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Friday, December 21, 2012

Crime Escalates In Kenya As Naïve Decision Makers Continue To Bark Up The Wrong Trees


David Kimaiyo: Kenya's first inspector general who incidentally was director of operations at police headquarters at the height of the post election troubles in 2008. Fighting crime should not be left to the police and he is doomed to fail if the next administration approches crime in the same manner as the Kibaki administration did.

A few days ago a Matatu headed to Eastleigh was hijacked by six smartly dressed gunmen who robbed all the passengers of cash and cell phones.

As I write this post, this incident has yet to be reported anywhere in the local media.

There are a number of interesting things we need to point out about this latest incident. Firstly it happened in broad daylight (at about 2 pm). Secondly the fact that they picked a matatu headed for Nairobi’s “Mogadishu” Estate was no accident. These matatus are usually packed with traders from Nairobi and indeed all over the country headed to popular wholesale venues like “Garissa Lodge” and others where all kinds of items whose import tax and duty has not been paid can be obtained very cheaply thus assuring retailers a handsome profit. They are usually carrying huge sums of cash and it is not unrealistic for robbers to get Kshs 1 million or more from a single matatu headed to Eastleigh. What that means is that anybody hijacking a matatu on this particular route is bound to make off with a very hefty sum of cash. As opposed to robbing a No 8 Matatu headed to the sprawling Kibera slums for instance.

What should really worry Kenyans here is whether the country has gone back to the Major-Hussein-Ali policy of fighting crime by NOT reporting major crimes so as to give the impression that crime was on a downward trend. At one point the police commissioner soldier was literally editing crime stories at the Daily Nation, albeit on phone. You really cannot blame the man with military training who was made a top cop by the Kibaki administration for that kind of thinking. In a military war (as opposed to a war on crime) propaganda is such a critical weapon that it has single-handedly won many major battles and even wars throughout history and when used well can be more lethal than any guns and ammunition on the ground. This is a historical fact starting right from the beginning of time an even in biblical times when a might army was defeated by simply being given the impression that there was a very big army marching against them when in reality there was actually nothing but some serious sound effects from the Almighty himself.

The only problem is that when fighting crime, propaganda has quite the opposite effect. If I was a violent criminal and nobody was reporting about what I was doing I would be delighted. It would mean amongst other advantages, that I would be able to retain my element of surprise on unsuspecting victims. The folks who robbed the Eastleigh matatu in broad daylight can do it again and again and many on the route will not even be aware that this was something that had happened before.

Yesterday we mentioned some of the successes of the Kibaki administration but today it is worth mentioning tha one of their biggest failures has been security and the fight against the escalating crime rate in the country.

For the sake of the next administration it is worth analyzing this failure a little deeper.

President Kibaki came into power in 2003 with the firm conviction that crime was one of the easiest of problems on his long list to handle. All the country needed to do was to find the money to increase the number of policemen and women in the force. This was promptly done but predictably nothing happened. Then they came up with the idea of appointing a tough military man to scare the criminals. This too did not work. Finally the president himself took to threatening criminals during his speeches to the public warning them that their days were numbered. Of course all those in crime must have had a good laugh and escalated their activities.

While it is true that we have just gotten a new inspector general who is probably the most competent and qualified person to ever head the police force since independence, even he will not have any impact on the war against crime until the next administration come to the realization that this is something that cannot be left only to the police. The next administration needs to actively pursue policies that are designed to curb crime.

Fighting unemployment like there was no tomorrow is one thing that must be emphasized from day one. More hidden close circuit cameras all over the city and indeed the entire country is yet another step that needs to be taken. Then we need to seriously look at the budget allocated to intelligence and undercover operations which is currently a sick joke. Lastly we need to come to the realization that the fight against crime never ends and so we need to brace ourselves for that.

There are of course many other good ideas that security experts can come up with. It is important to ensure that experts are involved in the decision making process to the highest level because switching off all unregistered cell phones for instance is not going to reduce crime involving cell phones as some smart alecs seem to believe. Indeed those kinds of crimes seem to be on the rise because my wife received a call recently from a man who told her she had won Kshs 100,000 and she should not send money to anybody to get the prize. But meanwhile she was casually asked if she had an Mpesa account. Much later in the conversation she was asked to enter a strange code that would have cleaned out her Mpesa account.

