Kumekucha investigative article that will shock you...
Taking stock of the high death toll in the post-election period, it’s clearly evident there is something terribly wrong with Kenya’s security agencies.
The most notable issue that has emerged from this national tragedy is that the security agencies appear powerless to contain the bloody mayhem or bring it to a stop.
And there is no doubt that both the Government – President Kibaki’s state agents – and the ODM are guilty of engaging in acts that border on genocide – wanton killing of people perceived to belong in the opposite political divide.
Official police statistics show that the number of Kenyans who have lost their lives – either shot dead by state agents or slaughtered by ODM supporters – stands slightly above 500.
However, informed sources within Kenya’s security agents say these figures are doctored and they do not reflect the reality on the ground. The real truth will emerge when the dust finally settles down – hoping that state agents will not be used to falsify medical records in mortuaries and hospitals across the country to lime with the lies being churned by police headquarters.
Our security sources revealed that the death toll in post-election violence stands between 1,500 and 2,000. Thousands of other Kenyans are either fighting for their lives or nursing serious wounds in hospitals across the republic while an estimated 500,000 other Kenyans have been displaced from their homes.
Kenya has been at standstill and bleeding profusely since Mr Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner of the December 27 Presidential election through open stealing and fraud. The wound inflicted on Kenya – through Mr Kibaki’s own actions of stealing an election – will haunt Kenya for the rest of her history.
Marauding ODM youths who have been protesting Mr Kibaki’s illegitimacy in State House have been sweeping across villages in parts of the Rift Valley inhabited by the Kalenjin and Kikuyu communities killing, torching houses and driving their perceived political opponents out of their homes and farms in broad-day light. They are making a very powerful statement – there is no Government in control in Kenya!
The youths behind the mayhem move in large groups and they have made no attempt to cover their faces to conceal their identity. After killing and torching houses, the youths often re-assemble in a show of solidarity and celebration for the successes they had made.
The worst such incident happened in Eldoret where a gang of 200 youth swooped on a church where women, children and men displaced by the post-election violence were taking cover and set the House of God on fire. An estimated 16 people perished in the bonfire. Police were nowhere to be seen and no arrests have ever been made.
All this mayhem happens when there is a “Government” in power! Kibaki has been holed up in State House, Nairobi, since he was sworn in and perhaps he has been watching and enjoying the Rambo Movie – as Police Spokesman Eric Kiraithe called it!– from the comfort of his bedroom, with either Lucy or Wambui on his side.
Maybe his handlers tell him it’s the work of mischievous TV editors who have been manufacturing footage from other war-ravaged countries and only airing it in our local TV stations to keep Kenyans entertained with Rambo Movies!
On a serious issue, the Government, if there is any, appears not to be in control. The actions of the police and other state agents are only reactionary. A serious and a working state machinery is always ahead of anyone with a criminal mind. But not with our security agencies who are mostly caught flat-footed by rag-tag private militias and made to look like a squad from a third-rate security firm for training watchmen.
In retaliation to the ODM protests, state agents have turned Kenya into a shooting range and woe onto you if you happen to be near the battle-ground. Chances of stopping police bullets are higher than when we had dictator Daniel arap Moi in power.
The Big Question in the minds of Kenyans and foreign Governments represented in Nairobi is: Why does our security agents appear so impotent today than ever before?
Authoritative sources within the security agencies revealed that the confusion being witnessed in containing the violence is a reflection of the boardroom wars which have been simmering behind closed curtains in the Office of the President – Harambee House and State House - for years.
Kenyans have been immersed in their daily duties to place some food on the table and have failed to take note of the creation of two parallel and competing police forces in the country – the Kenya Police and the Administration Police. The two security arms of the state have harbour so much bitterness and rivalry right from the top to the bottom.
Before President Kibaki took over power in 2002, Kenya had only one national police – the Kenya Police which has three key units namely the regular police, the paramilitary General Service Unit and the CID. But today, the Administration Police has been strengthened and it rivals, and in some cases, overshadows the Kenya Police, thanks to political intrigues and selfishness in Kibaki’s ruling elite.
In the mid-term of Kibaki’s five-year term, he encountered serious problems with the men he had entrusted in the security docket. He was forced by circumstances to replace Internal Security Minister Chris Murungaru and Police Commissioner Edwin Nyaseda. Rattle snake John Michuki replaced Dr Murungaru while Maj Gen Ali took over from Mr Nyaseda.
Both Mr Michuki and Maj Gen Ali are men of bloated egos and there is no love lost between them. The two war-mongers believe in chest-thumping and ruling by the sword. Diplomacy is a foreign concept to both of them. It is, therefore, foolish for anyone to expect the combination to cook in the same pot.
Maj Gen Ali rarely took orders from Mr Michuki. Since he is still a serving Army officer, he regards a minister to be a civilian and insists he can’t take orders from such an individual. His contempt for Mr Michuki was clearly evident from the nasty public exchanges the two had when they worked under the same docket. Their arrogance is a good theme for a Kenya Rambo Movie!
