What do Police Reforms really mean for a Radical Paradigm Shift?

Image

Kenya police during pass out parade

At one point, we have all been victims of crime and indeed, just like any other person, the crime was reported to a police station near the incident. The process is followed, where the report is written and an Occurrence Book (OB) number is issued to the victim. The policeman or policewoman who records the incident will be your first point of contact but could also be the perpetrator or accomplice of the crime that just made you a victim.

The incidences of crime in the country have soared at an alarming rate and the public is left wondering whether the state has the capacity to deal with insecurity and whether the renewed confidence exuded by the Inspector General of Police on reforms, is just but hot air with no results to show. Our news bulletins of late have been filled with numerous news reports of increasing incidences of crime of all sorts. The epitome of which this past week has been the shooting in broad day light of a former anti-stock theft unit police constable and a bride-to-be in Nairobi’s central business district. The disheartening and worrying issue about this incident is the confidence displayed by the four-man death squad who carried out the heinous crime and how they casually walked away scot-free after committing the killing. Another blow to the police service was the recent highlighting by one of the media stations of police officers involvement in repeated muggings of unsuspected passengers in matatus and the issuance of death threats by their accomplices to the persons who highlighted the activities of the “pickpocket gang”.

This rising cases of insecurity within the country beg the question on what is wrong with our security reforms programmes.  Does the state and the revamped National Police Service (NPS) have the capacity to deal with insecurity? Noting that capacity is based on various issues including sufficient weaponry provided for each police officer, adequate vehicle provision and sufficient budgetary allocation for fuel and maintenance, improved welfare for police officers that includes a decent housing scheme and insurance cover. The abetting or commission of crime by police officers follows the need to satisfy the lack of basic needs that he/she is entitled to.  So the question begs, do you expect the police service to protect you and maintain law and order without the necessary tools and incentives to perform their roles or duties?

In order to win the war on insecurity and to effect comprehensive police reforms within the country, a radical paradigm shift is needed. To begin with, the functions of the National Police Service Commission (NPSC) are clearly stipulated in the National Police Service Commission Act (NPSC Act 2010) that includes the welfare and efficiency of the police service. One of the issues that have been long overdue within the police service has been improving the welfare of the police officers. The National Police Service Commission together with the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) are mandated to structure the salaries and remuneration of the police service, but this has been hampered by the ongoing turf wars between the National Police Service (NPS) and the office of the Inspector General of Police over the functions and powers each is mandated to perform. This turf wars must end in order to ensure comprehensive police reforms are institutionalized and rule of law upheld.

The apathy towards reforms from different stakeholders have not made the journey too easy, however, it was neither expected to be smooth sailing nor a walk in the park. The Inspector General of Police has recently been on record before the parliamentary committee on administration and national security, lamenting that more than 200 police stations across the country do not have vehicles. This indeed is a mockery of our state capacity on security sector reforms considering that if the police service is expected to respond in a timely manner to any situation, then they need to be facilitated with adequate transport and not just the cars but also sufficient budget allocations for fuel and maintenance.

Security sector reforms can be a beneficial and exciting process for all, mostly surrounding issues of training and incentives for police officers, this process can be realized sooner but there needs to be an attitude and mindset change both within the NPS on how to handle the reforms and by the citizenry in order to support and embrace police reforms. For instance, the process of police reforms for Herzegovina and Bosnia, was very inclusive where relevant stakeholders including minority ethnic groups were involved and the reform programme became a locally owned process with an incentivized module and long-term strategy which made the process much easier to realize, taking into account the back ground of both countries having emerged from ethnic conflict much like the Kenyan situation.

For example, considering the Kenyan context, in order to incentivize a police officer, perhaps a welfare scheme can be launched where the first salary that a police officer gets, a percentage of the house allowance can go towards paying a mortgage. By the time, he/she finishes 25 years in the service; he/she will have owned a proper home. A caveat to this proposition can be introduced where if an officer receives a bribe or commits/ abets a crime, he/she may lose a house, job and other benefits. With such an incentive, it would beat logic for a police officer to consider receiving a bribe of say Kshs. 50,000 as opposed to having and owning a home. Also note you can have the home and rent out for the same Kshs. 50,000 per month as additional income.  It is important to reckon that a well incentivized police service will also be attractive enough to draw graduates from different fields of academia who will in turn professionalize the police service and security sector.