My point is that I often hear the views of Kenya’s middle class and the rich on fighting crime and just laugh my head off. Most Kenyans are so out of touch with the realities in their own country that it just unbelievable. To start with Kenya’s escalating crime rate has a lot to do with the huge number of foreigners we have allowed into the country many of whom do not have any papers. Especially from countries like Nigeria and Somalia. Some of these people are hardened criminals who see criminal opportunities where Kenyans have never dreamt that any exist. Just to give an example. A few years back some Nigerians took a lot of interest in the Post office at the City Square in Nairobi. They place had no security and so they just walked in late at night and spend time picking the locks of mail boxes to read the letters inside. Other Nairobi criminals must have been more than a little surprised as to what their motives were. However a few months later it was reported that companies and individuals were losing millions to intercepted cheques that criminals had found a way to cash. Indeed this is one of the reasons that led to banks refusing to cash third party cheques over the counter.

Why is it that we don’t realize Kenya is now an international hub with all kinds of characters arriving here daily? Long gone are the days when the most serious crime many sleepy rural police stations had to deal with was the theft of chickens. Despite this we expect the same kind of police force equipped in the same way it has always been to deal with the new realities on the ground. Getting more policemen without looking at a number of other policies is just recruiting and sending sons and daughters of Kenyans to unnecessary slaughter in the hands of a new kind of criminal who is extremely sophisticated and more daring than ever before.

Interestingly I have not heard any of the presidential candidates address this issue so far.

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13 comments:

Taabu said...

Chris,

Go slow on Baba Jimmy. You see non of the presidential candidates you mention are affected by insecuty.

Makerere economics is a trickle down and provided the gated homes are safe don't worry.

I guess you must have been watching alot of scary MOVIES starring (UK) DARK FORCES (UDF??).

That said the genesis of the present spate of insecurity is COMPROMISED INTEL, period.

The country is on autopilot and the criminals know it. That is why they dare attack in broad day light and at the heart of the city and not twice but numerously the same place.

Cops are killed by robbers as terrorists kill Kenyans. They know there is no LEADERSHIP to challenge them. God save us.

Anonymous said...

Modi operandi of our intelligence community has left a lot to be desired despite the massive budget allocations they enjoyed during Mzee Kibaki's tenure.

Unfortunately for the general population in the urban areas and rest of country, our so-called Kenya Intelligence Community's defenses - against domestic criminal elements - have been noticeable very unsuccessful, and most of the time the public has been unware of intense criminal drama taking place within the major urban areas and rural as well.

Sadly, the intriguing details of the drama of how criminal enterprises have been able to operate and flourish throughout the country is due to a ten year epoch of abysmal failure that solely rests on the very incompetent shoulders of the main government agency responsible for the collection, analysis or exploitation of the information and intelligence in support of law, order, preventive measures and covert as well as overt counter criminal operations in the country.

The budget or rather expenditure(s) for our so-called intelligence community has been enormous yet so far there has been very little to show for given the spike in the brazen criminal culture and the violent disruptions in the normal daily lives of the people all over the country.

Maybe, it is high time the powers that be and leaders our intelligence community ate a humble malenge or waru pie and had the courage to borrow a leaf or two from some of the successful deterrent measures that have already been put in place - with very less expenditures - by their ever vigilant counterparts in neighbouring Tanzania, Uganda and to some extent, Ethiopia.

By the way, there are very capable boots on the ground - CID officers, regular police officers, admin policers, and other civilian assets whose diligent efforts in grassroot information gathering ('GIG') are always frustrated, hampered and on numerous occasions outrightly igonred by their seniors at the divisional, provincial and national levels.

Further, the recent security debacle in places like Suguta, Tana, Liboi, Mandera, Garissa, Marasabet, Moyale, Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu are prime examples, just to mention a few.

Will the new IG be able rise to the occasion and overrule let alone change the endemic culture of midiocrity and unprofessionalism that have infested the whole police force, rank and file, over the last forty-five years?

Time is now on his side and there should be no room for the usual excuses or climate of business as usual under his watch.

Anonymous said...

Tabu,

Ipi ni ipi? A severe case of leadership on autopilot or leadership vacuum?

Luke said...

Chris,
kwani what's wrong with LOOKING at Kenya from WESTGATE?hio ni bure kabisa

Taabu,
kwani POOR people lack GATES? hio ni bure kabisa

Mwarang'ethe said...

Ati create employment to curb crime? How Sir?

Sample this:

You expect job creation when Kenyans have saddled themselves with a monstrosity of a constitution which will require more taxation?

For instance, isn't there a VAT bill waiting for the NEXT administration?

The question is, how many jobs SHALL be lost, and not how many will be created.

How will you create these jobs when you are taxing every moving thing to pay the SON OF NYACHAE and other IDLERS in the name of implementing a new constitution?

You ask for job creation when Kenyans are BORROWING DOLLARS to LOAN to Mbeere farmers?

To believe that, we can create jobs under such circumstances is to show disconnection from the ECONOMIC REALITIES of Kenya/Africa.

