NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 1 – Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga says there is need to impose strict penalties for public officers who sell Kenyan identity cards and passports to aliens.
He said their corruption was tantamount to treason as they sold out their fellow citizens for a quick, and many times negligible, profit.
“We have to change the way we secure our borders. Not just our border with Somalia but with all our neighbours. Business as usual will not do. This attack must lead to change in how we issue our country’s identification documents,” he urged.
Digitisation of immigration records and access to international terrorist databases, he said, would also help in keeping suspected terrorists out of the country.
The former Prime Minister was also adamant that in-depth background checks need to be carried out before foreigners are permitted to even rent property in the country; requirements he said the Westgate terror attack proved were lax.
“We must intensify and change the rules governing background checks on people seeking to buy property or those who seek to rent business and residential premises,” he said.
He also called for greater co-operation between the world’s intelligence gathering organs recalling the age-old adage that there is strength in unity, “This is the time to show how united the world is against terrorists.”
The travel advisory issued by the United States of America, he said, would do nothing in the fight against terror except lead the antagonists into thinking they crippled Kenya’s economy.
“Doing so is to hurt the victim. We are the victims and it’s in these times that we get to know who our friends are because a friend in need is a friend in deed,” he pointed out.
But even as he expressed his solidarity with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government on matters national security, he was insistent that serious questions needed answering now that the siege was over.
“When your homestead is attacked you stick together to fight off the attacker but once things calm down it’s important to establish who slacked in their duty to keep guard,” he advised before President Kenyatta announced that a Commission of Inquiry would be set up to identify where the weaknesses lie in the security chain of command.
Odinga was speaking at an inter-denominational prayer gathering he attended together with President Kenyatta on Tuesday morning in honour of the 67 who lost their lives and the many others who were injured in the September 21 Westgate terror attack.