Secondly, there is an old adage that says security starts with you as an individual. In order to assist the police service curb this national menace of insecurity, all Kenyans must embrace community policing. Crime does not happen in a vacuum, it happens in our neighborhoods, work places and homes. In most instances the people carrying out different crimes are known to us, hence it is our responsibility to be willing to embrace this concept of community policing. However, the police service must also realize that for Kenyans to engage in community policing, then they must be committed to winning back our trust. This is also to discourage citizen attacks on police officers because of the tainted imaged of the police service. This will ensure that when a law-abiding citizen calls a police station to report a crime or a potential crime, that action will be carried out and that the citizen who has reported the crime will not be the first “suspect” to be interrogated or will not be reporting the crime to the perpetrator or abettor. It was quite reassuring after the 999 hotline police number was revamped but on the same breath, it was quite discouraging to note how Kenyans are abusing the all important line of communication between the citizenry and the police. Of importance on this is that the police must make effort to win back the public trust so that people can embrace community policing in the fight against insecurity.

While the realization of a functional police service is possible, the will to radically rethink our security sector reforms, information and strategy to make it achievable is needed. 

5 Things That I Missed Since I Was Here

I am glad to have another opportunity to come back to this land called the great US of A. It feels nice to see familiar places, streets and mannerisms. Having been here for only three days, here are 5 things that I missed….

1 Efficient Transport Network

Image

Yah when the bus or train schedule says the bus will be here by 8:10 am it will surely be here…

2 Excesses of Life

The last time I was here this aspect really struck me…that people here have what in my language I would call “anasa za dunia” i.e “excesses of life”. I mean if you want milk, you have to choose between whole milk, 2% milk, skimmed milk, if you want coke you are asked if you want diet coke or regular coke, ..I mean for some of us back home the aspect of choice and variety doesn’t come before availability…for some the question of availability of milk comes before thinking about the choice of milk (Brookside, Usiseme maziwa sema ng’ombe :-))

3 Smiling and Walking Ettiquettes on the street

While attending college at Kalamazoo, I first encountered this very unusual phenomena – that while walking past someone, most people (read strangers) would smile at you or nod as you passed by. Now for someone coming from Nairoberry where most people care about their business, this confused me, especially when it is someone from the fairer sex smiling at you. This is because how was I supposed to interpret the smile or the nod as a polite gesture of recognizing the other or as a way of saying “hi”. Anyway, after much reflection and encounters on the streets it also made me question this American mannerism – is it a genuine smile? is it something people do to fulfill their emotional sense that they are being polite yet they don’t care a cent about the other person? My sense is that you only smile at people you know not any tom, hannah and sandra on the streets. Another strange walking etiquette is that if you were walking up or down a stairway, you are meant to keep to the right and when you don’t people really find you strange or impolite.

4 Good Old Big Mac Donald

Cheers to the guy who invented this one!!

 

 

 

5 Pronunciation nightmare

My first experience at a local restaurant, I requested the waiter to give me a glass of “wota” and she looked at me with a blank face signifying she didn’t understand what I wanted. It was not until my host friend politely asked her to get me a glass of “w-o-r-ra”. And by the way, while we are at this story of water, why do Americans have to drink water or cold beverages with ice cubes even when it is snowing? I never seem to understand! In another instance I went to a Subway outlet and requested for a turkey sandwhich with extra cheese and “l-e-tt-u-ce” and the guy also couldn’t understand my order since I dint pronounce the lettuce properly 🙂 Cant an African be let be?

It feels great to be back!!

My Two Cents on Impact of Kenya’s Elections on Diplomatic Relations

Image

President Uhuru Kenyatta at the inauguration ceremony

The outcome of Kenya’s elections have been described by the western world as “unconventional” since it was expected that Kenyan’s under the new Constitutional dispensation would not have overwhelmingly voted for the two candidates(Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto) who are suspects charged with grievous crimes under the Rome Statute (International Criminal Court). However, if the election results are to go by, it appears that the western world was mistaken and this potends a new paradigm shift of African nations as regards choice of leadership and breaking the norm of being at the beck and call of the western nations.

