Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Preservation, at all costs.

At the top of the securocracy is the Presidency. Beneath it are the civilian heads of the military and the police, and other civilian agencies with limited policing functions. Then come the security heads and their troops. It is a simple enough organogram to draw. It's time to toss it out. It's time to rethink what we know of security. It is time to redraw the map of national security and inject it with as much confusion as possible so that we can flummox any al Shabbies that manage to get past the troops on the ground. The securocracy is about to undergo a massive expansion.

We have paid little regard to the militarisation of policing that started with the appointment of Maj Gen Hussein Ali in 2004. In recent months, the National Executive has embarked on an ambitious programme to reform policing that has been shrouded in secrecy and rife with speculation. The latest revelation is the conversion of the National Youth Service to a bigger paramilitary force and its engagement in security and security-related activities. It will no longer recruit three to four thousand youth in a year; it plans to have 60,000 recruits in 2014/2015.

That, with the placing of the disciplined wings of the Kenya Forest Service and the Kenya Wildlife Service under the direct command of the Inspector-General of  Police, who commands the General Service Unit, the Anti-Terrorist Police Unit, the Border Patrol and the Flying Squad, in addition to the regular police and the Administration Police, means that more and more disciplined forces are engaged in security-related affairs than at any time in the past twenty years.

The sole focus of the National Executive, indeed of the National Government, is the preservation of the security of the state at all costs. It is why the Commander in Chief is increasingly favouring photo-opportunities in his Field Marshall/Commander-in-Chief fatigues. It is why he is placing more and more military officers or retired military officers in sensitive, security-related agencies. It is why purely civilian outfits are acquiring a para-military bent and their missions are being shifted more and more towards the security of the state and further and further away from their core functions of youth capacity enhancement, protection and preservation of forests or wildlife.

The National Executive consistently elides the link between national security and public safety. The former has always come at the expense of the later and yet if the focus is shifted to the latter, the former is bound to be enhanced. The focus on national security means that policing will be used as a tool to control the people in whose name policing exists in the first place. It will be reflected in the number of newer and newer offences created when enacting legislation. It will be reflected by the number of documents of identity a person must possess. It will be reflected by the number of places a person is not permitted to be in, to photograph, or even to speak about. It will be reflected in the number of documents classified as "sensitive", "confidential", "secret", "top secret" or "ultra-top secret''. It will be reflected in the secret powers of secret police to conduct secret operations among the civilian population. And it will inevitably be reflected in the number of secret courts, secret trials and secret executions conducted in the name of national security.

The National Executive has fed us a constant stream of fear-mongering news. The news media have done a brilliant job of broadcasting the fear far and wide. The intellectual boosters of the national Executive have described in acute detail the things that could affect our nation security and therefore, us. Now the National Executive has come up with a plan which it assures us will keep us safe and preserve the national security. But the National Executive keeps the policy document, its blueprint for our national security secret, and employs demagoguery of the vilest kind to browbeat us into submission. This is how it starts, the slippery slope to a Stalinist state. This is how it begins.

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