Sunday, 31 May 2015

Withdraw from Somalia? Consider this!

Just what would it take for the Kenya Defence Forces [KDF] currently serving in Somalia under the AMISOM mandate to safely return back home? They only went into Somalia in 2011, four years ago, in contrast the war in Afghanistan started in 2001 and President Ghani over there has requested that US troops extend their stay instead of being withdrawn as planned next year. One might argue that is a different theater of war with dissimilar challenges.
Well let’s explore these situations, firstly President Uhuru’s administration inherited this complex Somalia issue in 2013 from the previous Kibaki regime which had earlier initiated military action against al shabaab through “Operation Linda Inchi”. It’s significant to note that Somalia has been up to 2012 a government less land, this way from 1991’s un-ceremonial exist of Said Barre, This is a country that was divided up among various warlords and terrorist-like authorities; al shabaab & it’s less radical predecessor the Islamic Courts Union [ICU].
In a way that is not un-similar to US President Barrack Obama’s challenge when he inherited the Iraq conflict situation in 2009 from President George W. Bush. The exception is that the previous year President Bush had already signed with the Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Maliki, a US troop withdrawal agreement [Status of Forces Agreement], scheduled to have been accomplished by end 2011. Obama’s campaign committed to undertake a responsible withdrawal of all combat troops in the 16 months remaining. Later while in office he had to adjust those plans. It became apparent to Obama then as it should become instructional to us in our current situation that winding down the conflict situation in Somalia would require more than the simplistic notion of just pulling out all our troops. In Iraq the US needed to leave a stable government in place so as to ensure it remained a friendly country or at least was not an enemy state or a safe haven for enemies. In our case the same can be said for our desire to ensure Somalia is free of al shabaab.
Towards that end this is what needs be done:
Kenya Defence Forces: and if need be with the help of other AMISOM forces, must completely over run all physical locations in Somalia held by the terrorists. This in my evaluation is the basis for everything else. Note if we are discussing Kenya’s national security then the demand is upon our own decisions and actions first before relaying on the assistance of friendly and partner nations. Our government’s goal should be to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al shabaab and to ensure that it cannot return to operate in Somalia in the future, [Paraphrased from President Obama’s speech to Americans on increasing US forces by around 50% of previous levels in Afghanistan]. We must pursue a progressive nationwide disarmament in that country leading to provisional regional withdrawals of our forces leaving Somalian national security authorities to man the territory. In order to achieve that and later to ensure the complete withdrawal of its troops, Kenya may have to begin by increasing its military presence possibly to march the twenty two thousand, strong AMISOM Force. Again a comparative analysis could be drawn with the US, in March 2009 president Obama increased the countries military presence in Afghanistan by 17,000 troops that is around 50% more than were already there. In December of the same year he further increased the level by an extra 30,000 troops. In so doing he severally debilitated the Taliban’s capacity and ability to sustain a credible fighting force. That move also protected law abiding people better and allowed the Afghan government to set up its own administration. I see a similar scenario in Somalia with KDF if the Somalian government is to stand a chance for successful administration of the 638,000KM square of that country. This US-Afghan scenario where soldiers have not been fully withdrawn to date is still another lesson for us, depicting the sensitivity, time taken and level of commitment associated with a responsible withdrawal from a country whose security and administrative infrastructure had been decimated by war and lawlessness.

The Kenyan military action into Somalia was undertaken without an apparent explicit exit plan in place. That is in any case water under the bridge now we must set up Somalian military and internal security mechanisms to the point they can protect and enforce legitimate civilian rule. Whatever the master plan that is devised to do it, this must be shared and coordinated with the AMISOM Command to ensure synchrony of purposes and execution. This is not suggestion that our government cedes its responsibility for our security to other organizations. It is admittance that there are other friendly actors with whom we can corporate to realize our objectives. Yet our national agenda must be the basis upon which we interact in this case. That exist goal will demand for helping in development of a Somalian National Security Strategic Plan including putting up military bases and law enforcement stations throughout the country as appropriate. An effective air force as a critical element of modern warfare may take five or more years to build in Somalia from the ground up. Imagine the effort required in developing an effective border control mechanism. Recruitment to these and other government organs will not be simple either it may call for the wooing back of a Somalian diaspora or for hire of foreign nationals with the education & skill levels required to be really effective.

Quote: “There’s no question that there was not an effective plan to win the peace after winning the war”
-- Kenneth Menkhaus, Professor at Davidson College –

In just one and a half months from commencement of fighting in 2003 the US military had already achieved its objective yet apparently no post conflict stabilization had been planned for Iraq. Hence a sectarian divide mushroomed between Sunni’s and Shiite’s, a sort of reaction from the many years of Sunni – Bath Party oppression during Sadam Hussein’s time. The Americans in turn further aggravated the situation with a miscalculated backing of Shiite political leaders who had no intent to nature national reconciliation. History shows wars affect greatly the post war political dynamics of affected countries. Any kind of peace winning plan from government strategists for Somalia must therefore take cognizance of this and adjust their planning to address any evolving negative dynamics. In Iraq the mainly Shiite political leadership that was US government supported went ahead to allow Iran to use Iraqi territory to train and equip hard-line militants. Politically this decision is seen today as a seed that has contributed to the emergence of ISIS. To avoid similar mistakes in Somalia, KDF’s redeployment should be implemented as part of a comprehensive political, diplomatic and moderate religious [mainly Islamic] strategy. In a country which has moved from democracy to krytoracy to warlords and terror gang rule and back to the formation of legitimate government in two decades that is no small feat.  