The election of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto, both of whom have pending cases in the ICC, has put western nations like the US and the UK in an awkward diplomatic relationship given that Kenya is a key strategic partner of the US as regards fighting terrorism in the Horn of Africa; it is a major economic hub of the East Africa and Horn of Africa regions and in maintaining regional stability due to its geo-political position. Although before the elections the US had cautioned Kenyans against voting for Uhuru Kenyatta and his co-accused William Ruto to the effect that Johnny Carson noted that “choices have consequences”, it is highly unlikely that the US will completely cut off relations with Kenya or even move to institute sanctions against Kenya.

This can be explained by the change in geo-strategic environment within Africa where China is increasingly creating opportunities for African states to acquire an economic leverage that they did not have before. This change is  causing a diplomatic focus shift among many African countries and the US as well as the other western nations would cautiously be weighing the decision of breaking off ties with Kenya. Jendayi Frazer, a former US Under-Secretary of State for African States confirmed this argument by noting, “The Chinese have changed the playing field and if the US, UK and Europeans don’t want to deal with Uhuru Kenyatta, he has another option (China).”[1]

This assertion demonstrates the diminishing role and diplomatic power of western nations over African states. For a long while now the western nations used their economic power as a diplomatic leverage over African states and often times employing a carrot and stick diplomacy to arm-twist African nations into submission and serve their political and economic interest. However, today the outlook for most African nations is different and majority has embraced the Look-East policy thanks to the entrant of China. This has given opportunities to countries like Kenya to confidently relate with China as a key trading and diplomatic partner without worrying about the consequences of not towing the diplomatic “box” that western nations want to fit the African nations

Another impact of Kenya’s elections to Africa’s international relations is that it sends out a strong message to the human rights regime embodied in the ICC architecture to the extent of a “renewed mood of self assertion in Africa”[2] The ICC regime was established to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. By Kenyan’s choosing to overwhelmingly vote two individuals who have pending cases at the ICC, it’s a strong message to the West that Kenyan’s (Africans) can make their own choices and interpretations of human rights violations irrespective of how skewed  this interpretation of human rights is. This self assertion was best captured by the President-elect in his victory speech when he noted, “Today, we celebrate the triumph of democracy; the triumph of peace; the triumph of nationhood. Despite the misgivings of many in the world, we demonstrated a level of political maturity that surpassed expectations. That is the real victory today. A victory for our nation. A victory that demonstrates to all that Kenya has finally come of age.”

The election of the two ICC indictees is a big denunciation of the ICC process. The process in itself although at first was received with mixed reactions by Kenyans and had received immense support by a majority according to opinion polls; has ended up “being counterproductive and has exacerbated ethnic polarization.”[3] Beyond Kenya, the process has also continued to be perceived as a politicized rather than a judicial and independent process. This has delegitimized its mandate of fighting impunity and has lost support among African nations as it is viewed as western-backed court that only seeks to prosecute Africans. It will be a watershed moment if the ICC succeeded to prosecute the suspects in the Kenya case as  this has a great bearing on the legacy of the court as an international independent judicial court.


[3] Kimenyi, M.S Kenya at a Tipping Point: The 2013 Presidential Election (2012)

My First Ever Media Quote Whoop! Whoop!

http://irinnews.org/Report/97329/Reprieve-for-urban-refugees-in-Kenya-but-fear-persists

“Rights groups say the harassment of refugees – and Somalis in particular – is not limited to security forces, but also exists within wider Kenyan society. Rufus Karanja, a programme officer with the Refugee Consortium of Kenya, said there was growing concern about the safety of refugees in the run-up to the country’s 4 March general election.

“In 2007, many refugees were victims of general xenophobia and insecurity, and many were displaced. We are trying to come up with contingency plans for them ahead of the coming election,” he told IRIN. “Much of the xenophobia is fuelled by the media, who keep linking the attacks to Somali refugees… There is a need for media sensitization on broad aspects of refugee protection.”

A number of civil society groups, under the umbrella of the Urban Refugee Protection Network, on 22 January called on the Kenyan government to end the abuse of refugees that had escalated following the 18 December directive.

