, NAIROBI, Kenya, July 3 – The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) Chairman Mzalendo Kibunjia is urging President Mwai Kibaki to speedily appoint a Minister for Internal Security.
Kibunjia said a substantive replacement to Prof George Saitoti who died in a helicopter crash last month is crucial as Kenya tightens security to avert terrorist attacks.
He said that this will also reassure Kenyans and give them confidence in the government.
“We have one minister holding two important portfolios when as a country we are in a crisis. We have a war in Somalia, the minister in charge of the war is also the one handling the internal ministry,” he said, referring to Yussuf Haji, the Defence Minister who is currently doubling up as acting Internal Security Minister.
“We really need to have a full time minister of internal security,” Kibunjia insisted.
He was speaking at a forum to discuss a report focusing on conflict in the 47 counties across Kenya.
“Our society is what we call organic. The most important thing is to ensure that there are always structures and institutions that people have confidence in. That can resolve conflicts when they occur,” he pointed out.
President Mwai Kibaki appointed Defense Minister Yussuf Mohamed Haji as the acting Minister for Provincial Administration and Internal Security.
The position fell vacant following the demise of George Saitoti in a helicopter crash together with his deputy Orwa Ojode and four others.
Haji had been working closely with the late Saitoti in Kenya’s military operation in southern Somalia.
Kenyan troops were officially integrated into the African Union’s peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM), with Haji signing an agreement at AU headquarters in Addis Ababa.
Kenyan tanks and troops rolled into Somalia in October following a series of kidnappings and attacks on Kenyan soil believed to have been carried out by Shabaab insurgents linked to Al-Qaeda.
In December, the AU said it backed the integration of Kenyan troops into its peacekeeping mission.
The Kenyan military and the police have been working jointly to ensure security of Kenyans and visitors in the country following a series of bomb and grenade reprisal attacks claimed by the Somali militias, Al Shabaab.