Somalia Political Development: Sustained and focused engagement with the Somalian Federal Government, neighboring countries and the international community is called for. We must ensure that both regional and national acceptability for that government is reasonably achieved. Meaning credible national elections at some point after the fighting is through must be factored into an agreed responsible withdrawal strategy. Anything less than that will only release the years of Somalian past warlord, ICU & al shabaab politics much like the Iraqi Shiite-Sunni-Kurds sectarian violence and politics jumbled any hope for a new improved beginning. Political engineering and power sharing agreements are difficult and may not be acceptable to those affected Iraqi presidency a case in hand. Great effort from all stakeholders within Somalia and among the international community saw the coming into being of a Somali Transitional Federal Government which in 2012 became the Federal Government of Somalia. That government now needs to be encouraged and supported to bring about credible national elections which hopefully will bring greater legitimacy as each citizen votes in their leader of choice. It cannot be forgotten that those development partners who Somalia may look to for this; neighbors like Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea and other countries like the Sudan, Saudi Arabia and the US all have their own plans or desires for the outcome. Some have large Somalian or Islamic populations of their own who are bond to influence decisions. Others may have strategic economic interests like Turkey, whose Prime Minister was the first since the 90’s to visit the country. Eritrea was in the past accused of aiding ICU and sending military specialist to fight on the side of the Somali Islamist. It is suspected that some extremist ICU leaders might have sought refuge in Eritrea especially as the Ethiopian and Transitional Federal Government troops gained ground in 2006-2009. Therefore any political solution must take cognizance of strategic interests Eritrea may have in Somalia and the possible dissuasive impetus that may reappear from the dissenting asylum seekers there. The Ethiopian military offensive against ICU instead of clearing Somalia of violent extremism led to the birth of Al shabaab terrorism. Equally for KDF, killing all the shabaab is not an automatic step towards attaining a more secure neighborhood. It is critical we see it that way lest we make the same old mistakes. The Americans have come back with the May 2015, John Carey visit to Mogadishu, is it purely for security reasons or is the US interested in restarting their oil exploration of the eighties and early nineties? What of the Federal Government of Somalia [FGS] can it deal with fears of corruption and incompetence that may have plagued its bid to attract international funding? The last decade or so indicates a Somalian population divided between those who support religious, Sharia based governance as was with the ICU and a sizable others who are desirous of secular rule for their nation as was demonstrated with the TFG or as it is at the moment with the FGS. Having suffered repeated adverse experiences at the hands of various international interventions the locals have deep rooted mistrust of international impetuses. Anyone with designs on that nation must carefully plan and work to build their long term trust. Kenya has to be prepared to hold hands with them for a long time not just for a 2-3year walk that leaves them exposed to the return of evil in the name of extremist religion.
Rule of Law and our required leadership: Growth of an effective national legal system is critical right from the initial bilateral agreements covering things like the legal jurisdiction under which our forces will continue to operate under while in Somalia. Possibly ratified by that parliament to the building of sufficient court houses in which adjudication for cases can be carried out properly across the country. Even with a new constitution passed in 2012 by the Somalian parliament, the culture of respecting the law especially by leaders who may still brandish control over armed militia is a challenge that our partnership with that country will need to work out. Kenya must take responsibility to develop & lead the execution of the entire withdrawal master plan. What I would do to see created a ‘department of Somalia’ in the ministry of foreign affairs manned with experts from all contributory disciplines and some from major NGO stakeholders and the like operating in the region, to manage implementation of this strategy. Remember we already took decisive steps to finish al shabaab when we chased them into Somalia in 2011. The war is not over and we shouldn’t relinquish our leadership to anyone, powerful or not, before we accomplish what it is president Kibaki authorized the forces to go and do. Kenyans have supported and been directly involved in senior and even government ministerial positions in South Sudan can we lend similar help to Somalia even as we grapple with our own woes back home?
Significant to the entire Somalia effort is the question; can the Somali people make the right decisions for themselves? After more than two decades of war, terrorism and famine will the desperate local at the level of basic survival, have the fortitude to make qualitative decisions on issues like corruption, negative clannism or the joining of extremist groups? The international community may have in Somalia’s intervention an obligation akin to that a parent or guardian has for their younger children. As much as we allow the kids to make their own choices as they grow up we manage those decisions to ensure they learn how to be responsible members of society, to be self managing and most importantly that they do not injure themselves while growing up. I propose an unprecedented UN/AU sanctioned ‘Protectorate of Somalia’ where the Federal government has certain authority but is overseen in its implementation by UN/AU joint governance working group. Given a 10 year strategic plan possibly extendable for an extra 5years with approval of the Somali Federal Government I’d say the country and the Somali people will have been drawn back from the abyss and will then hopefully be mature enough in their national culture to run their own show effectively. But who will push and fight for that agenda? I’d say it’s up to Kenya, where the instability in Somalia has hit hardest outside that countries own boundaries.
Somalia’s Economy: the country is an immense demographic disaster zone for its youth unemployment, industrial and agricultural sectors vanquished by over 25years of war, a poorly functioning health system, broke down mass transportation etc. Life after al shabaab may actually have taken another undesirable turn as warlords and clan politics took over land in areas now vacated by the terror gang. Yet there is hope for the country it has a thriving informal economy trading in food stuffs, charcoal, livestock money transfer etc. Opportunities exist with major trading partners like the Arabian Peninsula which has been a major market for Australian livestock. The country is also known to have deposits of natural resources including: uranium, copper, iron ore, gypsum, tin, bauxite, salt and natural gas. Recent oil and mineral finds in countries like Kenya, Tanzania and others all around Somalia should also excite more exploration and investments in these extraction industries. These resources could be leveraged through limited agreements for their future exploration, to support critical reconstruction costs among many others the costs associated with building and equipping national security organs that are needed immediately. In other parts of the globe some of this natural wealth has proved to be a curse more than a blessing how the Federal Government chooses to manage it in the reconstruction of Somalia will decide the nation’s fate. Evolving a national economic structure that will act as a substitute to livelihoods currently being earned through unwanted means like terrorism and smuggling so as to decrease susceptibility of the population to recruitment or perceived indifference to crime is critical to our ability to finally finishing off al shabaab and thus to our forces withdrawal. Kenya through strategic agreements and or by leveraging other international actors should get about organizing an economic stimulus package geared towards rebuilding Somalia as did the US for Europe after the 2nd world war through the Marshall plan. Definite milestones on that stimulus package will then inform on the countries readiness to move on without the presence of our forces.

Cooperation through influence to culture is also something GoK should pursue aggressively in our efforts to win the peace after winning the war.  Turning to our country’s experience as that of other Common Wealth nations, the British education in colonial times drove later cooperation and sharing of values. We have the unique opportunity to develop something similar with neighboring Somalia. Once the initial threat is neutralized there is an entire generation without formal schooling in Somalia that is not a challenge it is the greatest opportunity to undertake ‘Kenyanization’, by sending our teachers and professionals to build back that country. We have discussed many topics in the securing of our nation; I personally believe this part to hold the greatest potential for our nation’s safety regionally. We could deliberately plan how to influence positively into the ‘responsible withdrawal strategy’, for example how to undertake a ‘moderate Islamic’ religious drive to share with many Somalians the values of peaceful religious practice and coexistence with other religions as is widely practiced by Kenyan Muslims. [a national de-radicalization program]
Grand Plan Failure: at the time it becomes apparent that ‘responsible withdrawal’, will not work, say after 8 of 10years what happens? One option for Uhuru Kenyatta or in that case, Kenya’s next president, may be to borrow a leaf from Barrack Obama and set an ultimate date for the withdrawal of KDF from Somalia. Obama in facing the situation in Iraq did so and said;

"…..What we will not do is let the pursuit of the perfect stand in the way of achievable goals. We cannot rid Iraq of all who oppose America or sympathize with our adversaries. We cannot police Iraq's streets until they are completely safe, nor stay until Iraq's union is perfected. We cannot sustain indefinitely a commitment that has put a strain on our military and will cost the American people nearly a trillion dollars." -- US President Barrack Obama--

As easy, as simply getting out may be, we will still have Somalia as our neighbor unlike US and Iraq. Therefore in facing that possibility of strategic failure we must lobby the AU very aggressively and persuasively for alternative military partners for AMISOM so they takeover after we are gone. In such an event how we will manage internal security and daily living in Kenya will have to resemble very closely how the Israelis manage their own having survived the Arabian Peninsula neighborhood from 1948.  Some of the fears analysts need to convey to Kenya’s decision makers should include the possibility of Somalia reverting into al shabaab hands which in turn opens up a massive terrorist haven for among others Al Qaeda who they are allied to. As a group they have been hit by broken governance structures and with its internal power struggles for the top office after Abdi Goddane’s demise last year it is no stretch of the imagination to see ISIS or its “run off”, gaining credence over a waning Al Qaeda in some factions of al shabaab and establishing themselves in Somalia, especially so when joint military action against them in current areas in Syria and Iraq starts hitting hard. Then there is Boko Haram, whose traditional territory in the north of Nigeria and Cameroon is quickly being retaken by joint military action with Chadian and Cameroonian forces. Somalia under al shabaab would make a perfect retreat for them, as it may also be for groups out of Egypt and in Libya where IS affiliated fighters were reported to have taken over the international airport in recent days.

Specific Time Frames: need not be shared although official public estimates need to be made with a clearly communicated understanding that those are estimates to give the public some understanding on what is happening. More detailed briefs can be delivered to parliament or its relevant oversight committees. In this way we the Kenyan citizens remain briefed of what government is doing to allow proper oversight of these processes. Similar specific discussion with development partners and the Somali government will likewise help everyone prepare and act in response to the plans. US President George W. Bush in 2005 through a White House Press Release, said;
"Why would you say to the enemy, you know, here's a timetable, just go ahead and wait us out? It doesn't make any sense to have a timetable. You know, if you give a timetable, you're conceding too much to the enemy."

The Will and Vision of the People: Somalia has not been an easy nut to crack from 1991 to date it has been in various forms of conflict and divisions of society. Eating through strategic intervention after another from UN, US, Ethiopian and AU missions To succeed now, the Somali people must be involved and they must want it bad enough to act individually and collectively in order to earn that elusive peace, security, legitimate government, development and international acceptability. In many places around the world people have united, stood and won against oppressive regimes and other major challenges. If they did it in South Africa against apartheid, USA in the Civil war, Israel against all odds and Cambodia against the Khmer Rouge so can the Somalians if they want to.