Maj Gen Ali has made it a tradition to side-step the minister – who by Government protocol is his boss – and decided to report directly to the Chief of General Staff, Gen Kianga, and the President, who is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. Mr Michuki and his replacement, George Saitoti, are no different. Both are men you would think twice before you lay your foot on them – even accidentally.
The only distinction between Prof Saitoti and Mr Michuki is that the former is somehow diplomatic in public glare but a worse rattle snake than Mr Michuki in private or in the confines of his office. If Maj Gen Ali succeeded in showing open contempt to Mr Michuki, time will tell if Prof Saitoti will give him the slightest chance to do it.
Close aides of the two ministers say Mr Michuki thoroughly briefed Prof Saitoti about his frosty working relationship with Maj Gen Ali and the measures he should employ to contain him.
Mr Michuki’s former Internal Security docket had two powerful wings – the Internal Security (the police) and the Provincial Administration. Maj Gen Ali heads the police wing. When the differences between Maj Gen Ali and Mr Michuki reached a climax in 2005, the latter made spirited efforts to have President Kibaki fire the commissioner.
However, the political mood in the country appeared to favour the Army soldier. Several things appeared to favour the commissioner – he is a Muslim and from the minority Somali community, there was the impending General Election and ODM leader Raila Odinga (who initially could not see eye to eye with Maj Gen Ali over the October 2005 Kisumu police killings of four innocent people during the referendum protests) appeared to have warmed up to the Commissioner in exchange of secret dossier on the Artur brothers.
Maj Gen Ali also capitalized on the bitter marital row surrounding President Kibaki and his two wives, Lucy and Wambui. Wambui and Mr Michuki were said to be behind the presence of the Arturs in the country.
Seizing on Lucy’s hatred on her marital bitter rival, the Commissioner hinged himself under Lucy’s armpit to ensure no one touched him. Lucy wields a lot of influence over President Kibaki. Maj Gen Ali stood on the side of Lucy while Mr Michuki, Wambui and the Artur brothers were roasting in the public frying pan.
The factors above gave Maj Gen Ali a new lifeline despite Mr Michuki’s spirited campaign to have him shown the door. Maj Gen Ali’s appeared to have won the battle for supremacy and shown Mr Michuki that he enjoyed the better ear of President Kibaki despite the President and the minister belonging to the same community.
But a frustrated Michuki could not take this lying down. The only weapon at his disposal for revenge was to humiliate Maj Gen Ali using the Administration Police and its Commander, Mr Kinuthia Mbugua. Mr Mbugua belongs to Mr Michuki’s tribe.
For the period Mr Michuki has been in charge of the country’s security, he ensured that a large portion of resources in his docket went to the AP. Unlike Maj Gen Ali who has an office away from the centre of power, Mr Mbugua’s office is situated inside Harambee House – where the Office of the President and that of the Internal Security minister are located.
Mr Michuki has over the years been strengthening the AP in his attempt to overshadow and clip the wings of Maj Gen Ali. The AP today is a national police force rivaling the Kenya Police. Unlike before, Mr Mbugua was among top security chiefs who shared a dais with President Kibaki when he was sworn like a thief in the lawns of State House on December 30. Maj Gen Ali, according to our sources, was not pleased to drive to State House and find Mr Mbugua in the dais.
Previously, the AP was just a colourless wing attached to the Provincial Administration – chiefs, District officers, District Commissioners and Provincial Commissioners. Their role was to hunt down chang’aa brewers and men who behaved badly by beating their wives in the villages. APs who were assigned VIP guard duties considered themselves lucky and with decent duties.
But as the row between Mr Michuki and Maj Gen Ali intensified, the fortunes of the Administration Police changed for the better. It’s now a parallel police force, it boasts of better equipment and terms of service than the Kenya Police and it’s more closer to the ruling elite than the Kenya Police. The AP is now actively involved in key national duties. Their training rivals that of the dreaded GSU and they are more sophisticated like the army.
Kibaki’s ruling elite feel more comfortable entrusting the AP and its Commander with state secrets – like planning how to rig the December General Election – than Maj Gen Ali and his Kenya Police.
The situation has created bitter rivalry between Maj Gen Ali and AP Commander Mbugua. The two men rarely talk or shake hands – either in private or in public. Maj Gen Ali has on several occasions attempted to dismiss the AP in public.
But that has not helped him in any way. Power is in the hands of the Kikuyu elite and his protests sounds like child’s play to them.
Maj Gen Ali has found himself in a quagmire of a first wife in a polygamous marriage. The second wife always enjoys the tender heart of the man, better resources, close attention, unlimited ear and unlimited bedroom bliss! The first wife has no choice but to either pack up and go or stay put with a broken and wounded heart.
