In Summary
  • There is no doubt that Kenya has learned a lot from previous experiences with terrorist attacks.
  • But Kenya still has a lot to learn.
  • Greed, corruption, youth unemployment and ill-preparedness seem to be our main undoing.

There is no doubt that Kenya has learned a lot from previous experiences with terrorist attacks.

During the attack on DusitD2 Hotel, specialised terrorism response units and the General Service Unit were better coordinated than previously seen. Their response was also timely and decision making and command were coordinated almost to clinical precision. As a result, more lives were saved than lost, in comparison to previous attacks such as on the West Gate mall and Garissa University. But in the wider scheme of life, 21 lives is one too many.

As always, there are Kenyans who know how to give admirable service to this nation. Some as private licenced firearm holders, who were pictured selflessly escorting fellow citizens to safety, working in tandem with security personnel. It was also heart-warming to see ordinary Kenyans step up to support security forces by providing food and refreshments. This spirit of ''what I can do now to help'' is what patriotism entails, especially in times of emergencies.

But Kenya still has a lot to learn. One of the biggest adjustment lessons will be the social profiling of a terrorist. Whereas many Kamau’s can get profiled if we are discussing Mungiki and many a Kwamboka if we are discussing Chinkororo, the same people will barely attract a glance when a discussion on terrorism is ongoing. Terrorist are ahead of the nation, and even the international community on this aspect, and are now choosing their instruments of terror outside established profiles.

It is difficult to tell if it was in sticking to the script of a terrorist or with the realisation that such a profile is flawed that Bryson Mwamburi was arrested in a case of mistaken identity. Though he was later released, instances of victims of terrorism falling through the cracks to become suspects of the state must be minimised.

GREED

What is clear is that certain Kenyan attributes and tendencies are being exploited to abet the presence of terrorist activity in the country. Greed seems to have set the standard on the style, mode and timelines for acquisition of wealth. Young Kenyans are slowly falling into the trap of ''money is everything''. Terrorism seems to have inched away from religious philosophy and ideology to just the need for money. A nation cannot fall any lower on the moral scale.

Corruption will sink Kenya down the dark hole where terrorists operate. First the principal of ''see something, say something'' is greatly challenged in Kenya, given that in the interaction of Kenyans with traffic and administration police, the cops' sole aim seems to be to extort a bribe, sometimes even using trumped-up charges.

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