History has demonstrated: that it is important for leaders to learn from mistakes including from mistakes of others and to do so quickly. Bush first and then Obama pushed to remove US troops from Iraq, a country which had gained a level of political stability having gone through an election in 2010. But the country was still fragile, without established security structures and facing highly charged sectarian distrust. These mistakes have now given way to the largest terrorist breeding ground in the world. Do we want a repeat of the same in a neighboring country? President Uhuru and his senior advisors are now on the driver’s seat, will they learn from those events? Given all the above factors I cannot see a full and responsible withdrawal of KDF troops from Somalia, all matters remaining constant in less than fifteen years from inauguration of an official ‘responsible withdrawal’ strategy. Yet it is for our leaders to make that call, whatever they do next, there will be no room to fail in it; the fate of all peaceful law abiding Somalians’ and that of our beloved motherland, Kenya, even that of the entire horn region, I dare say, depends on it.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

What Made the President’s Jet Turn Back

The Media in its true form went all out to report the breaking news last week when Kenya’s version of Air Force one turned back with President Uhuru on board, from its intended flight to Dubai. I felt as if the concern for the handling of our President more than the facts around this abrupt flight turnaround was what was mainly being conveyed in the reports across the spectrum of our mass media. One daily, reported that the president’s ride was denied passage over Eritrea supposing this information from the writer’s knowledgeable sources. This sparked off my curiosity as indeed might have done for many people familiar with the aviation industry. The “informed sources” quoted there, negated the issue of flight planning which is a discipline in itself within aviation. You see, no flight takes off on the spur of the moment, as may be the common practice with vehicles on the road, which is what much of the media reporting, whether intentionally or unintentionally wanted us the news consumers to believe. Aircraft are assigned specific routings at specific altitudes for specific timings hence what many may refer to as highways in the skies. This system apart from directing the aircraft to its intended destination has obvious safety and security benefits, like aiding the avoidance of mid air collusions and the all important identification and awareness of the aircraft’s presence through whatever airspace for security purposes, especially now post 9/11. One way al shabaab could bring down buildings in Nairobi or for that matter in any city would be to crash aircraft into them. Therefore as a measure flight planning [which includes getting the prerequisite territorial approvals] is essential. Hence for a state house spokesman or for a badly informed reporter as mentioned above to give excuses like war in Yemen which was only realized mid flight is completely miss leading in my opinion. Just think so how did the pilot realize this? Were rockets fired against the aircraft that suddenly jogged their thinking cells mid flight? Was this intelligence [which was already public knowledge] passed to them on radio? If so didn’t NIS Director Major General Philip Kameru know ahead of time about the President’s trip and thus not make appropriate, sufficient plans? I submit these are all farfetched possibilities to my mid. First of all route planning between the Air Force and Kenya Civil Aviation Authority must have taken cognizance of war in Yemen, the weather including things like humidity wind speed and direction, other traffic operating in the area, the aircrafts capability and serviceability, alternate routes including possible emergency landing airports, the vessel’s gross weight which includes passengers cargo even the fuel and aircraft passage rights through all national air spaces enroute to Dubai etc, that’s an international standard. Even the take off time slot for his jet at JKIA and the landing time slot for the same in Dubai International Airport [DXB] is fixed as per the plan, or have you not seen flights you were to take delayed because they missed their take off time slot or held in circulation while airborne awaiting their turn to land? As you can see route planning is a very detailed and very precise activity and as far as I am concerned both the Yemen war story and the turning back from Eritrean air space, fable [noticeably still without a diplomatic spout from our end] are simply nothing more than hog wash.
So then this forces us to wonder, if not lack of route planning, what then actually led to this situation? I submit two possible reasons, first and easiest one the President did not want to make the trip. Exhaustion, an eight hour plus, flight to the US and having to endure the return there after, oh! Man I sure wouldn’t want to do that either if I could avoid it. But having made the commitment to be at the conference, just maybe presidential aide’s in a bid to let him off saw this as a simple way out. Hmmm, Uhuru at times does seem like the spontaneous kind-a-guy. Yet he is the President no need for such shenanigans if he didn’t want to go he could have just canceled last minute who would question him? I leave it up to your better judgment for me it’s all up there in the sky.
My second reason is what really gets my juices running; I believe whatever caused that abrupt turn round had sufficient weight to cause not only the mid air ‘about turn’ but was of such nature as that which demanded the lame Yemen war cover up story. So for us to then analyze what that might be we examine current affairs with that sought of potential during the course of last week. Curtsey of prompt media reporting we know the morning after the president’s aborted trip he was busy at work, and it is significant to mention here that he set foot back on home soil an hour or so just before midnight and thus we can infer that the morning meeting with the Air Force Commander and the Director General of Intelligence that morning was not an earlier diarized appointment. At least not scheduled from before the weighty incident that may have caused his sudden return. By the way this morning meeting also blows my first presidential exhaustion theory out of the sky!
The timing of my supposed incident is also apparent to the keen observer, it must have occurred, assuming it was an occurrence and not some critical intelligence report, after the President’s departure for Dubai and just before the decision to turn back, unless of course the incident was actually a work in progress and only escalated in criticality during the flight period. The people he met is also a curious combination, air force Commander and Intel Chief, means what was being discussed at statehouse concerned the two functions. Media reporting on that meeting seemed to allude to a presidential dressing down or even a review of reasons for the aborted trip. Again I have problems with that hypothesis firstly important persons like the Director General of KCAA would have been involved seeing that route planning and its prerequisite approvals would have been done in collaboration with them. Then again what had NIS to do with this matter? For truly if it was about procedural malpractice wouldn’t the next course of action have been investigative? To establish criminal culpability and or a quality control process to establish where the lapse may have occurred and there after recommend corrective action? That kind of internal investigation is well within the capability of the air force so what was NIS doing there? Even if the president wanted to deploy the spy agency as a resource available to him would he do it in front of the Commander of the unit to be “intelligence-nized” [my word to mean spied on]? It doesn’t make sense because that for one would mean he didn’t trust his air force commander to carry out an effective investigation into what appeared to be at that point a case of professional malpractice. If so why didn’t he ask the commander of KDF himself to be present and why pit NIS against KDF in a case where individual mistrust and agency culture may collide? The appropriate department in such an investigation may have been the military police or even military intelligence supported by both military and civilian air control specialists based on what may have been required of them. If you look at it like that then you and I can only conclude that this morning meeting was not about the previous night’s aerial escapade. One main arena though, where both the air force and the intelligence community may be working closely together is the war against al shabaab mostly in Somalia. From general observation I would single out airstrikes whether our jets or US drones possibly guided by intelligence reporting on ground. Question is the last reported strike came in response to Garissa University, [might I add rightly so, make em pay for it]. Even then we are well into the war I don’t imagine this scenario, in the recent past or just about to be executed, would merit the president’s return in such fashion.

