Westgate restoration team hands over report

March 3, 2014
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Kandie stated the commitment of the government to implement the recommendations in the report/FILE
Kandie stated the commitment of the government to implement the recommendations in the report/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, March 3 – The Committee on the Rapid Restoration of Westgate has recommended that the Government should step up security measures and have visible presence in public facilities to restore Kenyans confidence.

Speaking during the handing over of the committee’s report to East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie, Chairman Evans Kidero further pointed out that advisory information on threats of attack should be relayed to the directors or managers of shopping malls or public facilities as soon as such information is verified.

He further indicated that a suitable curriculum should be developed on training in emergency and security response for public institutions, shopping malls and crowded places.

“The Government should step up security measures and have visible presence in public facilitates to restore confidence. It should also ensure that Westgate Businesses are restored immediately and to assist in topping up where there was no insurance for restoration as recommended by the parliamentary joint committee and this committee,” he said during the handover.

On her part, Kandie stated the commitment of the government to implement the recommendations in the report.

“I am aware that you have received public views, memorandum and interviewed business owners and the victims of the unfortunate attack. The restoration of the business at the mall and the building of public confidence in the shopping culture in this country are critical for the restoration of normalcy and the growth of the retail sector,” she said.

She stressed the need to make the business environment secure especially for investors.

“I am positive that your recommendations contain lessons on security for all the stakeholders and Kenyans in general and that it will go a long way in helping secure the business environment. The restoration of the Westgate mall is an important part of our recovery as a country. It is not an easy process but it is necessary that we must make this journey,” she said.

Even as the Committee on the Rapid Restoration of Westgate made public its report, another one by the joint House Administration, National Security and Defence and Foreign Relations committees could also come up for debate this week.

A judicial commission of inquiry promised by President Uhuru Kenyatta seems to have been shelved in preference for the parliamentary investigation.

The 74-page report by MPs answers some of the questions about the terror attack, one of the worst in Kenya’s history, but steers clear of the security politics and failures surrounding the attack and the many disturbing inconsistencies around the military rescue operation.

All the four terrorists were killed during confrontation with the security forces. Their body parts, weapons and personal effects were recovered from the scene of attack.

The Nakumatt supermarket upper parking bay, which was heavily damaged, will undergo construction while other sections will only be refurbished before businesses are allowed back.

The building was apparently damaged, and whole sections collapsed, as the military confronted the attackers, in a battle said to have lasted four days and leaked CCTV footage showed four attackers armed with AK 47 rifles and carrying ammunition pouches.

Most parts of the building, the restoration committee found out, were stable and had only been peppered with bullet holes and required only repairs, according to the report.

The 16-member committee, which was chaired by Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero, had also considered all the views given by the public.

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