“We will continue to pursue, through the courts, reports of extortion, arbitrary arrest and unlawful detention of refugees by security forces,” Karanja said.”

Somalia: Available Options and Interventions

The Failed States Index 2011 ranked Somalia as one of the top three failed states in Africa.[1] The index further indicates that for four years in a row, Somalia held the number one spot in this ranking. This ranking illustrates the magnitude of the complex humanitarian crisis in Somalia which is characterized by two decades of recurrent acute drought, lawlessness, terrorism, political instability and breakdown of the socio-economic structures. For many people whenever the word Somalia is mentioned, the million dollar questions that seem to linger include: Is Peace possible? Are there available options to restore the country into sustainable peace and to stabilize the dire humanitarian situation?

Over the years, the international community has attempted to carry out various interventions in an effort to address the conflict and humanitarian situation in Somalia. However majority of these interventions have not borne much fruit in terms of stabilizing and restoring peace in Somalia since most of them have majorly been humanitarian and militaristic.  Take for instance the 1992 UN intervention in Somalia where the UN Security Council Resolution 794 approved the formation of a United Task Force (UNITAF) whose mandate was to use “all necessary means” to guarantee the delivery of humanitarian aid and to stabilize the situation in Somalia.   This intervention led to the break out of gun battles between the local militia and the peace keepers. The subsequent military operations which were led by the US resulted in heavy casualties which led to the withdrawal of the UN soldiers from Mogadishu.

The international community also attempted at stabilizing Somalia by backing the establishment of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG). This came about after a series of international peace conferences and diplomatic negotiations between the different major factions in Somalia. The TFG comprises of an executive branch and a legislative branch and has since then become the internationally recognized government of Somalia.[2] However this intervention is perceived to have failed because the TFG has not received popular support from the Somalis as it is viewed as a western-backed government and its era has been marred by political bickering by the different factions within the members of Parliament. This political bickering has hampered its objective of creating political stability and charting the way forward for drafting of the country’s Constitution as envisioned in the Transitional Federal Charter. Kenya as a key player in the region also decided to intervene in Somalia under the Operation Linda Nchi in a bid to eliminate the threat of al-Shabaab following the multiple kidnappings and attacks they had carried out in Kenya. In the recently concluded London Conference on Somalia, the international community agreed to inject new momentum into the political process in Somalia, to strengthen AMISOM by calling on troop contributing countries to add more troops and to help Somalia develop its own security forces. A careful analysis of most of these interventions by the international community, reveal that they are short-term interventions which do not address the root cause of the problems in Somalia.

As the debate on Somalia rages on there is great need for the international community to realize that achieving sustainable peace in Somalia and durable solutions for the Somali refugees can only be achieved through a long-term multi-pronged approach that addresses the questions of: What is the role of the international community in developing sustainable interventions in the Somali conflict? How best can durable solutions be achieved through militaristic interventions? How viable is the idea of returning Somali refugees without first stabilizing the socio-political environment in Somalia? The ideal pragmatic approach of restoring peace to Somalia and fighting al-Shabaab should be one that adopts a combination of humanitarian, diplomatic, and militaristic approaches. The use of all these approaches should have the sole objective of addressing the root causes of the problems in Somalia that have resulted in the protracted conflict and displacement of scores of Somalis into neighboring countries.

After the Kampala bombing in 2010, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni was on record calling on African leaders to team together and “kick al Shabaab out of Africa.” I reckon that it is such radical views and war mongering that has continued to radicalize al Shabaab. Such views only aim at treating the symptoms of the crisis in Somalia but they do not effectively tackle the real problems. Such a call only amounts to entrenching al-Shabaab’s terrorizing activities and offers them a good public relations platform for their actions and message. When leaders like President Museveni choose to breathe out the “crazy war vibe”, which is the model that Kenya has gladly adopted through issuing of threats by our Minister of Internal Security and Minister of Defense; al Shabaab gets free media platform to send out the message that “we are here and are stronger.”