In my thinking the only other credible scenario is if what brought back our President and what was being discussed in that meeting had to do with the air force in relation to an intelligence report. We know General Karangi is retiring and other than being the KDF Commander he was from the air force specifically. Could there have been serious or worrying organizational dynamics set off in the impending changes? Or might there be another grand corruption saga, Anglo Leasing type involving the air force, unearthed by NIS? With the current high level crack downs in government this hypothesis of a yet an announced hand in the cocky jar is certainly a possibility. At least that is the sort of thing that could force a return of the presidential jet. Even then that would call for a bigger representation at the meeting including possibly the outgoing and the incoming KDF commanders among others who evidently were absent from the morning call up. So are we back to our theory of government duping, cover offs and trickery, snapped up by the media and reported as a serious review of presidential flight procedure after a dangerous, unintended executive flight misadventure? Was it nothing more than a team of senior officials having breakfast at statehouse? Your guess is as good as mine. All I know is we have professional operational route planning which all airlines scheduled or not relay on daily and by which they have, since the escalation of trouble, avoided over flying Yemen. [NB. get a better spin doc]

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Garissa University Attack Where are We

Al shabaab creating a new state: Are we seeing the annexure of the north eastern regions of Kenya? Would you now send your children to school anywhere in that region? Even the ministry of education has relocated all students and staff from Garissa University. What of businesses now closing down as part of the population moves away? If you were a tourist or investor what are the chances you would want to go there? I am sure even nonresident Kenyans won’t dare that. Don’t ignore the fact that the terrorists are getting bolder with the success of each attack in time we may be staring at chaos all over the country as was the case in Nigeria with attacks moving from the north into Abuja and Lagos.
Some similarities notable in the genesis of Boko Haram which came into being around 2006 led by a radical Muslim cleric Muhammad Yusuf in the north of Nigeria. The sect focused its pronouncements against apparent marginalization, poor education levels and joblessness among the youth. One editorial account says, “Late Yusuf also took advantage of the irresponsible leadership at all levels of government as unemployment, poverty and insecurity become the order of the day. And, as he pointed out such failures, citing verses of the Qur’an and the sayings of the Prophet, the youth saw him as the leader that will indeed deliver them from malevolence to the promised land”. This quick internet check on that history shows uncanny similarities including suspicion and outright dislike for government officers, the misreading and consequent mishandling by security agencies of a growing dangerous situation in a particular region of Nigeria and of course the ever present corruption at all levels of government. Sounds familiar? May be a bit too familiar, uncomfortably so!
Al shabaab may not at this moment have shown any desire to capture real estate but that also may have been said for Boko Haram in 2006. Furthermore the trend internationally set by ISIS of late, indicates a move towards acquisition of territory in which to establish a caliphate. After Kenya’s forceful takeover of al shabaab’s territory in Somalia and consequent control of it by AMISOM the group remains stranded between Kenya and regions close to our border in Somalia. They had the idea well before ISIS and we took that away from them. They now need a safe heaven and possibly new territory to govern. I started by asking a series of questions my general answer to them all is that, whether al shabaab knows it now or not the annexure of Kenyan territory is what they are about at the moment. First through psychological compulsion by threat of violence or enticement (Promised Land), later maturing into physical control of land after non locals including government employees have been expelled and locals are thus strategically overwhelmed and assimilated into an ethnic and religiously based nation.

