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The East African : Dec 8th 2014
18 The EastAfrican OPINION DECEMBER 6-12,2014 PUBLISHED WEEKLY BY THE NATION MEDIA GROUP South Sudan: One yea≥ late≥, still mo≥e talk IT IS one year since fighting broke out in South Sudan between rebels allied to former vice president Riek Machar and government soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir. Unfortunately, chances of the warring parties reaching a political settlement remain fluid. Both President Kiir and Dr Machar have been preaching to the world that they are ready for peace but it is becoming clear that both are hostage to their generals, who command the troops on the ground and do not support the proposed power-sharing arrangement negotiated by the Igad. It is regrettable that after a whole year of fighting and tension, President Kiir and Dr Machar have not seen it fit to end the suffering in their country, where over 10,000 people have been killed, 1.8 million internally displaced, and over 500,000 fled to neighbouring countries. The international community — particularly South Sudan donors — is still counting on Igad and regional leaders to show the way and come up with a regional solution. Two major developments last week have raised hopes that the warring parties could soon reach a political settlement. First, Presidents Yoweri Museveni and Jakaya Kikwete have taken it upon themselves to help save the talks. Secondly, both President Kiir and Dr Machar have been busy trying to sell the proposed peace plan to their followers. We hope the two leaders will manage to con- vince their followers that only a genuinely negotiated political settlement — and not the gun — will ensure a lasting peace in Africa’s youngest nation. Inclusivity key to integ≥ation The last-minute cancellation of the East Af- rican Community Heads of State Summit that was to be held in Nairobi on November 30 is cause for concern among citizens keen on faster regional integration even with the official explanation that the meeting could not proceed without President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, who was indisposed. It is now emerging, that reports that leaders of the so-called coalition of the willing (CoW) that brings together Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda to fast-track regional infrastructure projects would first meet ahead of the Summit did not sit well with Tanzania and Burundi. There are also fears that, while there has been momentum in the integration process, from the Common Markets Protocol and now moving towards the Monetary Union, some Partner States are hesitant to fasttrack the political federation. The regional policy drivers and political lead- ership should strive to ensure the integration is inclusive if the region is to reap the full benefits of the process. 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: email@example.com © Nation Media Group By hitting Kenya, Al Shabaab kills four birds with one stone.” Cha≥les Onyango-Obbo in a US airstrike in September, and being pushed out of its last major strongholds by the African Union force, Amisom, dropped its deadly business card off in Kenya, not once but twice. On November 22, they stopped a I Nairobi-bound bus in Mandera, took the non-Muslim travellers aside and Al Shabaab actually wants all of Somalia back, and attacking Kenya seems to be the easiest way to do so shot them at close range through the backs of their heads. As Kenya was still coming to terms with the atrocity, al Shabaab struck again. In the same Mandera County on December 2, they attacked a quarry camp. Again, they picked out the non-Muslim workers, and executed them. This time, Kenya reeled. President Uhuru Kenyatta, seeking to restore confidence, asked his Minister of In- n less than two weeks, the Somali extremist group al Shabaab, thought to be on the run after losing its leader Ahmed Godane Why Kenya is such a ≥ewa≥ding ta≥get ternal Afffairs Joseph ole Lenku and the police chief David Kimaiyo to jump off the cliff, and he brought in a new team to deal with the crisis. What is al Shabaab’s game? First, it has said the attacks were in retalia- tion for Nairobi’s crackdown on allegedly extremist mosques in the Coastal town of Mombasa. Second, it has been demanding that Kenya withdraw its troops, who are now part of Amisom, from Somalia. Though Kenyatta is firm that Kenya will not leave Somalia, clearly the number of those who think it should is rising. Some things, though, don’t add up. Though Kenya kicked al Shabaab out of the lucrative port of Kismayu, Kismayu was by no means its biggest loss — the capital Mogadishu was. The Ugandan and Burundian troops landed in Mogadishu in 2007, and by the time Kenyan troops entered south Somalia in late 2011, the al Shabaab had lost most of Mogadishu. Mogadishu is important because it’s where the symbols of Somalia sovereignty and the structures of the state are