's heritage" preserved for future generations. They do not care to consider that land injustices have defined this nation since the day the white settlers set foot in Kenya. Unless the Land Question is resolved to the satisfaction of those who have always been marginalised, poaching will never receive widespread attention from the people. Before the question of our national heritage is settled, the people must be satisfied that the Land Question is no longer a cause for violence, suspicion and corruption. Wildlife conservation, therefore, remains the legitimate concern of those who have the land, the money and the power of the government behind them. To the rest of the people, game reserves and national parks are illegitimate interlopers on land that the people fought a colonial power for.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Secret Police, eh?

Abubakar Shariff who went by the nom de guerre Makaburi was an Islamist preacher who was shot dead ("sprayed by bullets," said The Star) on 1st April. Some thought it was an April Fools' joke. It isn't. This blogger knows pitifully little about the late Makaburi; reading between the lines, there are few who are shedding tears for the departure of the Islamist cleric. He had celebrated the murderous exploits of al Shabaab fighters at the Westgate in September 2013, and had defended their tactics of indiscriminate murder.

The reaction from the men and women atop our opinion-making tree, though, has proven disturbing. This nation has blithely accepted the reality that of all the institutions meant to protect our lives and property, the faith of the people in the forces of law and order remains at a nadir because of the corruption that permeates every nook and cranny of the security firmament. The forces of law and order are taken to be illegitimately exercising their mandates because they frequently pick and choose which bits of the Law of Kenya to enforce and which to ignore, favouring the high and mighty at the expense of the low and weak. When taken together with the low esteem with which the elected political class is held, and the men and women they appoint to do their bidding, "civilised" discussion of the trigger-happiness of strangers and security types alike is unlikely in Kenya today.

Makaburi was felled, it is suspected, by a secret police unit, just as his fellow Islamist, Aboud Rogo, is suspected to have been felled. Because these two were very prominently sympathetic with the demonic aspirations of al Shabaab, only their families will mourn their passing. Kenyans from all walks of life will celebrate the extra-legal killings and pray for more of the same against "enemies" as loosely defined by the elected classes they do not trust.

In a nation that claims to live under the protection of its constitution and body of laws, it is surprising that the authorities' faith in the law is not more assured. Aboud Rogo and Makaburi were notorious for their utterances; they made no effort to hide their sentiments or sympathies. How is it that a government that has a police force standing at approximately 80,000 strong and very large secret police has consistently failed to find information or evidence that can withstand the test of litigation in our courts of law? Perhaps the answer lies in that a secret police system inherited from a colonial power that has resisted reform for nigh on fifty years has found a new way to bolster its usefulness to the powers-that-be by "eliminating" problems without the bother of due process or a trial. Coupled with the apathy of the liberal intelligentsia of Kenya, expect more of the same in the years to come.

Faith-based organisations, especially Christian leaders' associations, have proven unequal to the task. Rather than denounce the individuals for their utterances, the likes of canon Peter Karanja, speaking for the National Council of Churches of Kenya, find it convenient to blame all Muslim leaders and all mosques for the "radicalisation" of youth in Mombasa. The same is true for the more militant evangelical organisations which speak without taking into account the nuances of the problems that Kenya's coast faces.

What many fail to consider is that once the secret police and their bosses finish off the Islamist threat, they will find new enemies to go after. Perhaps it will be trade unionists. perhaps its will be teachers' unions' leaders. Perhaps it will be matatu associations' bosses. How about those who would spend their own resources providing medicines to the downtrodden and forgotten? When a secret police goes out to look for an enemy, it usually finds one. Those tom-tomming the gunning down of Makaburi might want to take a lesson from his murder. One day, someone else may be celebration your death at the hands of the secret police.