Travel advisories: Are they all coincidental? Gen. Nkaissery said the last one was based on issues other than security, is that still the position now? If memory serves me right there were advisories against travel to Kenya or updates of them just before the Mpeketoni attack, before the Mandera attacks and before Westage also. Either way we evidently have to deal with our national security issues the terrorist seem now to strike almost at will compared to Europe where no advisories have been given and major attacks seem to have been made almost impossible. Posturing and tough talk with little improvement in the situation is embarrassing you, stop it.  Let’s begin with actually crafting a national security strategy that will guide our self protection and inspire confidence in our development partners. If effected properly that alone would remove need for anyone giving precautionary advise against our sand and sunny beaches.
More Police Officers: Police Service manpower levels are critical and at the moment we know officer numbers are less than 50% of what is recommended by UN. Yet having more officers doesn’t translate to a safer country just like having all twelve players on the football pitch is not equivalent to scoring goals or winning the match. Much more will be required including upgrading policing skills, information sharing, secured national borders, instilling an anti corruption culture, better equipment and other issues many I have discussed in my previous articles: Some quick ways of dealing with manpower deficiencies should include considered back up for the police from KDF or restructuring to civilian employment of police service administrative job roles that don’t require specific policing skills
Only four attackers: the small team was able to kill 147 victims in the campus. That would have been harder to achieve with armed trained security guards, this adversary has evolved not so for security companies hence they will probably lose more of their staff in this way if no radical changes are made to their operations. Even where there is police back up probably like at Garissa University that is mostly composed of only two armed officers. In this instance if they were present they were ineffective against the 4-6 armed attackers. Why that was is open to speculation but in a good post incident review the reasons may range from issues like deployment of inadequate number of officers for the size of facility to be guarded or exhaustion from long hours of work, indeed all caused by lack of adequate manpower at the police station. This can be remedied in a manner that does not include outright disregard for due process of law examples of this mentioned in articles highlighted above. The incident review must also establish if the said officers deployed to guard the university on that fateful day were adequately armed? For example, did they run out of bullets after the first magazine worth twenty or so rounds? Were they trained well enough to counter this sort of situation? Were they properly briefed for such an eventuality given the heightened threat status against universities? Were they specifically deployed against the terrorism threat to the campus or were they on a different assignment like protecting a cash office or required to patrol adjacent estates for general security provision instead of solely protecting the campus? Moral issues are critical to coming out on top of any live combat situation and thus this must be investigated to see if a regular officer given their current terms, conditions and organizational culture will be willing to put his life on the line where the criminal has evidently greater force. I think not but maybe that’s my bias.
Immediate Decisive Intervention: The fact no time was wasted once the incident occurred has spared us all greater horror. Our special forces seem to have gotten their act together since Westgate, although they may have taken loner to get to Garissa. If we can’t pre-position these teams in each sub county then make prior arrangements to ensure they can be brought into any action scene anywhere in the country, not more than one hour from a request being made. Pre-positioning is ideal the teams could be charged with mastering designs of every vital installation (university campuses included) and access way within their jurisdictions. They would also contribute to the alignment of all emergency response procedures for their regions thus a faster more effective counter action could be achieved. Anyway, the ideal security service should not allow us to get to the point where we need Special Forces interventions in the first place. Regular police officers need increased skills in detecting, preventing and countering this comparatively new threat in the country. As a significant part of Kenya’s frontline security they seem to be in the dark almost like sending your 5yr old child to slaughter the family bull and roast it for your visitors. If nothing is done to retrain the beat man and improve the factors required for his optimal output we will surely be courting repeated disasters, Garissa university style. That said we must commend the officers who noted the al shabaab anthem being played as a ring tone on a cell phone from one of the guard’s at the university who survived the attack. He was arrested and further investigation is unearthing details that seem to link him to the group probably as one of the inside men. I may be mistaken but if he is the one shot in the thigh it may be something to see if there are burn marks or other indications of the gun being fired close to the leg. Forensic examination may also be able to determine what weapon was used to shoot him a handgun calculated not to cause him maximum injury by breaking the leg bone or the standard weapon of use in the attack say AK47s, was the hand gun used against other victims like his two colleagues at the gate also or was it used in that one instance? Especially if it was used in the initial shootings to gain entry might there be a chance that the surviving guard now suspect shot and killed his coworkers and then open the shut gate? Residue on his hands and probably finger prints at least on the remaining rounds of the gun used may reveal that. Away from investigations the alertness and awareness on the part of police officers who detected his suspiciousness is what we require more of from the police service only this time it has come after the fact!
Operationalizing the intelligence is still a challenge: With only the little public information I can’t understand why intelligence analysts didn’t connect the dots apparently pointing at an imminent attack on Garissa University.  First despite presidential denials of the threat it is plain that universities had been warned of this possibility and many of them including USIU, Kenyatta and Nairobi universities had put out internal notices to that effect. Garissa University happens to be the only one in the entire north eastern region of the country and Garissa county has the notorious reputation of being the favorite target for most terrorist attacks in the country at around 33% of all attacks compared to Nairobi’s 22%  while the coast region has much less than that. These three facts alone point straight at an attack on the university at Garissa even if there was doubt that should have been outweighed by the non essential travel advisories of Britain and Australia that highlighted that region as a likely target. Assume intelligence wasn’t against universities only, say it included hotels and other soft targets, as vigilance is heightened nationally special focus should have been on this attack prone region more so with the capabilities from the KDF camp at Garissa available to assist the police there. So who dropped the ball if intelligence was available was it the analysts who didn’t quite identify it or was it the police operations running around the country fire fighting in Mandera, Kapedo, errant MPs etc. (I explore this phenomenon under; From Crisis to Crisis, below here) It almost seems like the foreign security agencies have one better than our own people right here at home, could this have been intelligence information coming from their sources while our own new nothing of it? I suspect, after all given the president’s confident pronunciations against the advisories a few hours before the attack his people must have told him that wasn’t true. Yes Cabinet Secretary Gen. Nkaissery confirmed that the attack caught them by surprise possibly a case of one arm seeing the real danger and sending out warnings while at the same time having serious challenges in kick starting appropriate proactive defenses from the other arms of government. Then again if not our security agencies then who is responsible for this lapse?  I don’t want to think that we went down to excessive political interference auuch!
Nyumba kumi: This neighborhood watch program will be critical going forward into a time when we are likely to see small terror cell operations from within Kenya as opposed to cross border attacks. As GoK took its time deciding what to do about border security, al shabaab have been actively recruiting, training and secretly positioning Kenyans fully aware that the sleeping giant will one day awake and make our borders impossible to cross (that day has still not come). Garissa a case in hand the attackers are said to have been talking fluently in Kiswahili as spoken locally, while the master mind, Mohamed Kuno is said to have been once a teacher in the locality, one of those who aided in attack planning probably also assisted action by turning off security lights on the fateful night was one of the campus’s private security guards. The government’s latest directive for residents in the area to report all missing persons (presumed to have crossed into Somalia for training), to the nearest police station is a start in the right direction but more must be done across the nation to ensure decision makers have a live impression of all that is happening on the ground. Nyumba Kumi has been neglected and underfunded, from a distance it seems the political and executive leadership has little time or support except for a few self motivated moves in some counties. Yet a well structured system will surely aid real time intelligence to central government and provide a channel to pass information/ knowledge for increased awareness to all parts of the country even the remotest ends. Security must be handled like a complex web of different but equally significant parts some of which must now include non-traditional items common to the profession. I have often mentioned some of those in different articles:
One of those significant parts of security that I feel deserves mention here is the implementation of Human Security programs alongside the more military or enforcement type measures. Much of this will involve de-marginalization development work by both central and county governments. These programs must focus on addressing the sensitivities of north eastern residence which make them susceptible to recruitment into groups that employ extreme violence as a means. Simple issues like issuance of national identity cards, building a secure national university campus (now thwarted) and improving relations between government security officers and the local population can turn around people’s perception to the extent that they are not only willing to cooperate with security agencies but they go on to internally developing social barriers against anyone wanting to cooperate with the enemy. In your mind’s eye see a picture of the social (cultural) barriers we have as a nation against homosexuality for example, the same can be natured against terrorism.
Kitu Kidigo: High level corruption responsible for among others; north eastern Kenya’s marginalization, nonexistent national security strategy and a neglected police service hopefully is being dealt with in the current purge of the executive and political class. At the same time we need a concerted remedy for the low level crime often touted as responsible for ease of terrorists operations moving in, out and around the country, without such a drive we remain extremely vulnerable. It is not just in the simple taking of a bribe to pass weapons or terrorists; I believe the more significant impact to the national arena will be in changing the focus and time taken by most police officers in chasing illegal gains from other perceived non lethal sources like illegal brewing of alcohol or motorist offences, and center their attention to proactively protecting the nation from this scourge and from other forms of serious crime. The two types of corruption have different enabling dynamics which must be faced strategically if any success is to be had against deeply rooted systems that are widely expected around the country. I will leave this discussion here but suffice it to say that if the government is really interested, guidance for such strategy is locally available, again, if truly desired.
Hardening soft targets: can’t be left to private interpretation see the results of that even after giving advisories of your own to universities. How would Garissa University or any other counter what befell them given the current capabilities of private security? Like tethering a goat away from the grass and then telling it that it is in imminent danger of starvation hai! So what will it do? Begin by categorizing all facilities that are accessible to general public this way you can issue standard guidelines as to the level of security that shall be accorded to each type. It is time we considered arming private security and forget this thing of providing two police officers to protect an entire university campus, it is simply ridiculous. This doesn’t even deter the terrorists or are you forgetting a year or so ago terrorists raided a church right there in Garissa which was protected by a similar complement of officers, shot and took away their guns and proceeded to shoot civilians there. See my article which is an outline of an act of parliament designed to allow the arming of private guards Moving further, Westgate, Mandera bus and quarry attacks and Garissa University were all armed attacks. Don’t get hooked on this one tactic consider every other possible options including suicide attacks and vehicle borne improvised devices (VBIED) as is evidenced by common occurrence in Somalia the home of al shabaab and also through recoveries from several police interventions made in here in Kenya. As you do that, consider the use of ANFO as a substitute to military or industrial grade explosives remember the 1995 Timothy McVeigh incident in Oklahoma the US, especially so as counter terror operations block possible importation routes. Let’s not get caught off guard again. We have already noted here that there may be some terror cells in different parts of the country just waiting to strike. To stop them the national security organs will need help from every management of a facility accessible by the general public. I propose tying licensing of business operations to assessed compliance to security requirements provided by the IG of Police, much like in civil aviation where Aviation Security requirements for private operators like airlines, ground handlers and cargo agents form a critical section towards authorization and licensing to operate in any country. See article on Iron Web Security Strategy;
Some specific measure useful for hardening soft targets across the country:
From crisis to crisis: The Cabinet Secretary and the Inspector General rushing to the scene looks good and at times may be required to assure the public of action but it also tells me the crisis management system is weak. In my mind questions of who should be in-charge at incident level and are they competent to do it come into view, what happens if you have 3 separate incidents spread across the country? Is there not a crisis management center for police operations and who then will give operational direction? that center or the CS & IG at ground zero? I have not seen the NIS Director General or General Karangi doing the same much as units under them are normally involved in the same operations. As internal security chiefs the two must remain with a view of the entire national scenario, now when in Mandera one week the next in Kapedo and before it ends in Garissa who is guiding the national strategy and coordinating national operations who is considering some of the aspects I have touched in this article could that be where the ball is falling? You must avoid management by crisis it already got many people killed in the last two years and lead to the sacking of your predecessors. In a proposal I am currently working on I suggest we realign the National Police service more functionally and as part of this process we mandate the IG under a more strategic than operational role. What the country needs is an office that will assist the police’s role which needs to be cross functional not just within the service but externally also to different security stakeholders both in government and in society in order to deliver on its mandate. The CS and IG don’t need to be counter terrorism experts, bomb detonation specialists, accomplished investigators or skilled surveillance personnel but they do need to direct overall strategy, draw out results from their counter terror people, ensure bomb experts are properly equipped and provide effective guidance to the president from proactive intelligence gotten through effective overall management of surveillance or intelligence teams. They must make sure all officers of the service have optimum training, protect their investigators from powerful detractors, administer an internationally respected witness protection system and they must also turnaround the poor police culture through a well supervised reform program. I for one, don’t want to see them fighting crime directly, that is the job of the teams they command. I need them to map out challenges to finishing crime then find and direct the implementation of solutions. When the bosses are always out in the field I doubt that is getting done well. Mr. President for all our sakes live these two to their professional roles stop having the CS read political statements, when you need that done get the chair of a parliamentary security committee to do it instead. Why? It erodes confidence in our security apparatus both nationally and internationally now the entire system looks like it does not know what it is doing; just see ‘hio’ statement from Gen. Nkaissery, that the travel advisory is based on other factors other than security! Even if it was true, “saa hii basi imemdaka mbaya!”
ICRC working hard: Is Red Cross being given some government funding? They have become the leading medical responders for these kinds of incidents in the country. If not I suggest an official grant to assist them run their operations or reimburse some of the cost they incur, let the money be put aside now and budgeted in consequent years to promote and help sustain a vital service which Kenyans who are in need get from the agency. Victim management though is still wanting in our ability to quickly trace/positively identify survivors and victim’s and connect them to their families. On this scale this is normally a challenge and if poorly handled it may further cement the enemy’s victory. Looking at the 2014 mysterious disappearance of a Malaysian air plane, poor communication and handling of victim’s families by authorities caused serious perception problems to the government which was among others accused of covering up some aspects. Again we could learn from civil aviation industry actors like Kenya Airways who have handle two major plane crushes both in foreign lands and each time have managed through a preplanned and well coordinated system to handle similar numbers and with the greater challenge of having to do it in multiple countries at the same time.