The bitter rivalry between the APs and the Kenya Police almost cost the life of the then Police Spokesman and now Coast PPO King’ori Mwangi after the Bomas conference on a new constitution. The Kenya Police – feeling the heat of humiliation by being neglected by the State – was aggressively pushing for the disbandment of the Administration Police and the formation of one national police force. The APs vehemently opposed it and they carried the day through vigorous lobbying. Top police chiefs were left nursing their wounded egos.
Mr Mwangi, who was at Bomas to push this radical view, was later waylaid by an AP who shot him. Mr Mwangi was shot in the hand and he is alive today because he managed to wrestle the gun from the emaciated AP sent to squeeze the life out of him.
Despite the bitter rivalry, the Administration Police and the Kenya Police are expected to take up joint national duties when the security of the nation is threatened. This is where the Kibaki regime seems to have shot itself in the foot in dealing with the post-election crisis.
A closer look at the riot squads which have been battling rioting ODM mobs shows glaring disparities between the APs and members of the Kenya Police – the GSU and regular police.
The APs have better riot gear and body protection gear than the regular police. While the regular police go to the volatile battle zones with almost bare chests, their AP rivals look like the commandos we see in Rambo Movies – perhaps this is what Mr Kiraithe was referring to. You can hardly pick out your own brother who is an AP from the rest of the squad. The APs are well covered from head to toe and this reduces chances of injury if attacked by the rioting mobs. Woe onto the regular police!
Security is a sensitive docket and the pillar of any nation. It can’t be taken so casually like President Kibaki and his ruling elite have done. Is it then a wonder that mobs have been sweeping across villages killing and torching homes without any presence of security agents?
There has been talk of officers from communities that rejected President Kibaki in the December polls rocking the boat from within. There is a lot of truth in that claim. The situation is further complicated by the rivalry between the APs and the regular police. How are the hostile officers expected to work together knowing one is the blue-eyed boy of the State?
There is a great cause of worry when key security agencies that we rely on for our own security are rocked in such a bitter rivalry. The heads of the AP and the Kenya Police don’t read from the same script. The current confusion in the security agencies equals to solders in a parade ignoring orders from the parade commander and each one of them opting to match to his/her own direction.
In the current scenario where state agencies are deeply polarized along ethic and identity lines, the Government finds it very difficult in keeping state secrets and this is a major threat to national and international security. The deep mistrust in the security agencies is not good for this country.
This is why Mr Michuki kept Maj Gen Ali in the dark when his own officers were used to plot and execute the raid on the offices of the Standard newspapers and KTN in March 2006. Isn’t a much serious issue when a whole Commissioner of Police is kept in the dark when his officers are being used by the same Government he serves to carry out serious criminal acts in the dead of the night? It’s no laughing matter when a Government can’t even trust its own Commissioner of Police in matters of “national security”, to borrow a phrase from Mr Rattle Snake.
And in his reaction to Mr Michuki’s frustrations, Maj Gen Ali has paralysed the Kenya Police by dismantling operations structures to create a royalty cult. This has fueled a lot of discontent in his ranks and the senseless shootings that Kenyans have been watching in Mr Eric Kiraithe’s “Rambo Movies” in our TVs might be a direct reaction to the mounting frustrations in the force.
In his greed for power and in his quest to please the Government that doesn’t recognize him, Maj Gen Ali has seriously dented his reputation by committing serious crimes against humanity (read a story titled Charge Maj Gen Ali with Crimes Against Humanity in this blog. Scroll down to find the story). He thought he wound endear himself to the ruling elite by ordering his officers to use lethal bullets to silence ODM supporters and engage in gang-land style execution of youths under the guise of fighting crime.
Maj Gen Ali can’t dare raise a finger against this regime for he would find himself behind bars facing humiliating charges on serial murders. Maj Gen Ali has earned himself a dubious tag equal to his namesake and comrade in the military, Ali Hassan Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti, who was dubbed "Chemical Ali" by Iraqi Kurds for his attacks against them in the 1980s and 1990s in the Iraqi government's campaigns of deportations and mass killings against its Kurrdish and Shi’te populations.
“Chemical Ali" and his master, Saddam Hussein, were captured years later, tried and hanged in like dogs. I’m sure Maj Gen Ali thinks what happens in Iraq can’t happen in Kenya.
Maj Gen Ali should watch out. He and his masters might find themselves in the docket one day answering murder charges, just like Chemical Ali, if a serious and credible Government that respects human life and human rights ascends to power. The law is very clear – crimes never grow old. Old crimes can be revived and charges preferred against the culprits.
As the country seeks a lasting solution to the post-election crisis, the question is; how long will Chemical (Maj Gen) Ali survive in police headquarters? Time will tell.
And as Kenyans walk towards the path of national healing and reconciliation, the Kibaki regime needs to put its act together and bring sanity and a clear structure of command in our security agencies. This will be the surest way to ensure Kenya does not slid into anarchy like the lawless Somalia.