Fight terror, not traders

Monday January 7 2013

The conduct of the crackdown in Nairobi’s Eastleigh estate is raising hackles among members of the Somali community, and has even elicited a curious protest from the man in charge of Internal Security, Mr Yusuf Haji, who seems to have little idea who authorised the operation in the first place.

Indeed, Mr Haji, his Cabinet colleague, Mohammed Elmi, and two other MPs, are appalled at the discriminatory nature of the operation which exclusively appears to target people of Somali extraction.

According to the minister, the security forces are engaging in corruption, exacting huge sums from people they arrest. Should this be the case, then police boss David Kimaiyo must act fast to ensure the human rights of the residents are not abused.

But at the same time, it is difficult to see how the government is supposed to reduce acts of terror in the estate. While we cannot condone police excesses, it is clear that the spate of grenade attacks must be halted.

It is all very well for the ministers to threaten to quit, but that won’t stop terror attacks or tame renegade police. They should come up with better ideas on how to restore security countrywide.