Who won? Al shabaab did. That is in this round. Witness accounts said the attackers announced they had come to kill and be killed did it happen? Yes, effectively slaughtering 147+ souls including themselves. They even pushed our president to make an illegal directive which over steps the jurisdiction of the courts. This he did by ordering the continuation of a flawed police recruitment process. No wonder the amendments to security laws 2015 allowing him to appoint the IG and deny him security of tenure! Are you still reading but are not convinced? Check your national flag then it is at half mast as a result of this attack, last I knew about it, that is not a celebratory position. If these attacks go on I see us getting to the point where we won’t be able to bear it anymore and will be forced to withdraw our troops from Somalia, then who wins? Of course these criminals will and the minute that happens be sure we will have a major terrorist group like al qaeda or ISIS or both as our neighbors and they will come back to haunt us, be sure. Will you let them win this war one cover up of government failure and one secret disjoint of national security strategy at a time? Despite very recent wins against Boko Haram the Nigerian’s didn’t let His Excellency J. Goodluck take them down that bad luck road.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Examining Police Operations

People have wish lists, prayer items, to do lists and in this season New Year resolutions.  In my list I would have loved to see a police structure change in the security amendments 2014, similar to one I described in my article:
All is not lost in my new dream line up I pray to see the following interventions in the way the National Police Service works hopefully under a mandate of Police Operations Director. Before tackling any of the selected operations it is critical for those with the ability to deal with the availability of manpower i.e. boots on the ground. Other than recruitment, devolving police functions could be another way to go. So as to enable the service to focus on critical criminal activities it may be important to consider devolving some functions like the airport, sea ports/ railway police units, VIP/ diplomatic security, bank guarding/ CIT Ops, emergency control room staff, and administrative duties carried out in police service offices’. Already there has been a positive move in this direction in the traffic department by replacing police with NYS and the county inspectorate officers. Although not an official estimate I would venture to say a third of all police officers in the service are engaged in these functions. Some of those tasks don’t strictly need police training as offered in Kiganjo e.g. emergency room personnel or administrative tasks in police stations/ offices, this will immediately free officers to handle critical security situations elsewhere. Another item that is half way off my list until is the need for a ministry with a US Homeland Security, like function. The new security amendment law has tried to bring some coordination by revitalizing the National Counter Terrorism Center among some other efforts to increase coordinated action. This is fine although it worries me if the effort only concentrates on terrorism thus living other serious crimes as witnessed in Kenya unattended to e.g. with the toxic alcoholic brew or the deadly cattle rustling in pastoral regions. Crime needs to be fought through different interventions, some as farfetched as ensuring a good education system for the kids others thro synchronization of functions in different sections of government e.g. County Commissioners’ and police. To do so effectively an office in the Interior Ministry, after all having the Coordination of Government function should be instituted take up this role.
Managing Auxiliary Security Services: A neglected area of policing is what I call auxiliary service including Nyumba Kumi, the Police Reserve, Community Policing and local County Security resources can be used in conjunction with each other and or interchangeably to achieve a set of similar desired goals. Owing to differences in lifestyle, culture or public perception each one of the three may become hampered in service delivery within different environs e.g. where homesteads are; stand alone homes hidden behind tall fences and impenetrable looking gates. It may be more useful to have a security reserve team backing up police indeed in those locales residents are mostly too busy with their own life to notice a neighbor’s suspiciousness emphasized in Nyumba Kumi. The three programs may vary in structure and operation but none may be solely effective in all societies, cultures and environments throughout the country. Yet they could be aligned to work under a single command of Auxiliary Security Services under that Police Ops Director it would indeed reduce the pressure on National Police Service operations countrywide.
I have mentioned this topic before and I found it an avoidable given our current topic.

Adopt Area Lock-Down Procedures: In the immediate after moment of a terrorist attack often the supervisors or the perpetrators if not dead already will be within a determinable radius of the scene as they try to get away, hide or direct the incident further. A review of tactics and past incidents can reveal this radius best but I’d say within a 10Km zone of any incident. The responding strategy by security services should thus quickly lock down the escaping enemy within that radius. This will have two main effects; firstly the ability to immediately stop and arrest the perpetrators and As part of police operations they should constitute a police quick response team on 24hr standby especially in the major metropolises. They would be deployed immediately on report of an attack; to clamp down, interview, search and verify all persons in the immediate area. This team can be used as a backup team but the strategy should be to activate the entire complement of officers in an affected zone, to participate in the exercise. Now that policing is going hi-tech with GoK contracting from Safaricom imagine when all officers have an electronic recording device to store and transmit the data from all the people interviewed whether arrested or not. We are talking; smart electronic comparative analysis, making associations of persons, places and incidents giving more leads and thus heightened possibilities of arresting perpetrators. Secondly this strategy also reduces the attackers’ options for available escape routes in turn limiting the choice of possible targets and makes it harder for the attack planners and strategists especially where the attacker’s get away is envisioned.
Part of locking down an area happens even before an incident as police use roadblocks to monitor the transportation routes used to ferry attackers and weapons to intended targets. Currently the police checks seem to have minimal deterrent effect, being little more than a minor inconvenience or a ‘taxation’ point depending on your passing business. The police should adopt effective practices at roadblocks by use of a ‘Continuous-Random-Search-Procedure’; this is where every local commander may choose on a random number sequence which determines which vehicle will be stopped and searched. The officers choice can be influenced by among other things his complement of available officers, need to avoid public awareness of the sequence being used, the amount of traffic at the hour, the threat level they are working under etc. For example if the commander decided to stop 1 in 5 vehicles, each fifth car will be searched this can be varied as the mentioned variables fluctuate say at rush hour the number may change to 1 in 15 cars. Nonetheless any other suspicious vehicle can still be stopped if officers detect it. Most significant to this process and different from the practice currently, each identified car should be pulled over, the occupants asked to step out of the car then searched, IDs checked and themselves questioned as necessary, the car then searched, registration numbers run electronically (as is being made possible), other normal traffic police checks can also be done together in one go, e.g. ensuring insurance validity etc. The randomness in the procedure makes it very dangerous for terrorists or fugitives and the possibility of an intensive screening being carried out will stop transportation of weapons or smuggled goods. This tactic is also effective in reducing suicide terrorism like that carried out with VBIED’s.

