Monday, May 5, 2014

#SomeonetellKenyans to stop aiding Al-Shabaab by turning on each other

Four people lost their lives after an explosion in  Mombasa central business district that also ripped apart a Chania Travellers bus, shattering windows and mangling metal. The bus usually plies the Thika-Mombasa-Malindi route. The blast also affected the rear section of another bus that was parked nearby. PHOTO/LABAN WALLOGA

Four people lost their lives after an explosion in the Mombasa central business district that ripped apart a Chania Travellers bus, shattering windows and mangling metal. The bus usually plies the Thika-Mombasa-Malindi route. The blast also affected the rear section of another bus that was parked nearby. PHOTO/LABAN WALLOGA/NATION 

By MACHARIA GAITHO
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Kenya is at war. If anyone is in doubt, the twin bomb attacks in Nairobi and Mombasa should serve to disabuse us of any notion that we are safe and secure.

One factor we have to contend with is that the kind of war we face is not restricted to the men and women bearings arms on some frontline, but all of us going about our mundane daily routines.

The soldier facing the enemy knows very well the threat he confronts and the terrain and environment in which he operates.

Now the rest of us have been put in an even more dangerous situation where unseen, unknown foes within are out to violently disrupt normal human intercourse.

We are not part of the Kenya Defence Force troops taking the battle to Al-Shabaab terrorists in Somalia, but all of us face even more mortal danger on the streets, clubs, shopping malls, bars, churches, and wherever else we may congregate, commute or commune.

This is a beast we must confront as a united nation with one resolve. The moment we show fear and division and start finger-pointing and recriminations, the enemy wins.

As a regular on social network, I am proud Kenyans are already world champions at waging war on Twitter. Kenyan on Twitter, #KOT, will wage vicious, and humorous battles on the #someonetell... — it could be south Africa, Tanzania, the United States or any other country that gets on the wrong side of our hashtag, but when Al-Shabaab atrocities make us turn the barrels inwards, we are definitely on the wrong foot.

#someonetelluhurukenyatta may be well meaning, and does raise serious and legitimate questions about President Kenyatta’s handling of the security docket in the face of mounting terrorist attacks.

However, too many of the comments will sound like sweet music to the ears of Al-Shabaab, for they betray a frightened, terrified nation that is starting to turn on itself.

Right now what Kenyans need most in the face of terrorist provocation is the unity of purpose necessary for a sustained and ruthless battle against the terrorists — both across the border in Somalia, and their local cells that must be isolated, cut off, neutralised and subjected to the only punishment suitable for treasonous traitors.

WHAT IS THE OPPOSITION THINKING?

Any indications of panic and infighting will only embolden the terrorists and show them that they are winning.

A classic terrorist strategy is to spread panic and division, and that is what we must not allow.

We all have the right to question the Jubilee government’s handling of the security sector in the face of the current threats.

We also have our political divisions that will not be subjugated to external factors. However, we don’t have to raise those questions as a way of scoring cheap political points.

Demanding that Kenyan troops pull out of Somalia, for instance, will hugely please Al-Shabaab because we are just echoing what they claim to be fighting for.

One must wonder what the official Opposition, which was part of the decision to launch Operation Linda Nchi, is thinking when it appears to parrot Al-Shabaab demands.

No war was ever won by capitulation, and, in any case, there is no evidence that pulling out of the regional military effort to secure Somalia from terrorists will make them stop their attacks on Kenya.

We must also stop other petty and foolish political sideshows.

I have already seen on Twitter and Facebook the Jubilee social media army coming out with claims that the terrorist attacks have been launched by the opposition Cord alliance to destabilise the Uhuru Kenyatta-William Ruto administration.

I don’t suppose it will be long before the Cord warriors start their own threads proposing that the murderous attacks are all part of a Jubilee strategy to rally the country round the government.

We have serious security problems. We have reason to be scared and angry, but let us make our proposals and ask our questions in ways that do not serve the aims and purpose of the terrorists.

The greatest test of a nation is unity in the face of adversity.

mgaitho@ke.nationmedia.com Twitter: @MachariaGaitho

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