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The East African : Sep 22nd 2014
20 The EastAfrican OPINION SEPTEMBER 20-26,2014 PUBLISHED WEEKLY BY THE NATION MEDIA GROUP Westgate lessons should inspi≥e EA in wa≥ on te≥≥o≥ Kenya, and by extension the entire East Afri- can region, is marking the first anniversary of the Westgate Mall terrorist attack with trepidation. Trepidation because Kenyan intelligence agen- cies have not proved they have developed enough capacity to avoid a repeat or manage one better. Trepidation because the region is still at risk of serious threats. Reviews of how Kenya’s security agencies han- dled the Westgate situation have revealed a lack of co-ordination and preparedness and little intelligence sharing. Video footage of the attack reveals the chilling truth that victims were at the mercy of the terrorists for hours and it took the intervention of civilian licensed firearms holders and a few plainclothes police officers to save hundreds of people before the security agencies arrived. This was a major indictment on Kenya’s terror preparedness. Those charged with the country’s security have admitted the inadequacy of the agencies’ response last year. They say they learned from Westgate and a repeat would not occur. But only recently, the country’s security agents left yet another group of Kenyans at the mercy of attackers in the coastal region of Lamu for days. This does not inspire confidence in the security agencies. With the July 2010 twin attack in Kampala, the Al Shabaab terrorists announced their entry into the big league of global terror. The region did not take notice. Westgate was more devastating, with 67 deaths and several injuries. We hate to imagine what could come next, if the region’s security agencies do not get on top of their game. The intensity and sophistication of the strikes are bound to rise as Al Shabaab spreads its wings by joining global terror agencies like al-Qaeda, from which it receives financing and technical skills. The terror group has also managed to infiltrate local population, especially those with grievances over historical injustices. Even with the killing of the Al Shabaab leader Ahmed Godane by American drones early in the month, the extremist ideology continues to spread. The region must be alert, in case the new leaders plan revenge attacks. Where does the region move from here? Better co-ordination among local and regional security agencies is paramount. Proven capacity to thwart attacks at the planning stage will send a message to terror groups that the region is ready to contain them. We can learn from the biggest targets for ter- rorists in the world — the United States and Israel — who strive to nip attacks in the planning stages. With evidence showing that the entire East Af- rica region is under threat of attacks, especially from the Middle East, the public, investors and tourists need an assurance that their security is in safe hands. It is time for EAC members to renew their resolve to work with development partners in the war on terror. We cannot afford to lose the war on terrorism. A PUBLICATION OF THE NATION MEDIA GROUP LINUS GITAHI: Chief Executive Officer TOM MSHINDI: Acting Editorial Director PAMELLA SITTONI: Managing Editor Nation Centre, Kimathi Street, P.O. Box 49010-00100 G.P.O. Nairobi. Tel. 3288000, 2221222, 337710, Fax 214531, 213946. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org © Nation Media Group There remains a deep suspicion in Africa that digital things are fads.” Cha≥les Onyango-Obbo O n Thursday PriceWaterhouseCoopers released a report, The Outlook, about the interesting things increased Internet access is doing in Mother Africa. South Africa’s entertainment and me- dia market, the report said, “is expected to grow by 10.2 per cent compounded annually from 2014 to 2018 to a value of R190.4 billion (about $17.3 billion). By far the largest segment will be the Internet. How did Kenyans discover Kansiime? On the Internet, where else? Combined revenues from Internet access and Internet advertising will account for an estimated R71.6 billion ($6.5 billion) in 2018, accounting for 37.6 per cent of total revenues”. Nigeria’s entertainment and media revenues, it said, will reach an estimated $8.5 billion in 2018, more than doubling from the 2013 figure of $4.0 billion. “This represents one of the fastest growth rates in the world,” said PWC. “The Internet will be the key driver for Nigeria…” Then it came to East Africa, where it The inte≥esting things Inte≥net is doing to Af≥ica peeked into Kenya. “Kenya recorded $1.7 billion in enter- tainment and media revenues in 2013, and this is forecast to rise to $3.1 billion in 2018. Once again, it is Internet access that is driving growth. Television and radio will account for combined $1 billionplus of revenues at the end of the forecast period,” it said. Digital things I can feel the techno cynics sneering. They are right to. There remains a deep suspicion in Africa that these Internet and digital things — unless you are selling airtime and mobile phones — are just fads that don’t pay school fees or put ugali on the table. While many East Africans know some- one who has a large following on Twitter, thousands of friends on Facebook, and writes a blog read by very many, they have never heard that any of them has made enough money from it to pay