Border Security: this is another topic I believe is worn thin through different articles:      I recently skipped through the National Police Service Act section covering the Administration Police and found it gave clear mandate to the unit for border security. Whilst that may be the case we know then the much announced government upgrades must take cognizance of this, otherwise the country may remain vulnerable. Major points under this subtitle though should include possibility of erecting an effective barrier to stop easy movement of terror activities in and out past a +800KM border. Off course in doing so the challenges are immense, but not insurmountable, cost will be a factor, ability to monitor the fence or wall once erected another issue. A virtual fence is my best bet, it is cost effective and easier to manage, by using a combination of various technologies including ground radars, seismic sensors and physical barriers especially near border towns.  This virtual fence can then be managed by investing in a chain of well spaced forts along the border from which fixed surveillance, patrols and response forces can be launched. The forts must have sizable Border Control and Defense Teams. The size can be easily determined based on history of enemy encounters and requirements for effective patrolling and defense of the borderline etc. Additional duties for such a section could include: to undertake customs and immigration process for all consignments and people coming into the country through their assigned section. The joint border security unit must actuate the amendments in the security laws by regulating persons moving out to other territories to ensure we prevent export of our youth to terrorist training camps or stop the country being abused by acting as a transit point for people from around the globe going to join the al shabaab jihad. I imagine surveillance by use of Unmanned Ariel Vehicles (drones) whether borrowed or our own would be helped at these stations. This way movement in or out of the country becomes extremely difficult for terrorists, their recruits, weapons and all other smugglers and criminals who have heather to hand free reign. Finally I must mention my disappointment not to see a buffer zone created in the new laws, say 10KM on the Kenya side and with bilateral agreement with Somalia a similar zone on their side, quickly giving a 20KM clear zone which would make surveillance that much easier. KDF supported by friendly Somalian militias must also evolve a clearance operation to ensure that the buffer zone actually exists on the Somali side. KDFs work here weather supported by AMISOM or not given recent Mandera attacks, is clearly very important for our national security.
Use Intelligence Led Operations: a joint intelligence analysis management office [a National Data Fusion Center] including NIS, MI, Police, different experts or government officers and other exchange officers from the region is a critical focal point for effective operations. The National Counter Terrorism Center [NCTC] recently enacted in law may be serving in this capacity. The center must be able to provide real time operational intelligence to officers on ground and also give strategic support to other programs in crime control. At County level satellite fusion centers should also be set up. These are not district security or intelligence committees as they exist headed by the county commissioners. Instead they should be operational centers used to coordinate preemptive security operations. The scope of work should be expanded to provide intelligence support to all county anti criminal operations and not limited to terrorism. This way we can expect to see smarter policing through measures like mapping of crime timings and hotspots, better analysis of modus operandi, early identification and tracking of perpetrators, precise anticipation in incident cycles and increased preemptive security interventions. Finally this operation must be able to tackle crime and then precisely identify its causes in order to assist strategists, develop the most appropriate remedial approaches.
Often the best armor is the promise of severe retaliation in the face of terrorism or wild gun touting tribes’ men who now have felled close to a hundred police officers in cold blood in short succession. This can be done by striking at training facilities, supply lines & leadership in pre-emptive hits. A history of expected severe retaliation from our security agencies, in the event of an attack on national interests is a formidable opponent. Critical to this tactic is being able to hit the right and I emphasize the involved targets and to do it in the hit of the moment and not days later. I am sure this last statement will provide enough controversy, yet in the argument it must not be lost that some of the modern day organized crimes we witness like terrorism, has challenged the basic presumptions in our legal system. This tactic will increase the dissuasive effect for any would be terror gangs. The only way I see to undertake such an operation successfully is to ensure the intelligence supplied is on the mark, high quality and does not have to be developed almost in its entirety post incident, “Kazi kwenyu NCTC!”
National Threat Analysis and Risk Management: The likelihood of an attack being carried out called threat will always exist, our exposure to that threat we call risk, which varies based on the counter measures in place. A valid threat assessment can be best achieved by instituting a systematic and continual process of intelligence collection and evaluation as hopefully purported by the revitalizing of the NCTC. As such the Security Council or the Ministry of Interior & Coordination of National Government should develop a mechanism for effective risk management after a threat has been assessed. In short it’s no good to know we will get hit at a certain point if we cannot mitigate it effectively. Timely and effective implementation of counter measures is what eventually protects us central to this necessity then is the need for a proper means to communicate to operational units the prerequisites per time, needed to secure citizens. Effective security measures and procedures are made to be flexible and implemented in proportion to the threat assessed, which in turn may fluctuate given various changing factors. Some of these factor will include the type and magnitude of attack or its location compared to that of response measures being brought into play etc Whenever a specific threat exists, selected and predetermined preventive security measures such as some of those we have discussed here should be applied depending upon the nature of the threat. The National Security Council will have to analyze the vulnerabilities in the country in relation to the given threat assessment and initiate the appropriate set of additional security measures to be implemented for each elevated threat level. E.g. at the police roadblock mentioned above, a factor that informs the sequence of vehicles searched would be the threat level. For the measure to become effective countrywide or even in a single county each predetermined threat level must have a similarly predetermined minimum required response. E.g. at the Threat Level which officials have routinely called RED, the police commander at the road side may be under instruction to search not less than 1 in 2 cars passing by. This in turn places a demand on his deployment officer to give the commander sufficient manpower to carry out this duty as prescribed and thus occasioning uniform effective measures region wide. In my dreams for the future I see the system extended to an appropriate public advisory mechanism in support of police operations.  
Talking of dreams, a lot of the areas we have touched on are supposed on the premise of appropriate officer training both in the police and the other auxiliary security operations like the County Inspectorate who could be upgraded to county or metro, police departments. Highest performance levels in security service delivery will also require a quality management process that is able not only to monitor compliance to standards in the various tasks undertaken but will provide continuous solutions for prompt rectification of lapses noted.
I pray the new IG of Police like me will expect a future where the National Police Service will participate in global or even regional accreditation exercises and score sufficiently to attain the world class credential that is intended in the Police Service’s Vision. In the US for example, there exists an agency known as The Commission for Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies [CALEA], through it participating police departments can receive independent recognizable accreditation on their professionalism. My dream is to see us participate in stuff like that, and for the service in the spirit of regional integration to develop an East African chapter of the same. Imagine the confidence in the workings of police operations that would bring to citizens and internationally. It’s about time it came to be for a nation that wants to attract foreign investment and tourists, don’t you think? For me this is the only way my dream will end well.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

To Amend or Not the Security Laws – 2014 Bill

Having gone through the proposed amendments to our security laws the below is my specific assessment and contribution.
In general these are good amendments proposed for the laws and are definitely the right step towards fighting terrorism and other organized crimes. Obviously the law alone is insufficient to deal with the phenomenon of extremist violent radicalization, in itself a departure from commonly held norms. Further still laws alone cannot protect a nation from impunity or abuse of office and power through the security machinery. Conscientious leadership, democratic values and respect for the purpose and role of security agencies by our leadership will always guarantee it. How that can be achieved for posterity is outside the purview of this document yet it should be pursued by all with similarity of urgency and intensity as these security laws have been worked on. 
In passing these amendments all adherences to the constitution and laws of the land, itself a significant requirement in an effective anti terrorism strategy must be followed. As we legislate, let us not forget Kenyan history and the reasons why we made the laws we now wish to amend. In order to protect those concerns it may be better in some aspects to find strategic, technical or operational means within the security mechanism to move on. As a measure of this same spirit we could evaluate if some currently desired changes if not made actually have the potential to deny us the victory in the war on terror or if protecting/ preserving, previously hard fought for rights may be more advantageous for posterity.
That having been said, I should mention here that it is very apparent to me that a security agency with completely bound hands is and shall remain an impotent one. To that end I am glad that in my assessment of the proposed security law only 07/109 clauses – 7.6% would need to be deleted from the list.
Suggestions for Amendment to the Bill

