It is with great intrigue that I read an opinion by one Paras Shah from the legal sphere published on Nation.co.ke last month titled, ‘To defeat terrorism, eliminate corruption first’. Mr Shah writes a great article which makes us think about the state of affairs within Kenya.
The attack last month shook this nation to its core. Several innocent lives were lost, injured and many witnessed sights heinous enough to possibly haunt them till the end of their days.
It is understandable and apparent that people are frustrated and left feeling helpless, but when a supposedly leading legal mind, one which I imagine has had years of analytical training, goes on a public rant pointing fingers at the government, its officials and certain “tenderpreneurs”, it is simply irresponsible.
I couldn’t agree more on the issue of corruption that is highlighted, it is a cancer not just in our society but in all nations in some way, shape or form. However, it is a gross injustice to the country to blame its leadership, its people and its government.
Blaming corruption scandals from the post-independence era is an easy scapegoat for anything and everything that goes wrong in our country. When we have nothing to discuss, we discuss the corruption scandals which the media has been too generous in its exposure of.
Targeting corruption as the reason for why heinous and despicable acts of terrorism occur is, in my view, irrational.
Mr Shah is under the impression that these attacks would not have occurred had we had a more advanced passport and forensic identification system. Are we to believe that first world countries like France, Spain and the United Kingdom are not equipped with state of the art passport systems and CID forensic equipment systems?
Did their so called “tenderpreneurs” also allegedly fail to do what they were paid to do? Despite having systems far more advanced than that of our country, if you do your research, you will find that Europe faced more than 200 terror attacks in 2017 alone. Let’s not be naive enough to even consider such ridiculous statements.
Blaming the country for these acts of terrorism only empowers terrorists who want to see us turn against one another. Blaming the country for these cowardly acts only allows the west to once again point fingers at us on matters related to corruption.
Paras’ piece on terrorism only gives power to those who have committed the crimes.
Our society should not be blamed for the way in which a criminal’s mind works. In times of adversity, Kenyans have been known to come together as a united force.
Mr Shah, your opinion piece lacks a spirit of patriotism at a time when we all need to be displaying a united front. If you want to learn about patriotism, I would suggest that you watch the recent Sky News interview of Siddharth Chatterjee, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Kenya.
We are all too busy blaming corruption scandals but why don’t we address the “white elephant” in the room? What about the serious security lapses at 14 Riverside Drive and DusitD2 Hotel? Some colossal security and protocol breaches occurred during that fateful Tuesday afternoon last week.
We should not be talking about post-independence scandals but post-Westgate occurrences. If anything, public establishments and real estate developments should have increased their security spend and not be cutting corners to save money.
Venues such as 14 Riverside Drive should have been especially vigilant knowing that they house foreign companies and guests, therefore being prime targets for terrorism. The owners of such developments need to be questioned on their investment into security and their grounds for gross negligence need to be determined.
Skimping on security in this age of terrorism borders on criminality.
Whilst it is easy to absolve ourselves by blaming corrupt politicians for everything, all Kenyans must introspect on how we all contribute to the menace of corruption.
High profile lawyers who enable corrupt politicians to park their ill-gotten gains through complex property transactions cannot absolve themselves through activism, juvenile name calling and finger pointing.
The businessmen who evade tax by accepting cash or by transferring funds overseas are ensuring that the government has to decide which security items to cut because the tax revenue is insufficient are as much to blame.
The thousands of Kenyans who regularly pay small bribes to policemen absolve themselves as being a part of the corruption problem by saying they had no choice, but fail to realise that they contribute to the culture of corruption.
A country gets the government it deserves and we must realise that our politicians are corrupt because we are corrupt. They are no different to us. They come from us. They are us.
Not unlike yours, Mr Shah, this is merely my humble opinion.
Mr Ikidi is a political commentator.