To effectively tackle the threat of insecurity caused by al-Shabaab, there is need for a rethinking on how to address the problem of terrorism. This is because al-Shabaab is not only a threat to Somalia or Kenya alone, but to the whole of the Horn of Africa region. Therefore efforts to tackle the threat of al-Shabaab should not be entirely based on militarized solutions such as the Operation Linda Nchi or AMISOM, but should also incorporate non-militarized solutions that aim at rebuilding the socio-economic structures in Somalia. For a country whose economic infrastructure has been severely damaged by years of civil conflict, terrorist attacks and recurrent drought, the international community ought to be busy strategizing on how to capacitate the next Somali government on how to rebuild and restore the country’s socio-economic structure. The Turkish government has already engaged in this venture by being the first country in 20 years to open an embassy in Mogadishu and has commenced various development-oriented projects. The Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayip in his visit to Mogadishu last year announced Turkey’s commitment to invest and rebuild the infrastructure of Somalia.[3] Turkey has already started rebuilding the social fabric in Somalia by reconstructing roads, the international airport and hospitals for Somalis. It is such efforts and interventions that should be lauded by the international community and that should provide the impetus for galvanizing financial resources and support for Somalia.

The interventions by Turkey embody a durable solution that addresses the situation in Somalia as they seek to rebuild as well as restore livelihoods for the people of Somalia. The protracted situation of poverty, high rates of unemployment and lack of access to alternative education has contributed to a situation of vulnerability for many young people in Somalia who according to various reports are being recruited at an alarming rate by the al-Shabaab. Therefore, efforts to curb this should be directed at how to reach out to these young Somalis who have become hopeless in and outside of a failed state where getting recruited into al Shabaab has become the alternate lucrative option as opposed to enrolling in school or engaging in meaningful employment.

A practical way of targeting the youth in Somalia is to develop strategies on how to first disarm the majority of armed youths, through peace building and disarmament programmes. Secondly is to target emancipating the minds and hearts of the young people from the al-Shabaab indoctrination which is another leading factor of conscription into the group. These interventions should result in deconstructing the propaganda and brain-washing that al-Shabaab has been advancing to young Somalis. The challenge that the international community has is to develop strategies of how young people and Somalis in general can get access to alternative media sources and constructive information to emancipate their minds and hearts.

As the mandate of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) comes to an end this year, there is need for the international community to take stock of what has been achieved in the 7 years that the TFG has been in place. This exercise would be of great help to look at the lessons learnt and chart a way forward for a comprehensive political solution. One of the lessons that the international community should have learnt by now is that imposing a government upon a people does not solve the political crisis but only serves to further destabilize the political situation as has been the case for Somalia.

As a way forward, the international community should advocate and support the establishment of an inclusive and participatory process that charts the roadmap for a political solution that will guarantee sustainable peace in the country. The IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government has recently endorsed a Grand Stabilization Strategy for South and Central Somalia during their 20th Extra Ordinary Session. This strategy aims at an inclusive process to determine political and administrative arrangements in the liberated areas at district and regional levels, while building on existing structures.[4]  Therefore as Somalia goes through the next phase post-the TFG mandate which ends in August 2012, international actors ought to support this Grand Strategy and develop implementation mechanisms which will result in the restoration of democracy and rule of law in Somalia.

One way of implementing this strategy and making the process inclusive and participatory for all key actors, is to involve various Somali clan leaders in the negotiation process for a Somalia National Government. It is only by creating an inclusive and participatory process of negotiation and consensus building that a legitimate governing system will be established which is accepted by majority of the Somalis. Such a process will create the basis upon which a national governing body would be elected through a democratic process. Further, an arrangement such as this, will provide the people of Somalia with an alternative leadership option as opposed to being subjected to the illegitimate rule by al-Shabaab.

In conclusion, it should be appreciated that the protracted conflict situation in Somalia needs a multifaceted approach of incorporating militarized and non-militarized options as a strategy towards attaining sustainable peace for Somalia. The positive role that the international community can play is to facilitate the socio-economic progress and development of Somalia. Further the international community should realize that their strong point in achieving sustainable peace in Somalia lies in their unity and having a coordinated support for Somalia.


[4] IGAD News Issue 44 February – March 2012

The Real Reason for the Offensive on al Shabab (By Okech Okech)

By Okech Okech

Celebrated American financier and banker JP Morgan said that a man always has two reasons for doing anything: the good and the real reason. Over acentury ago when this incisive observation was made, the subject wasn’t Kenya’s military nor al Shabab, in fact both had not been born. Today, these words sound truer and more relevant if one is trying to objectively look at the Kenya vs. al Shabab war.

