News 2008


Tackle Mungiki Menace

Business Daily (Nairobi)


6 March 2008

Without any warning, members of the proscribed Mungiki sect made a dash into the Central Business District on Wednesday and took over the city for a while catching both the police and everyone else by surprise.

Now suppose all those goons had been armed? From street to street they raced with their banners, flags, and unruffled printed portraits of Maina Njenga, their jailed leader.

Now that is serious. Serious because there was little, or no intelligence that this demonstration was to take place and police were in the dark that it was to happen.

Are we being told that the Intelligence had no prior warning that the group was organizing such a demonstrations? If they had no clue, then how safe are we?

Major General Michael Gichangi, the National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS) Director General, has an explanation to do and he owes it to Kenyans.

The main goal of NSIS is "prompt and quality national intelligence in the service of the people of Kenya."

Also Police Commissioner, Major General Ali should come out in the open and admit that Mungiki's re-emergence at the heart of Nairobi was a great embarrassment to the force and beside that come out with a new strategy to tackle the menace.

But more than that, we need to pose this question to the two major generals. Where were the two security institutions and why did they not sound a warning that Mungiki was about to invade the City.

Again, who is to blame?

An intelligence and security failure of such magnitude tells us that we have yet to put our house in order and that structures of intelligence are either wanting or compromised.

There are no two ways.

All thuggish elements, whether criminally or religiously inspired, and proscribed groups must be fought and disbanded however long it takes.

On Wednesday, we saw a determined Mungiki trying to get back, or force its way into our lives.

We say no, and will support all legal efforts to put them back whence they came from.

We say this because no business or economy can survive when cartels and extortionists hide behind religious fanaticism.

If the economy is to achieve its growth once again, and after the recent political upheaval, we must put security back into work and respect the rule of law.

But that will only happen if the intelligence manages to snip such happenings before they take place.