Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Be deathly afraid

I actually want to thank and congratulate the KDF, who did this. I wish we would have more mass graves of these people. Because if we do that, we shall go the Ethiopian way. You see, in Ethiopia, although we have a very large border -- Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia -- Ethiopia has a larger border with Somalia yet we do not find these terrorists coming, going to Ethiopia because Ethiopia is very very strong in handling terrorism. I am thinking of the four children who died in Lamu with the four police officers when these people put IEDs. See if I could get the people who put those, I would murder them, I'd even not bury them so these other people can learn the medicine. This Mandera people have been very unco-operative. They see terrorists, they lie with them, yet they don't say anything. Now they're sympathising with the five dead, five buried. They are not sympathising with the people who were killed in a quarry. They do not talk about the people who die in buses in Mandera. So if the KDF found these people and found that they were the guilty ones, don't even bury them. Throw them to the, to whatever! And that is the justice that I would like seen for us to eradicate terrorism in Mandera...The medicine for these people is just kill them the way they kill us. You take them to  judge, then he's given bail, then the...hapana! Just kill! Let them go!
This is a transcript of a diatribe by the don of a state-funded university, that he made on a morning television programme on Tuesday, the 19th July, a day after a mass grave in which the remains of five men were discovered where they had been disposed of by members of the Kenya Defence Forces. The diatribe took place after a video was leaked online showing what appeared to be a member of the Kenya Defence Forces shooting and killing an unarmed man (presumably, in Mandera).

Kenyans may have peculiarly short memories but the victims of state-sanctioned terrorism never forget. A running mate in Kenya's general election refuses to countenance the full implementation of the report of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission because "it will divide Kenyans along tribal lines", forgetting, or ignoring, that many of the victims who testified before the Commission suffered at the hands of the disciplined forces, including the army and the police. The names of the places where they suffered have become part of our human rights lingua franca -- Wagalla, West Pokot, Mt Elgon, North Eastern, Tana River.
Only once has Kenya come close to reckoning with its legacy of state-sanctioned terrorism, when the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission Act was enacted in 2008. The day after it was enacted, Kenya went back on the objectives of the statute by setting itself upon the task of appointing an insider from deep in the heart of the Moi Era Government to be its chair, a slap in the face of some of the victims for whom the law was enacted in the first place. Since his appointment and the litigation that stymied his, and the Commission's effectiveness, much blood has flowed down the Tana in the name of anti-terrorism -- not the least the extra-judicial execution of troublesome radical clerics, the detention of thousands of Kenyan youth on suspicion of being terrorists and now, so it seems, the videographed execution by members of the defence forces of suspected terrorists.

Armies are not built for policing the civilian population; they are built to fight wars. Point them at an enemy, and it is the sworn duty of the soldiers to destroy the enemy. It is true that terrorists are the enemies of Kenya and Kenyans but, unless they are massed in standing armies challenging Kenya to a war, to beat them is a two-pronged approach of counter-intelligence and criminal investigation. In other words, more often than not, the police force is well-equipped to investigate terrorism-related offences, while the intelligence service is designed to identify threats and neutralise them before they are realised. This is not the job of the defence forces, certainly not on domestic soil bar a declaration of emergency and their deployment to police the civilian population.

The bloodlust expressed by our don is an indicator of the ideas of justice that are percolating in our institutions of high learning, where the men and women responsible for shaping the minds of our young are concerned with revenge at al costs and are blind to the malign effects of an unrestrained national security apparatus. If our very own university dons remain oblivious to the lessons of our blood-soaked history, it is no wonder that young Kenyans are susceptible to fascist ideologies such as those that have been advanced by some members of the Jubilation in this election season. It is why the presidential shoot-first-answer-no-questions edict has received such great purchase, even among well-travelled and, supposedly, enlightened Kenyans. It brings to doubt every loft promise about "peaceful" this and "peaceful" that as repeated by members of the elected classes. Quite frankly, we should be deathly afraid that the ground is being prepared for us to unquestioningly accept extra-judicial executions as the antidote for armed crime.

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