To begin with, Al Shabab is a ruthless militant group that has made public their affiliation to al Qaeda. They have tormented native Somalis and have made it impossible to have an operational government in Somalia, external efforts to have a transitional federal government notwithstanding. Kenya has continually borne the brunt of their activities in Southern Somalia; influx of refugees, violence spill over into Kenyan territory and kidnappings within the Kenyan territory that are not only a security problem but also economic threat.

Al Shabab is quite naughty, they have hijacked several cargo ships and notably MV Faina that had in it heavy military artillery and other forms of arsenal reportedly destined for South Sudan. The public opinion had favoured a more hawkish response to these threats and this was only given a nod after two or three Europeans had been kidnapped by the same Al Shabab militia.

Which begs the question what are the real reasons for the military offensive against al Shabab? While the good reason is to protect Kenyan economic interests, security and territorial integrity and perhaps sovereignty of the country, the real reason as any keen observer would expect remains obscure.

In industrialized states like US, the real reason for going to war is to create jobs, increase local industrial production and improve the balance of payment or gain control over natural resources such as oil and natural gas. This is a complex of interrelationships often referred to as the military-industrial complex, a term coined by Dwight Eisenhower in his farewell address.

So where does Kenya stand? In the war against al Shabab, the defence forces are in it not for the Kenyan interests but it is squarely about pride. This is why. Al Shabab is not new and they have consistently posed a threat to our national interests ever since it was born. It is a little disturbing when one tries to look at what might have moved our forces to launch the offensive now and not earlier. Al Shabab is a terrorist network that operates in more than one country and because of its operational links to well funded terror groups like Al Qaeda, the Kenyan military intelligence must have advised that by occupying southern Somalia, al Shabab will not be defeated. This might have been the reason why the CIC had been reluctant to allow our forces to cross into Somalia to weed out Al Shabab and instead opted to create military bases close to the border with Somalia. May be he was drawing lessons from US experience in Afghanistan where despite the superiority of the US military intelligence and military technology, finishing Taliban and Al Qaeda has taken over a decade and still counting…

Kenya also understands the devastating effects the war has on the economy and the treasury must have advised that the shilling would continue to lose against major world currencies. With the cost of living factored in, I don’t see how Finance minister would have okayed the move since we have to import everything including bullets and it is tactically naïve to rely on US and France on the war front.

A week into the war and several questions are being asked as to why did the CIC sanction the war, even without a parliamentary vote on the same. The public opinion is fast changing after two blasts in Nairobi downtown in 24hrs that have rekindled the horrendous scenes of August 7th.

The fact that it was the ministers of defence and security who made the chilling announcement should not be taken lightly. It was the CIC who was supposed to make the announcement to Kenyans and the world, flanked with the PM, VP, house speaker and ministers for defence, security, finance and Foreign Affairs, together with CGS, military commanders and police commissioner. The message it sent was that the war is after all not about Kenya and Kenyans, nor is it about our tourism and the economy, not even our security.

This war is about an individuals’ pride and whose pride is it? The war is about CGS Gen Julius Karangi, it’s about his personality and his legacy. I can bet that if Gen. Kianga was still at the helm, perhaps we would have increased surveillance along the border with Somalia and try to weed out resident sympathizers of Al Shabab. Who knows, our own Guantanamo prison could have been established instead of going into a rash, costly and seemingly unwinnable war that exposes us to greater risk. I call it rash because Kenya did not seek cooperation with her neighbours and lately the TFG president has been quoted as saying he does not support the presence of Kenyan military is Somalia. Kenya should have had an effective and coordinated intelligence not an ethnically oriented operation, and a sabotage of the economic networks that make Al Shabab have a strong internal presence, both in Kenya and Somalia.

Who knows, with a general election in the offing, could it be a plot to extend the life of the current administration or an armchair warrior is making money through the imports? Or is it a mere, albeit expensive, tact meant to distract us from grand larceny in government and an economy on a nosedive, rising cost of living with no increase in disposable income and an ever depreciating currency? Remember this administration scores poorly on the economy.

