NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 9 – The Centre for Multi-Party Democracy now says individuals and institutions who received intelligence briefs on impending attacks in the country and disregarded them must take full responsibility for the Garissa University attack which claimed the lives of 142 students.
Chairman Omingo Magara said if the intelligence had been considered, the loss of lives could have been minimized, or even averted.
“Indeed if this information was available both locally and from international partners somebody must take responsibility for the laxity in terms of consumption of the information that was available to them. All of us must focus on that person. We must consume intelligence information, you can’t rubbish it,” said Magara.
He also shared the concerns of many Kenyans over the slow manner in which security officers responded to the attack which Interior and National Co-ordination Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery said caught them ‘by surprise’.
“We take great exception on the speed, coordination, effectiveness and promptness of action displayed by those entrusted to protect us. It is regrettable that after the incident took place, the people trained to quell the kind of insurgence were arriving at the site way beyond the hours… we cannot reverse the events that happened, but we must learn from the past and act decisively,” he said.
He pointed out that if there was a spontaneous reaction to ensure the Recce squad was there early, many lives would have been saved.
“The consumers of information, the script providers and decision making chain is too lengthy to the extent that you must wait for some people to get together to make a decision to save a life. We must be able to be proactive; the rapid response unit is too slow. This is a domestic problem and that is why we must look within,” posed Magara.
He said the government should not wait until more lives are lost for them to initiate action further questioning why leaders from Northern Kenya kept mum about the reported Al Shabaab sympathisers until the Garissa incident.
But even as he pointed an accusing finger at ‘individuals’ he believed withheld crucial information, Magara said Kenyans should heal from the tragedy and resolve to fight terrorism.
“If the drops of blood in Garissa will be the culmination of such insurgencies, all of us must stop the blame game, focus as a nation, hold each other’s hands and be able to grow this country. The enemy is trying to divide us along religious lines, we should not allow this… politicizing our police forces is losing the point, we should stay away from that,” he posed.
Magara also urged the leadership of Northeastern Kenya to make public the names of Al Shabaab sympathisers further questioning why the names were not released earlier.
He said specialized institutions should be put in place to investigate terrorism activities to prevent future attacks.
“We should even decentralize the equivalent of the Recee squad into counties where there are possibilities of insurgencies,” stated Magara.
He said the Sh20 billion allocated to the National Intelligence Service should be put to good use because it was the taxpayers’ hard earned money.
On the directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta to 10,000 recruits to report to their training institutions despite their recruitment process being challenged with the matter already in court, Magara said the law should be followed stating that the statement by the President was ‘unintentional’.
“Sometimes with emotions things can be said… I am sure Githu Muigai (AG) is reading the law and understands it,” he added.
He urged the Attorney General to properly advice the President to ensure he does not flout the law.
He also stated that lecturers, teachers and workers from other regions should not leave Northern Kenya saying if they did, it would show cowardice hence making the terrorists appear as winners.
The Centre for Multiparty Democracy comprises 29 political parties which have come together to promote good governance, transparency, accountability within the parties and ensure resources are put to proper use.