rent. True, there has been too much hype. The result is that most people have not been told that fidgeting with the Internet is like farming or going to school. Very few of the millions of farmers in Africa grow rich, and most students who go to school and sit examinations, in the end, fail. So how does this work? One of the best East African examples, perhaps, is Ugandan comedienne Anne Kansiime. Kansiime lives in Kampala, Milita≥isation of state no answe≥ to insecu≥ity I t is a year after the attack on Westgate Mall. The media are full of reflective articles and talk and an American documentary has been released. But the same questions linger: Was it a failure of intelligence or a failure to act on the same? Was there co-ordination — or lack thereof — between the security services involved or the questionable deployment of the military and the chaos and criminality that deployment wrought? How best can the impact be dealt with? While there is consensus on conclu- sions arrived at and questions pending, there is little to demonstrate that the state has any intention of answering these questions publicly. We hope that it is posing them privately. But hope in Kenya is more often dashed than not. The evidence is not encouraging: The presentation of the president decked out in military gear, the appointment of a new intelligence head from military intelligence and the deployment of the military in Mpeketoni. Until 2008, when the joint military/ police operations began, from Mount Elgon to Mandera, our military spent much of its time in United Nations peacekeeping operations. That fact, on top of the post-1982 coup military reforms, led us to believe we had a fairly professional military. But the allegations of rights violations committed during those joint operations — torture, rape and general criminality — forced us into a shocked revision of those beliefs. Any remaining illusions were shattered following the Westgate Mall attack. A recent Human Rights Watch report on the rape and sexual violence committed by our military in Somalia is but another horrifying indictment. The point is simply this: The slow but steady creep into internal security operations of the military is something that should be questioned. It was not for nothing that, following the attempted coup d’état of 1982, the military was restructured. Secularists believe in the The slow but steady creep into internal security operations of the military should be questioned firm divide between state and religion. Our Constitution supports an equally firm divide between civilian and military affairs, with oversight of the latter meant to come from the former. Beyond the apparently new place of the military in internal security and the problem of co-ordination between the security services—who is actually in charge?—is a different problem: That of co-ordination between the national and devolved governments with respect to security. Yes, the Constitution defines security as the preserve of the national and flies to Nairobi to record her comedy take on Kenya’s market-leading Citizen TV every so many days. So, though she lives in Kampala, right now she probably makes most of her money in Kenya. Kansiime was already hugely popular in Kenya before she started her Citizen TV show. How did Kenyans discover her? On the Internet, where else? It is also where most Ugandans discovered her. She started by posting her videos on YouTube. I am a fan of Kansiime. I was “intro- duced” to her by our daughter, who was in turn introduced to her by friends in college abroad — friends who are not Ugandan or East African even, who had “met” her on the Internet. The more the Internet spreads, and gets cheaper, the more people will find Anne Kansiime herself, and other Kansiimes of Africa. Now not only does Citizen TV pay Kan- siime, but folks also pay to advertise on her videos on YouTube because they are popular. That is where the lolly comes from. It is slightly inaccurate, but that is as good a beans-and-potatoes snapshot of what the PWC report is describing, as you will get. Cha≥les Onyango-Obbo is edito≥ of Mail & Gua≥dian Af≥ica (mgaf≥ica.com). Twitte≥:@cobbo3 Coordination between security services and devolved governments may be helpful.” L. Muthoni Wanyeki government. But it is at the devolved government level that problems of insecurity are most acutely felt. And with respect to both addressing causes of insecurity—inequality and other grievances—as well as with respect to early warning and prevention, the devolved governments have potentially huge roles to play. Meanwhile, the County Commissioners seem to run roughshod over the devolved governments, controlling the Administration Police and other security services on the ground. Thus, the turf wars at that national level play out in a different way at the local level. We are meant to be at the tail end of the process of security sector reform. Somehow the point of that process got lost in the morass of subsidiary legislation, clawbacks on the same and on-going drama with respect to recruitment and vetting. The militarisation of the state is not the answer. Co-ordination between security services and devolved governments may be more helpful. L. Muthoni Wanyeki is Amnesty Inte≥national’s ≥egional di≥ecto≥ fo≥ East Af≥ica, cove≥ing East Af≥ica, the Ho≥n and the G≥eat Lakes.
Sep 15th 2014
Sep 29th 2014