Propaganda won’t stop terrorist attacks
I have not met many who shed tears over the execution of Makaburi in Mombasa 10 days ago; nor have I heard much disagreement as to who was behind his death.
Comforting too for the government is that most Kenyans approve of this killing and feel it is a proportionate response to the Likoni attack and the persistent threats coming from Masjid Musa.
When the State appears to act tough, it gets public approval and its popularity rises. Few want to hear complaints about human rights violations or constitutional provisions.
We are told that we live in exceptional times so the rule of law does not fully apply.
State House messenger Eric Ng’eno claimed in this newspaper on Tuesday that ‘Makaburi was a beneficiary of disgustingly generous constitutional protection, to the extent that he was a decree holder against the government’.
When Mr Ng’eno treats the Constitution with such utter contempt, you worry that his views may represent those of his boss.
When war on terrorism is declared, propaganda is the first weapon and truth the first victim. When six worshippers were brutally murdered in Likoni, the police claimed that they later killed two suspects without ever displaying the bodies or revealing their identities. Where is the truth?
I abhor all violence and every killing and believe that criminals should be punished and the public protected from them.
Ultimately, it is smart intelligence, thorough investigations coupled with good security and not brute force that will win the hearts and minds of the public and defeat the criminals.
Last Friday, threats coming from Masjid Musa were terrifying, advising worshippers to slit the throat of every kafiri neighbour.
Yet, instead of pursuing these malicious inciters and arresting those behind the Likoni killings, the security machinery blames civil society organisations. Talk about ‘shooting the messenger’.
QUESTION OF VALUES
I support tough, professional measures to fight criminals, but when you criminalise and demonise a community instead of fighting the criminals you are losing the plot.
Every move coming from internal security shows a shocking lack of intelligence, professionalism and competence.
It is just a series of knee-jerk reactions that may temporarily fool the public, but not solve the problems. Worse still, it may play into the hands of those determined to cause terror and set religions against each another.
The sight of old women herded onto lorries in Eastleigh like cattle, and the images of hundreds of internees kept in cages like wild animals in the stadium was reminiscent of colonial internment and is a strategy doomed to failure.
The Somali have suffered just as much from Al-Shabaab as Kenyans and deporting aliens will not lead to the capture of the murderers.
Human rights law is not soft on criminals, but puts the onus on the State to do investigation and to protect the nation.
But human rights law is also smart law as it offers the best way forward to address conflict and violence and ensures that the right people are incarcerated without demonising religions or communities.
Despite propaganda to the contrary, it is only proper adherence to the rule of law that will restore stability and security in the country.
By: Gabriel Donal