Okech Okech is Masters student at the University of Nairobi (Political Science Department) and a commentator on issues of governance, leadership and forward social, political and economic trajectory in Kenya. You can view his blog at http://okech.wordpress.com/

Tackling the Al – Shabaab Menace (re-edited)

As the war on al-Shabaab rages on, it is high time that the military and the government draws out its long-term objectives and an exit strategy out of Somalia – although logically this should have been drawn and planned even before the first soldier set foot in Somalia.

The War on al-Shabaab should be one that adopts a combination of militaristic, diplomatic and a hearts and minds approach. The use of all these approaches should have the sole objective of addressing the root causes of the problems in Somalia. After the Kampala bombing, President Yoweri Museveni was on record calling on African leaders to team together and “kick al Shabaab out of Africa.” I put it that it is such radical views and war mongering that has continued to radicalize al Shabaab. Such views only aim at treating the symptoms of the crisis in Somalia but they do not effectively tackle the real problems in Somalia. Such a call only amounts to entrenching al-Shabaab’s terrorizing activities and offers them a good PR platform for their actions and message. When leaders like President Museveni chose to breathe out the “crazy war vibe”, which is the model that Kenya gladly adopted through issuing of threats by our Minister of Internal Security and Minister of Defense; al Shabaab gets free media platform to send out the message that “we are here and are stronger.”

The war on al-Shabaab should not be based entirely on militarized solutions (Operation Linda Nchi) but should also incorporate non-militarized ways which should aim at reaching the many young and old Somalis who are being recruited at an alarming rate. Media reports are already reporting that al-Shabaab has gone full throttle to recruit more militants as the Kenyan-led offensive intensifies its campaigns on al-Shabaab’s strongholds. Efforts to curb the al- Shabaab menace should be directed on how to win the hearts and minds of these young Somali’s who had become hopeless in a failed state where getting recruited into al Shabaab makes much sense than enrolling in school.

As our Foreign Affairs Minister, Hon. Wetangula and his fellow diplomats’ traverse the globe seeking support for Operation Linda Nchi and as they seat in consultative meetings in Addis Ababa, Washington and at IGAD’s meetings, they should be busy coming up with long-term strategies on how to reach and win the hearts and minds of the Somalis. They should craft incentives that involve the disarming of the young Somalis and enticing them to give up their militia lifestyles. These incentives should target to deconstruct the propaganda and brain-washing that al-Shabaab has been advancing to young Somalis. The international community should engage in efforts of how young people and Somalis in general can get access to alternative media sources and constructive information to emancipate the minds and hearts of Somalis from the al-Shabaab indoctrination. It should be recognized that this can not be an easy feat, given that al-Shabab has had an iron fist as far as media and recreational activities are concerned; but it is a sustainable way to creating a revolution within the Somalis against the al-Shabaab.

What should be realized is that the fight in Somalia is not just that of rooting out or “kicking” out al-Shabaab but the main battles include: how to re-establish rule of law, institutionalization of a governing system and addressing humanitarian issues such as the provision of basic needs and securities for every Somali citizen. It is the fight for basic needs such as food security, easy access to health care, education, peace and security, adequate water supply that should be the main concern of resolving the Somalia crisis and status as a failed state among the community of nations.

There is a great need of legitimizing and strengthening the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), whichich since it’s establishment exercised limited control in Mogadishu thanks to the presence of AMISOM troops. The TFG has no popular support in Somalia since it is seen as a western-imposed and western-backed government against the wishes of the Somali people. To legitimize the TFG there is need for creation of an inclusive and participatory process that charts the roadmap for a political solution and sustainable peace in the country.

One way to do this is to involve various Somali clan leaders from the different clans in the negotiation process for a Somalia National Government. It is only by creating an inclusive and participatory process of negotiation that a legitimate governing system will be established and that the rule of law in Somalia will be restored. Such a process will build legitimacy for the national governing body to be elected through a democratic process. Such an arrangement will provide the people of Somalia with an alternative leadership option as opposed to getting recruited by al-Shabaab and will ensure Operation Linda Nchi was not in vain.