Amendment Section 32 - Evidence Act Cap 80
Section 20A (2) & (5) - Require a 2 day notification of objection to prosecutor prior to being tendered in evidence. A period sufficient to scrutinize the same documents not less than 3days should be required for production of the documents to concerned parties so they have ample time to go through and launch any objection they may have.
Amendment Section 39 - Prisons Act Cap 70
Insertion of new section 70A - include in details to be recorded by the Commissioner after (g) & before (f); “the record of prisons, specific cell numbers and commensurate dates where the suspect has been held”. Which is critical data declaring specific location and period for those held will be needed in an investigation and should not be left to chance.
Amendment Section 17A - KAA Act Cap 395
Establishment of Inter- Agency Security Advisory Committee – potential for conflict with the National Civil Aviation Security Committee indeed the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority Act Section 3B – Functions of the Authority Section 1: (f) the coordination and direction of search and rescue services; (g) the provision of services and facilities in relation to the investigation of aircraft accidents and incidents; (i) dealing with incidents of unlawful interference with aviation security. Section 3 No.(6) In the discharge of its responsibility for aviation safety and security the Authority shall coordinate its activities with other agencies of the Government, including the Kenya Ports Authority, the Department of Defence and the Police. The Civil Aviation Regulations 2013 Part 3 section 10 on National Civil Aviation Security Committee (a) & (b) see especially B 3) Without limiting the generality of sub regulation (2) the Minister shall, in appointing members of the National Civil Aviation Security Committee, ensure that it comprises one member from each of the following departments, agencies or organizations— (a) the Authority; (b) the Chairperson of the National Air Transport Facilitation Committee; (c) the airport authority; (d) the ministry responsible for security or internal affairs; (e) intelligence organizations;
Amendment Section 59 - NIS Act CAP 28
Section 2 (b) in the definition of preventive intelligence include after important personalities or any other matters of national interest
Amendment Section 62 - NIS Act Cap 28
6A. (1) An officer of the Service may stop and detain any person whom the officer— Allow powers to arrest but require the NIS to detain in an authorized police station & notify the OCS/ OCPD of the same and to produce the suspect before court in accordance to the laid down Criminal Procedure Code laws. Furthermore these powers can be limited to specific cases including organized transnational crime like terrorism & drug trafficking only. This amendment seems to have been proposed to deal with breeches of intelligence operations emanating from possible National Police Service Officers who may have leaked information to suspects. If so, measures to promptly prosecute them, internal investigations and counter espionage operations should deal with such occurrences in near term while organization wide culture change/ reform program can be pursued in a 3-5 year plan. Rather than pass the amendment as proposed, one reason to pursue these technical and operational steps is that those who have previously colluded with the police in the past, probably on a corrupt basis, will only change their client to the NIS after the law is changed so that in effect the demand follows the supply and the status remains the same.
NIS act has proposed greater empowerment of the service without providing for commensurate increase in oversight, being that all the work they do is on behalf of the citizens. A prosecution process for intelligence officers who commit crimes should be placed in the mainstream court system. Although the process must then take cognizance of the need for appropriate facilitation when it comes to hearings involving national security matters where disclosure of material would be damaging to the public interest. Central to this is introduction of legislation to make the mechanism known as closed material procedures part of that processes such a system will advance greater public trust and a more ethically run institution. To the end that Kenyans will bear higher confidence in the workings of the agency;

Amendment Section 73 - Prevention of Terrorism Act Failure to prevent entry of weapons -  12C (1) Any person, who, being in charge of any place of worship institution or public place within which illegal weapons are recovered, shall be deemed to be in possession of such weapons and shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding twenty years. (2) It shall be a defense if the person referred to in subsection (1) shows that he had no control over the entry of the weapons in the place of worship institution or public place or he took appropriate step to prevent into the place of worship, institution or public place. – insert a close to allow the Cabinet Secretary authority to list what the appropriate steps are to leave no room for contention or wider interpretation. Example appropriate measures could include ensuring suitable (specified) training and general awareness programs/ announcements for staff and for all users of the facility, appointment of certain officials to ensure security of the premises, regular search of premises, locking of rooms, facilities that could be used to conceal weapons etc
Amendment Section 75 - Prevention of Terrorism Act Cap No. 30 of 2012
Prohibition from broadcasting 30F (2) A person who publishes or broadcasts photographs of victims of a terrorist attack without the consent of the National Police Service and of the victim commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment for a period not exceed three years or to a fine of five million shillings, or both – Insert; after photographs, “ that visually identify an individual”,  so as to achieve the desired effect in controlling traumatic exposure of personal identities through regular media reporting but at the same time avoid what appears to amount to gagging the media.
Amendment Section Part - VI: Mechanism for coordinating counter-terrorism measures: in addition to establishment of NCTC it is critical to consider establishment of County Data Fusion Centers to be used as intelligence focal points manned by all agencies in the fight against crime including terror which often feeds off other illegal activities such poaching, drugs & small arms trafficking etc  these centers working at county level would be used to better facilitate intelligence led policing which in turn will feed into NCTC, NIS & NPS overall mandates.
Establishment in law of a congruent border security unit involving immigration, customs and excise, NIS, administration police or other relevant security agencies should be a significant inclusion in so much as that terror resources are being imported into the country while supplies and fresh recruits go through the very same borders only to return later to attack among other places the border towns as recent incidents in Mandera & Garissa have shown.
Establishment of a Homeland Security Authority/ ministry that works on a day to day basis to plan, develop, manage, regulate and direct an efficient comprehensive national strategy for all security and non security activities geared towards finishing terrorism and other transnational organized crimes should be a priority and should have informed these amendments even if a separate act of law will be required to establish it. That establishment of such an authority should have come first and the amendments after that to avoid double work and confusion in the running of internal security matters.

Contentious Amendments:
Public Order Act Cap 56
Amendment Section 4 - New Section in Public Order Act Cap 56 - 5A The Cabinet Secretary may by notice in the Gazette designate the areas where, and times at which public meetings, gatherings or public processions may be held. Curtails/ challenges freedoms declared in the Constitution of Kenya Chapter Four––The Bill of Rights No. 37; Every person has the right, peaceably and unarmed, to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket, and to present petitions to public authorities.

Amendment Section 5 - Section 6 of the Public Order Act is amended— (a) by inserting the following subsections immediately after subsection (1)— (1A) Any person who unlawfully convenes, organizes or promotes a public rally, meeting or procession or neglects or refuses to comply with any law relating to public meetings commits an offence. – Supporting curtailing above mentioned freedoms

Penal Code Cap 63
Amendment Section 15 - Inserted Section 66A, A person who publishes or causes to be published or distributed obscene, gory or offensive material which is likely to cause fear and alarm to the general public or disturb public peace is guilty of a felony and is liable, upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding one million shillings or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both, or, where the offence is committed by a media enterprise, to a fine not exceeding five million shillings. – risks curtailing freedom of press/ has no measure to determine content thus open to abuse

NPS Act Cap of 2011
Amendment Section 97/98/99/100 - (Section 12) of the National Police Service Act is amended by— (a) Deleting subsection (2) and substituting therefore the following subsection— (2) The President shall, within fourteen days after a vacancy occurs in the office of the Inspector-General, nominate a person for appointment as an Inspector-General and submit the name of the nominee to the National Assembly. (b) Deleting subsections (3), (4), (5), and (6). (Section 15) of the National Police Service Act is amended by deleting subsections (2), (4), (5), (6), (7) and (8).  (Section 17) of the National Police Act is amended by deleting subsections (2), (3), (4), (5) and (6) – (Section 29) of the National Police Service
Act is amended by deleting subsections (2) and (3).These changes do not affect the war against terror if anything it leaves the office prone to abuses similar to those witnessed historically in the misuse of police by the political class. It is a clear move to de-professionalize the service.

Example of Numerous ‘Acceptable’ Sections
The Majority of 109 clauses in the amendment act are good these parts selected here are just examples;

Cap 56
- The increase in penalties e.g. from 1k to 10k or 100k from 3months to 2years
- Corrections of titles Commissioner to IGP Minister to CS Province to County etc
Cap 63
-                                -   Insertion of new section 128A - Offences by public officers
-                                -   Insertion of new section 251A - Insulting modesty by intruding privacy or stripping
Cap 75
-                  -  Insertion of section 36A - Remand by court – giving lee way for terror investigations yet maintaining judicial supervision of the curtailment of individual freedom

Other articles of interest:
Ø  My Top 10 Things in the 1st Month for the New Security Chiefs:
Ø  What specific role do you have, when it comes to national security?
Ø  Addressing Current Public Dissatisfaction in Policing:
Ø  Suggestions in Realignment in Administration Police Functions

Date: 14/12/2014         

Sincerely Yours

Bernard M. Makau
Managing Partner
Winnerman Consult & Training Ltd.
                                                                                      cell: 0722645053,

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