Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The fall before the fall.

We must be gullible. It is the only explanation. We must be gullible. 77 Chinese nationals have been living in Kenya for a year, relying on expired tourist visas to get by. They have been operating a "cyber-warfare" operation out of a posh villa in Runda. Two Cabinet Secretaries "visited the scene of crime" with the Director of Criminal Investigations, and one of them pronounced herself "still traumatised" with the discovery of the 77 Chinese and their sophisticated communications equipment. The only explanation is that we must be the dumbest Black people to shit between two legs.

As we are being reminded on a monthly basis now, our "internal security' is a complete shambles. We are reminded time and again that the situation is dire because of decades of corruption and human rights abuses. Reforms have been touted by local malcontents, the Government of Kenya and even the might United Nations. Right from the Ghai Commission to the Kitonga Committee, all drafts of the attempts at constitution-making emphasised the reform of "internal security." It is time to admit to ourselves that our "internal security" problem is a vicious combination of many, many factors including the aforementioned corruption.

The other must surely be leadership. The "internal security" leadership is made up of dyed-in-the-wool conservatives whose idea of "security" has very little to commend it in the twenty-first century. This is not the United States nor the United Kingdom. Policing in this country has always paid lip service to the safety of the people; its principal reason has been the security and preservation of the ruling party and its government at all costs. In Kenya, the cost is measured in blood; frequently, it is the blood of the innocent that reveals the extent to which the "internal security of the State" will be preserved.

The powers that the leadership in charge of internal security have always arrogated to themselves, lawfully and otherwise, have always been abused, with tragic and devastating consequences. Every time internal security has been handled by a combination of police, spies, assassins and the army, tragedy has followed as sure as the sun rises in the East.  In the 1960s to the early 1980s, the internal security of Kenya was threatened by the Shiftas and a sub rosa war was waged that led to massacres. Not one, not two, not three, but dozens of massacres where thousands of Kenyans were murdered in cold blood. In the 1980s, it was dissidents, traitors and coupsters. Again, thousands of Kenyans were rounded up on the suspicions of spies, they were tortured and those who weren't so lucky were murdered and disappeared forever.

In the 1990s, a new element was introduced in Kenya's internal security: militias disguised as political parties' youth wings. Internal security was lost after that fateful decision. It will never be recovered. What used to be petty corruption for survival, in the wake of the rise of billion-shilling criminal enterprises such as the mungiki and forty brothers, became a wealth-creating opportunity for the internal security apparatus with real estate of inestimable value at the end of the day. It is at the heart of the internal security shambles, corruption is, and until the Commander-in-Chief admits to himself that he cannot function with the corruption unchecked, all the draconian powers in his hands will eventually force him into one of two terrible choices: let it go, or become dictator "to restore order."

After overstretching itself in Europe, the Mediterranean and North Africa, the Roman Empire was faced with internal unrest that politics failed to resolve. The Roman Empire was increasingly corrupt and decadent. Even its leading lights could not see that in less than a lifetime, it would crumble. In a last-ditch attempt to salvage their empire, the Roman Senate appointed Gaius Julius Caesar as dictator. In three years those selfsame dictators would assassinate their dictator on the senate floor.

Someone is whispering in the Commander-in-Chief's ear. All he needs, the whisperer says, are "full" powers to deal with al Shabaab, the Land Question and the bandits in the Northern Frontier District. He need not keep these powers for long; after the crises have been dealt with, he can ask Parliament to restore the nation to status quo ante. Dozens of intelligent Kenyans support this view. We have not said it out loud yet, but it will soon become apparent that Kenya, including its Parliament, "business" community and "development" partners, is the Roman Senate before the fall of the Roman Empire.

The only explanation is that we are extremely gullible. Why the Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade thought to admit before the whole world that she was "still traumatised" with the discovery of the 77 Chinese, we will never know. What we will remember when "internal security" becomes a byword for escalating murder, armed robbery, banditry, massacres and "terrorism" is that not one senior policeman could come up with an explanation of how 77 foreign nationals managed to live in a posh house in a posh part of Nairobi for thirteen months without holding down any kind of job (they were on tourist visas, remember?) without getting caught while operating, I shit you not, an "unlawful radio station" using "sophisticated communications equipment."

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