In conclusion, acknowledgement should be recorded that the thoughts and proposals forwarded in this article are just a drop in the ocean of solutions to fighting and defeating the al-Shabaab menace. It should be appreciated that the situation in Somalia needs a multifaceted approach of incorporating military options and non-militarized options as a strategy towards conflict resolution and attaining sustainable peace for Somalia.

Kenyan helicopter and humvee in Somalia

Kenyan helicopter and humvee in Somalia

(Courtesy of The Standard)

Image

Brief on the East African Community (Part One)

1.0 Introduction

The Treaty for the establishment of the East African Community was signed by the three Heads of State in Arusha on 30th November, 1999 and entered into force on 7th July, 2000.

The East African countries, Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda cover an area of over 1.82 million square kilometers, a population of about 126.6 million who share a common history, language, culture and infrastructure and a combined GDP of 73 billion US dollars. These advantages provide the Partner States with a unique framework for regional co-operation and integration.

Prior to re-launching the East African Community in 1999, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda had enjoyed a long history of co-operation under successive regional integration arrangements. These included the Customs Union between Kenya and Uganda in 1917, which the then Tanganyika later joined in 1927; the East African High Commission (1948-1961); the East African Common Services Organization (1961-1967); and the defunct East African Community (1967-1977). The revival of EAC witnessed an expansion with the joining of Rwanda and Burundi in June, 2007.

2.0 The Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community

Signed in November, 1999 the Treaty for the establishment of the EAC is informed by the EAC Development Strategy of 1997-2000, which tried to avoid the shortcomings associated with the earlier integration initiative. It also took into account the ongoing globalization process, as exemplified by the intensification of competition brought about by the liberalization of international trade and financial market systems. It is in this context therefore that the Treaty emphasizes that:

i. The objective of the Community shall be to develop policies and programmes aimed at widening and deepening co-operation among the Partner States in political, economic, social and cultural fields, research and technology, defence, security and legal and judicial affairs, for their mutual benefit;

ii. To achieve these objectives, one of the important guiding principles of the Community shall be people centered and market driven co-operation;

iii. The priority of the Community shall be economic co-operation, which is expected to form the basis for political co-operation in the long term;

iv. The integration process shall be carried out in a participatory manner, involving broad participation of key stakeholders including women, youth, private sector and the civil society;

v. The Vision of regional integration in East Africa is to create wealth, raise the living standards of all people of East Africa and enhance the international competitiveness of the region through increased production, trade and investments;

vi. The East African regional integration process shall be a progressive process, commencing with a Customs Union as the entry point to the Community followed by a Common Market, then a Monetary Union and ultimately a Political Federation; and

vii. Movement from one level of economic integration to another shall be through negotiated protocols, starting with that on the establishment of an EAC Customs Union.

3.0 Organs & Institutions of the EAC

The main Organs of the EAC are the Summit of Heads of State and Government; Council of Ministers; Co-ordination Committee; Sectoral Committees; East African Court of Justice (EACJ), East African Legislative Assembly (EALA); the Secretariat and EAC Institutions that include the following:

– The Lake Victoria Basin Commission
– Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency (CASSOA)
– Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization
– Inter-University Council for East Africa
– East African Development Bank

Read more : http://www.eac.int/

Electoral Positions in 2012 Elections

Executive
1. President + Running Mate (Deputy President)

Parliament
2. Senate (Art. 98)
– Senators (Elected from the 47 Counties) Art. 98(1)(a)
– 2 youth representative (one man and one woman)
– 2 persons with disabilities (one man and one woman)

3 and 4. National Assembly (Art 97)
– 290 Members of NA(Elected from geographic constituencies) (Art. 97(1)(a))
– 47 Women (Elected from the Counties)(Art. 97(1)(b))
– 12 members nominated by Parliamentary political parties

5 and 6. County Level
– Governor (Elected 47 Counties)(Art.180)
– County Assembly
o Members of CA Elected in the Geographical wards; (Art. 193)
o Special interests groups

Note: There will be 6 positions to vote for from the Executive to the County level.
Art means Articles in the Constitution of Kenya

Previous Older Entries

Categories

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,286 other followers

Flickr Photos

Triple Bite!

Rock Stars

Northern parula - Paruline à collier - Setophaga americana

More Photos