being rebuilt, and to which foreign missions are returning. Al Shabaab actually wants all of Somalia and Mogadishu back, and attacking Kenya seems to be the easiest way to do so. Uganda and Burundi are land- locked. Mombasa is Uganda’s main export and import route. If you want to bring Uganda to its knees, squeeze Out Kimaiyo and Lenku; In, again: Nyayo House A nother attack in Mandera. Another 36 Kenyans murdered. This time, quarry workers. The executive convenes the Nation- al Security Council. Explanations are reportedly demanded from both the Cabinet Secretary for Internal Affairs and the Inspector-General of Police. Whatever suggestions given were apparently deemed inadequate. One was replaced. The other resigned. Yet another ex-military person is designated for the position of Cabinet Secretary of the Interior. MajGen Joseph Nkaissery. About whom the final report of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission has this to say: “From February 22 to May 22 , he spearheaded Operation “Nyundo” where many people lost their lives and over 20,000 animals starved to death. Operation was also punctuated with rape and beating of the locals. The disarmament exercise resulted in deaths of civilians in what has come to be known as the Lotiriri Massacre.” The TJRC finally recommended his prosecution by the Director of Public Prosecutions. Commenting on the TJRC report in parliament in November last year, Nkaissery, had only this to say in his defence: “I was a young major in the army and the army was assigned to go and perform a national duty.” Dealing with commercialised stock theft may indeed be a national duty. How the assault, rape and murder of civilians becomes a national duty is unclear. But these crime and violations are what we have come to expect whenever the military is deployed— internally as well as externally. Is this what we should also expect should Nkaissery be confirmed in office by parliament? Looking at the other steps taken by the executive in response to the two attacks in Mandera, presumably so. Yet another ex-military person is designated for the position of Cabinet Secretary of the Interior A slew of legislative measures has been proposed — to the Acts regulating intelligence, the police, the appointing body for the police and counter-terrorism. They all deviate even further than previous amendments have from the Constitution. They propose removing the security of tenure of the head of intelligence, the head of the police and the two deputies. The aim is to make their removal from office easier in the event of situations Mombasa. However, Burundi is not as reliant on Mombasa. For it, Dar es Salaam port is the lifeline. Well, Tanzania has the same potentially explosive Muslim-Christian mix as Kenya. However, having grown up on a diet of “social harmony,” Tanzania would not stomach the Muslim vs Christian animosity that al Shabaab is trying to stoke in Kenya. Tanzania has the leverage with Bujumbura to get Burundi to end its Mogadishu presence. However, the fear factor to get Dar to play that card has to be very high. Unlike Mombasa, Dar es Salaam is the economic heart of Tanzania. If it had to go through the attacks and conflict that Mombasa has witnessed over the past three years, it would be too huge a blow. I think that if the alternative were to have extremists turn Dar into Mombasa with its empty tourist hotels, Tanzania’s course of action is clear — it will beg Burundi to leave Somalia. The problem for Kenya, then, is that it is a dividend-rich target for al Shabaab. By hitting it, al Shabaab kills four birds with one stone – it hammers Kenya, starves Uganda and spooks Tanzania, which in turn will pull Burundi’s ears. Cha≥les Onyango-Obbo is edito≥ of Mail & Gua≥dian Af≥ica (mgaf≥ica.com) Twitte≥: @cobbo3 The proposed amendments will enable yet more Nyayo Houses.” L. Muthoni Wanyeki like this. The effect is to diminish even further their intended independence from executive interference. The amendments would also ne- gate constitutional protections of suspected criminals. They would expand police powers of search and seizure. They would extend the periods over which suspects could be held in detention before being either charged and brought to court or released. They would enable suspects to be held incommunicado. And they would limit the possibilities of bail. What is wrong with all that? For starters, some of the amend- ments—like those enabling suspects to be held incommunicado—would not just be unconstitutional. They would also blatantly violate regional and international norms and standards regulating conditions of arrest, custody and detention. Bear in mind here that our own constitutional provisions on arrest, custody and detention came about specifically to respond to and limit the possibilities of torture and other ill-treatment. Collectively, the proposed amendments will enable yet more Nyayo Houses.
Dec 1st 2014
Dec 15th 2014