Parliament’s two chambers Tuesday closed ranks in calling for an overhaul of the security docket leadership to stem the wave of insecurity in the country.
Members of the National Assembly and senators from both sides of the political divide were unequivocal in their calls to President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto to act fast before matters get out of hand.
Both Houses adjourned their normal sittings to discuss the security situation in the wake of Saturday’s attack in Mandera, in which Al-Shabaab gunmen shot dead 28 travellers heading to Nairobi.
“We can no longer beat about the bush. We have told the President privately and we are speaking publicly that the security agents have failed us,” said Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator, Mr Kipchumba Murkomen.
Mr Murkomen wondered why Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku and Inspector-General of Police David Kimaiyo were still in office when in the US, a top security chief was sent home over mere disagreements on foreign policy.
Mandera Senator Billow Kerrow, who moved the motion of adjournment to discuss the matter, blamed the collapse of security in the country on structural and leadership weaknesses within the security agencies.
He called for an overhaul of the security apparatus to secure Kenyans in the wake of recent attacks.
“The recent killings could have been prevented if the security agents listened to intelligence from civilians and the county government who had told them that 30 armed terrorists had pitched camp on that same road with plans to attack,” said Mr Kerrow.
Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi, however, called for a new strategy in tackling terrorism. He argued that sending the two security chiefs home was not the solution and that President Uhuru Kenyatta should establish a counter-insurgency unit.
In the National Assembly, Eldas MP Adan Keynan and Oljororok MP John Waiganjo blamed the insecurity situation on lack of a security policy.
INSECURITY MANUFACTURED BY GOVERNMENT
Mr Keynan declared that the state of insecurity had been manufactured by individuals in government.
The MP who chaired the Defence and Foreign Relations Committee in the last Parliament questioned the whereabouts of 3,920 Somali youth who were recruited as security personnel for their government in 2009 and 2010 and trained at Manyani and Isiolo. He argued they were behind the attacks.
Other MPs insisted that Mr Kimaiyo and Lenku be forced to leave.
“For me Ole Lenku and Kimaiyo must go,” said Nairobi County Woman Representative Rachel Shebesh, adding that the buck stopped with the President and the DP.
“It is about time we had either a reshuffle or sacking, whichever way you look at it. Even though we are in Jubilee government, we need to face the President and his deputy and talk to them on matters of security. We are not doing well,” she said.
Majority Leader Aden Duale said the problem was bigger than Mr Lenku and Mr Kimaiyo, and pointed a finger at corruption.
“If tonight Kimaiyo and Lenku were sacked, what assurance do we have that the Al-Shabaab will not attack? They lead men and women; we must scrutinise and vet the whole pack,” he said.