Monday, December 08, 2014

Wash. Rinse. Repeat. (Again?)

In the same week that President Uhuru Kenyatta got the long-sought reprieve from the dastardly machinations of the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, a gang of Chinese nationals was discovered "operating an illegal radio station" in Nairobi's posh Runda Estate. Followers of this blog know I have a very dim view of the securocracy, after its mendacious responses to Baragoi, Westgate, Mpeketoni, Tana River, Lamu, Kapedo and Mombasa. Therefore, I am not surprised that the 77 Chinese operating in Runda might have had greater ambitions in Kenya. After all, few Kenyans speak Mandarin or Cantonese and only the feeble-minded believe that their sole purpose in Kenya with their "sophisticated communications equipment" was to broadcast radio signals illegally.

Some have speculated that the Chinese gang were here to "infiltrate" ATMs and M-Pesa accounts. My friends, if that was all they were up to, we can chalk it up to the lucrative nature of our burgeoning financial sector, which seems to attract more and more foreigners as the Jubilee administration gets down to serious development business. I have taken a rather casual glance at the international papers, and none of them seem to consider the Chinese as slothful when it comes to cyber-espionage. The reasons to set up what looked like a sophisticated operation weren't ATMs or M-Pesa middle-man attacks. These were spies. Spying on our government. Spying for their government. And they caught Maj Gen Philip Kamweru and his National Intelligence Service napping. Again.

Commentators have bemoaned the leaden-footedness of our securocracy. Regardless of the musical chairs in the national Executive, the removal of David Kimaiyo and Joseph ole Lenku has failed to address the structural infirmities inherent in an over-secretive system that relies on cronyism and corruption to get things done. The appointed of a former soldier to shake things up at the Department of Immigration has not stemmed the undocumented entry into Kenya of many individuals, some of whom have less than charitable intentions while on our soil. Maj Gen Gordon Kihalangwa is supposed to be our first line of defence against undesirable foreigners and enemies of the nation. Instead, just like his predecessor before him, he has decided to go for cosmetic changes: shutting down passport offices in Kenya's forgotten bits.

I shall repeat my exhortation once more. We must make a paradigm shift in securing the nation. There must be a complete break with the past where the police were the vanguard in the corralling of the population. The primary job of any police force is the safety of the people from criminals. It is only when the people are safe can the police take part in the security of the nation. The job of national security lies with the National Intelligence Service, which spies on all enemies, foreign and domestic, the defence forces which fight wars or deter idiots intending to wage war with Kenya, and the border security force, which keeps infiltrators of the homeland out of the homeland. Maj Gen Kihalangwa is the one to take the lead in keeping out infiltrators like the 77 Chinese caught in Runda.

No one seems to realise this. Not the national Executive and certainly not the securocracy. Their solution lies in draconian laws that don't amount to a warm bucket of piss and shit in Kamiti GK Prison. By insisting that the people are to be corralled by ever harsher laws, they are simply encouraging malcontents to conspire with foreign powers against the State, and the people. (Do you believe the man who rented that Runda pile is really, truly innocent?) The 77 Chinese did not enter Kenya using the smugglers' routes in Mandera, wajir, Marsabit or Turkana. Thoey came through a border crossing point toting tonnes of sophisticated electronic equipment with the active assistance of members of Maj Gen Kihalangwa's department. How much are you willing to bet that when he is confronted with the proof of complicity of his officers, Maj Gen Kihalangwa will ask for stiffer penalties rather than undertake a root-and-branch reorganisation of his department? That is the tragicomedy that is our security. 

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