ODM claims security crackdown a ploy to please the West
Opposition ODM party leaders have termed the ongoing operation against terror suspects in Eastleigh as a ‘ploy’ by the government to win back the confidence of the Western powers.
Led by the party’s acting leader Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o, the leaders said the operation was purely political.
“There is nothing like fighting terror in the so-called operation against terror suspects. This is a sheer deception to the country that the government is fighting terrorism, its aim being to negatively portray a certain community so as to achieve its goals,” said Prof Nyong’o.
The leaders further said that the operation is aimed to flush Somali investors out of the country, as the government had been ‘alarmed by the rate of growth’ of their businesses.
“Why is this inhumane operation being carried out only in Eastleigh? Is it the only area which has been hit by terrorist attacks? Why were other areas which faced the same attacks not subjected to such operations? This is a clear scheme against a certain community,” lamented former Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim.
Mr Maalim said that the cruelty and extremism demonstrated by government security agencies only worsened the situation, warning that it only created more discontent among Muslim youths, and was indirectly increasing the rate of radicalisation among them.
“Images of pregnant women being manhandled by police in pretext of fighting terrorism will only create more agitation and desire for revenge. Why have they (the government) ruled out dialogue?” added Mr Maalim.
Police have been accused of extortion and bribery claims, in the operation, a claim that the department has vehemently denied.
The leaders blamed the government, terming the presence of hundreds of illegal immigrants within the country’s borders as a manifestation of serious security lapses, intelligence and immigration system.
They proposed a thorough audit of all the concerned agencies.
“Heads need and must roll in the intelligence, police and immigration departments as part of a major effort to secure our country. It will not work that the very people who allowed the immigrants in, most times after collecting bribes are then made to conduct swoops and deport them after a crime has been committed,” they said, in a statement read by Prof Nyong’o.
They expressed their concern that the security situation was almost out of hand for the government, as President Uhuru Kenyatta had not formed a commission of inquiry to investigate the Westgate attack, even after promising to do so.
“The government is totally in the dark on the root cause of terrorism in the country; a situation that is replicated to many Kenyans. With regard to this we demand immediate formation of a commission of inquiry to investigate the Westgate attack, so that Kenyans can know what transpired. We also demand that the commission must be comprised of professionals so as to make a sensible conclusion that will aid government agencies to deal with this menace,” said Prof Nyong’o.
On Wednesday, however, Deputy President William Ruto downplayed the government’s critics on the way it was handling terrorism threat, by insisting that the security agencies had maintained professionalism in their operations.
“Our security forces have not contravened any human rights as alleged in some quarters. As far as I am aware, they have maintained the highest degree of professionalism,” said Mr Ruto, in an interview with a local TV station.
The leaders decried the operation, comparing it to ‘Operation Anvil’ in the colonial era or the Wagalla massacre in the 1980s.
“This kind of brutality and ethnic profiling is no different from what I witnessed in Wagalla massacre in the 1980s,” said former livestock minister, Mohammed Elmi.