BY ADEN DUALE AND KITHURE KINDIKI
There are no doubts among Kenyans that the twin problem of crime and terrorism has become a major challenge to the country
But Kenyans of goodwill are agreed that the difficulties in the fight against crime are systemic; they are the results of low funding, poor working conditions for the police, lack of adequate transport and lack of technology and general lethargy among security officers – problems that accumulated in the previous years because the country did not invest adequate resources in the security sector.
These are the challenges that the Jubilee administration identified as soon as it came to power a year ago. The new government quickly realised that the battle couldn’t be won until these challenges are tackled.
And this is what the Jubilee Administration has been tackling. As a long-term solution to the crime-terrorism menace, funding for the police has been scaled up and procurement of all security equipment streamlined.
Last year for example, the President and Deputy President reduced the budget for buying guns from Sh20 billion to Sh2 billion, saving a whooping Sh18 billion for other security needs.
Instead of buying vehicles, often done at double the market price, the government opted to lease 1,200 vehicles, which are being used to monitor and contain crime across the counties.
Police will, for the first time in Kenya’s history, be insured against the vagaries and hazards of their job.
Budget-wise the Jubilee government has allocated Sh67 billion to security in the next fiscal year.
These are long term measures to address the historical problems that have be-devilled the security sector over the years of previous administrations and the Jubilee Government must be appreciated for seeking to tackle and seek permanent solutions to this problem.
But while doing this and awaiting the outcomes, the government is not lost to the fact that the country continues to face major security threats from organized criminal groups like the Al-Shabaab, a rag-tag militia whose elements are running away from Somalia where our KDF forces have beset them, and cross our borders.
The expansive and porous Mandera and Coast regions have become entry points for Al Shabaab where they are assisted by lax and corrupt government officials to look the other way after taking bribes.
The Jubilee Government, from the highest office of the Presidency has sent a clear message that, it will not be business as usual for careless and corrupt civil servants – they will face the sack without mercy for putting the lives of Kenyans at risk.
But this is not all. The government is increasing border surveillance especially in the North-Eastern Kenya region.
The government has also sent a tough message of action to all citizens and businessmen in the vast North-Eastern region who hide Somali refugees in their homes that they will be prosecuted for criminal offences.
According to the government and all regulations of refugee management, all such aliens must be registered and remain in designated camps. Other Somali refugees who do not face any actual threats in their original homes should be repatriated back home in line with international protocols.
This is why people of goodwill should appreciate the government efforts in mapping all refugees who are not in the camps and vetting all those suspected to be in the country illegally.