Revv22's Blog

October 11, 2013

Kenya Government: That Good Corporate Citizen

The Government® has announced plans to restore Westgate Mall and support traders to re-establish their businesses.

In a meeting that sought to explore ways and means of mitigating economic losses arising from the closure of the mall, Ms.Kandie (East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism Cabinet secretary)  said her ministry would establish a team comprising Westgate Mall stakeholders to consider and advise on specific measures that Government®  and other parties would jointly take to restore the mall. According to reports, the proposed committee will also identify the immediate actions by the Government®  to safeguard on possible loss of more than 2000 direct jobs resulting from the terrorism attack.

The announcement has stirred a debate among the good “individual citizens” of Kenya. On one hand, there are those who support the Government® s move especially on the argument that the approximately 2000 persons who “lost” their jobs (and are still alive) will be able to work again. On the other, those who oppose the move saying the businesses were insured and tax payers monies should not be misused.

Recognising what followed Bomblast-1998 at the former Nairobi US embassy; I would refrain from suggesting that the mall be turned into a memorial something simply for the fact that it was private property. For the same reason, it should be none of the governments business to provide funds for the reconstruction of a privately owned; mandatorily insured businesses.

But is it as simple as that?

Firstly, the Government®  is tasked with ensuring the protection of life and property of its citizens, especially within our borders. Government®  security agencies have been blaming each other for bungling the response operations. The CEO himself, according to reports, also admitted that they bungled the operation due to a failure in the internal communications department. He went ahead and paid for a feast to calm down the nerves of one of the security agencies. In light of these blunders, and many other pending in-tray matters such as IDPs, and personal scandals facing the CEO and his deputy, Government®  is once again in need of a PR exercise that is relevant and can mitigate this particular Watergate Westgate fumble. If the government offered to pay all the hospital bills of the victims, both with and without health insurance, i have a feeling that the debate would be heavily swayed towards supporting.

Unfortunately, Government®  was beaten to that role by other “good corporate citizens” Who simply needed to keep doing what they do on an everyday basis, subsidize what it would cost normally and voila, have their names and banners over a “corporate social responsibility” event. It came naturally for them. That means that whatever CSR opportunity that is left for Government®  would expose something that the ordinary individual citizen has been made to believe doesn’t come naturally to government- prioritize business and investment over the promotion and protection of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of individual citizens.

The issuing of travel advisories by some of our “friends” was aimed at ensuring the protection of their citizens from physical harm in the event that Al-Shaabab are able to make good on their threats gain(read putting their citizens first). Our Government®  had pre-empted this and asked our “fiends”, not to issue travel advisories as “terrorist attacks can happen anywhere” (read will greatly impact negatively on our tourism revenues).

Having said this, it is important to let Government®  do all it can to mitigate the current problem it finds itself in. All corporate entities have a right to describe their mandate and find ways and loopholes around the small political problem of who actually gave them the mandate. Sometimes shareholders opinion might be split down the middle; or to be fair just above the middle with 50% plus, give or take, 8000 votes. After all, isn’t the Kenyan definition of democracy inteprated to mean majority takes all, is all and decides all?

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October 18, 2011

Why I support taking the fight to the HSM (Al- Shaabab) and no one else

Filed under: Uncategorized — revv22 @ 6:13 am
Tags: , , , , ,

I just read an opinion aired on a blogg(link posted below), to the effect that it is not necessary to send our army into Somali land in pursuit of the Al-Shaabab, and that the Anti Stock Theft unit of the Police would suffice in dealing with the terror group.

Al – Shaabab, also known as Harakat Al-Shaabab Al-Mujahidin (HSM) is a group that managed to gain and maintain control most of southern Somalia after its mother organisation, the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) that controlled the capital Moghadishu, was driven out by a joint Ethiopian-Ugandan military project. Al-Shaabab was the military wing of ICU and has a cocktail of ideological, forced recruits and volunteer fighters on offer.

So to juxtapose it against Mungiki would only reveal an asymmetrical correlation in an organic sense where Mungiki would be seen as a small child making the clichee statement,”when I grow up…”.

We should be very afraid of the gang, particularly now that it has threatend Kenya. They managed to carry out bombings at the heart of Kampala during the 2010 FIFA world cup which killed more than 70 people, they have successfully manage to kidnapp both Kenyans and foreigners from within our borders and they are known to have links with Al-Qaeda. The US doesn’t take their threat lightly and according to information from their Centre for Foreign Relations(CFR), they have drones hoovering over southern Somalia that are constantly gathering info and occasionally dropping a bomb.

We are at War! The blogger doesn’t seem to appreciate this fact and rushes to point out that it is a joint operation by the Kenya and Somali governments. He calls it an asymmetric war where Kenya is being unfair by using resources that the HSM doesn’t have. I agree with him that the media are bent on calling it a “war” rather than a “joint military op” for its business value, but that is just a Potatoe-Viazi situation, same thing by a different name.

The reason why I particularly support that the fight be taken to Al-Shaabab in Baidoa and other strongholds, is the possibility of the violation of the rights of Kenyan citizens and Refuge seekers that would ensue if the only viable alternative cause of action is to be pursued, which would be a two phase operation as far as my layman projections can forsee:
1. tightly sealing the borders to ensure no entry and exit across Kenya- Somali.
2. Fishing out the militant elements and sympathisers trapped on our side of the border.

Both of these have began simultaneously and the heavy military presence at the border towns is already proving the seal. Whether the crashed helicopter is indeed the result of a mechanical problem as reported or the handiwork of an Al-Shaabab counter is still debatable. Al-Shaabab has both the opportunity and motive. They are, however, always quick to claim responsibility for every single attack they succcesfully carry out.

In an interview with Citizen TV, Francis Kimemia the Permanent Secretary for Security, mentioned a series words that had me gravely worried. Daabab, Eastleigh, sympathisers, legitimate refugees, unregistered refugees, repatriation. The alarm bells were furiously ringing.
The possibility of having ideological supporters on this side of the border is obvious, but panicky and hurried attempts at fishing them out among Kenyan- Somali and Somali refugees can only result in abuse. Like in the US, under the Bush administrations homeland security policies that legitimated racial profiling, there will be gross ethnic profilling and life for the average ethnic in Eastleigh would be tough. You can imagine what it would be like for the over four hundred and fifty thousand refugees in camps up north. It is a well known fact that our country would welcome any quick solutions to the refugee camp “menace” and our government only allows refugees because it needs to be in good books with the UN. Tagging the camps a risk to national security, would provide a permanent solution in the form of mass repatriation. it is for this reason that I hope and pray that any available angle including and prioritising diplomacy, be studied and pursued in resolving the conflict and handing back the refugees their home in a peaceful state.

This would also ensure that our Kenyan brothers and sisters of somali ethnicity are subjected to rights abuse by government agencies as they did in earlier years.

Links:

mwirigi.posterous.com/my-2-cents-on-the-war

http://www.cfr.org/somalia/al-shabaab/p18650

Berrypost.

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