Thursday, April 2nd’s genocidal attacks on students at Kenya’s Garissa University ought to send an unmistakable signal of the imperative need for the United States and its allies to intervene and take charge of Kenya’s security apparatus, if the situation in that East African economic powerhouse is not to spiral into a region-wide act of barbarism (See “Al-Shabbab Attack ‘Insane’ And ‘Cowardly’ – Nana Addo” Starrfmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 4/5/15).
Ghana’s main opposition leader, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, put it best when the 2016 Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) poignantly observed that “President Uhuru Kenyatta needs to be assured with deeds, not just words, that the world stands with Kenya and stands ready to support him in the necessary fight against such evil.”
The Qaeda-linked Somali Islamist terrorist organization was blamed for this savage act of carnage that culminated in the deaths of some 150 students, with tens of presumable victims declared missing and/or unaccounted for. Garrisa, which is not very far from Kenya’s eastern border with Somalia, is reported to contain a sizable native Somali-Muslim population. The Al-Shabab terrorists appear to have used Garrisa’s large immigrant-Muslim population as a cover to orchestrate the dastardly deed. There have also been widespread allegations of police and other security agents’ maltreatment of Garrisa’s Muslim inhabitants in the wake of any purportedly Islamist terror attacks.
What the latter means is that the Kenyan authorities need to promptly and thoroughly review and modify its relations with the country’s sizable Muslim communities. There have also been reports of instances in which some members of Kenya’s Muslim communities have celebrated sporadic incidents of Islamist terrorist attacks as condign reprisal for their widely perceived maltreatment by government security agents.
Ghana’s Nana Akufo-Addo is also apt in observing that “No religion sanctions the [deliberate and brutal] killing of innocent people, especially [unarmed] women and children.” By the same token, it ought to be equally pointed out that President Uhuru Kenyatta has himself come under credible international criticism for having been personally involved in criminally culpable acts of inter-ethnic mayhem. Indeed, it was only recently that the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) decided to clear Mr. Kenyatta of charges bordering on flagrant human rights violations, more on grounds of budgetary dire straits than forensic or evidentiary invalidity or dearth.
What the preceding also means is that Kenya’s notoriously fractious leaders may well have remarkably contributed to the sinister climate that precipitated the latest Al-Shabab-orchestrated acts of terror and others before it. And so leaders like Mr. Kenyatta need to do some serious soul-searching and come up with more productive and constructive ways of dealing with the country’s enormous challenges. We must equally bear in mind that the West, in general, and the United States and Great Britain, in particular, has a critical role to play in substantively meliorating the present Kenyan political crisis. For as I vividly recall, it was the West that directly inspired the leaders of Horn-of-Africa countries like Ethiopia and Kenya to intervene in the chaotic military hostilities in Somalia, nearly a decade ago, that had rendered Somalia virtually stateless.
Back then, as I vividly recall, the leaders of ths Al-Shabab terror network had warned the presidents of Ethiopia and Kenya, among a couple of others, to immediately withdraw their armed forces from Somali territory or face dire consequences. It well appears that Kenya is being savaged by the Al-Shabab terror mongers for inducing a salutary measure of sociopolitical stability in Somalia. The blame here belongs squarely to the Somali people and their leaders, of course. Nevertheless, the West has a bounden obligation to facilitate the swift and thorough extirpation of Al-Shabab’s barbarous acts of terror. And as we are informed by the Kenyan leadership, what is badly needed presently are state-of-the-art military defense weaponry capable of definitively routing and rooting out Al-Shabab terror in the Horn of Africa. For now, the least said about the African Union (AU), the better.
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York