You say we need to create jobs. How do we do that when our EXPORTS, such as coffee are fetching peanuts? After paying for the Thika road, how do we pay for anything else?

Anyway, since all these are INSULTS, we leave to enjoy:

Hi-Jacker: Rugano Rwakwa - My Story:

http://is.gd/4ED9nj

Anonymous said...

CORD is already home and dry-no run off

Anonymous said...

Already home? Mmmm! Will all the roads be leading to Bondo during the dry season?

Anonymous said...

The escalation of criminal forces and their activities are everywhere around us. We're made aware of that whenever we turn on our mobiles, radios, TVs, computers, open the national as well as local newspapers, listen to the market-talk and victims, or venture out of our homes in any part of the country.

But that doesn't mean we have to continue passively accepting whatever outcome the criminal forces might press upon us as they have done in the past.

Instead, we now have the new opportunity to learn how to use a handful of basic security procedures, principles and take good advantage of the new leadership within the police force and turn the tables on all the criminal forces in our midst.

That is where Kim, yes, talking of David Kimaiyo the first IG, comes into focus on a local and national scale, given that he only has two options at his disposal in terms of achieving real success, or being overshadowed by absolute failure by the time his tenure is due for renewal or otherwise.

One of the option is for Kim to take up his new post and begin going about his business as a butcher given the fact that he is a former insider, someone who has served in the force in various high profile capacities dating back to the 1980s.

While the other option - that is highly anticipated by mnay - would be for him to pursue the overdue transformation of the country's entire police force from top to bottom as expected of him in the same diligent manner as a highly skilled surgeon is expected to go about his/her task at hand on a daily basis.

As we all know, any butcher in our nearest town or village is well liked by many - people with means - for selling meat at a give price, but all he ever does behind the scenes is slaughter or cut (chop) up the meat that is intended to be sold by the end of the day or within a twenty-four hour period, lest his cut-of-the-day goes bad and dips into his hefty business profit margins.

Whereas a surgeon is one of the least likeable or popular characters in our nearest major urban hospitals or medical centers due to the fact that his/her professional expertise is concerned with diseases and medical conditions requiring skillful operative or manual procedures.

And by the time some of us - the unfortunate ones in our midst - land on the surgeon's table or under the scalpel, it is always because our related health conditions are in need of immediate medical attention, if not intensive emergency care.

Plainly put, the new IG will have to surgically shape up the entire police froce, get rid of the damage, malformation, disorder of structure and a police sub-culture that have been endemic within the rank and file for the last four and half decades.

An overdue move that will entail the surgical removal of eighty-eight percent of the current provincial - regional - police officers, their assistants, and all the deadwood at Ulinzi House as well as in other police departments.

Then major adjustments will have to be made as the the IG and his team of a select few surgically seek out for a new and totally different breed of young officers in their thirties, and forties, have them thoroughly screened and background checked with regard to all of their personal, professional, financial, ethical, health, community and other related activities dating back to the day they graduated - 'passed out' - from the one and only famous police accademy that still serves the whole country due to the fact that leapards are known to never ever change their skins.

A thorough house cleaning will be a must, including the weeding out of undesirable officers and promoting those who are deemed fit to serve in various capacities throughout the entire police force as well as the country.

[To Be Continued].

Mwarang'ethe said...

Then major adjustments will have to be made as the the IG and his team of a select few surgically seek out for a new and totally different breed of young officers in their thirties, and forties, have them thoroughly screened and background checked with regard to all of their personal, professional, financial, ethical, health, community and other related activities dating back to the day they graduated - 'passed out' - from the one and only famous police accademy that still serves the whole country due to the fact that leapards are known to never ever change their skins."

xxx

Please, please, please, please, do not continue this because, you are taking us to that wonderful land of DELUSIONS, ILLUSIONS and INFANTILE FANTASIES where you seem to dwell.

With that, we leave to enjoy:

Police In Helicopter:

http://is.gd/lwuQr3

Anonymous said...

To the powers that be in the right place, at right time and for all the right reasons in accordance with the precepts pertaining to Utumishi Kwa Wote and the constitution.

Q. When is the public going to see well known senior police officers [who happen to be longterm members of the dirty, dishonest, edentated, antiquated, dysfunctional, conscienceless and out-of-touch neo-colonial breed of senior afandes] get demonated, fired, prosecuted (where necessary), or retired for obvious reasons?

That is if change really means change - metamorphosis -, once the whole of the national police force has been put under new management and capable leadership of the IG (marshal).

The general public is no longer interested in the why or where, but very much curious in who among who should be let go, and what besides what is getting implemented asap once the previous crop of underperforming afandes have been relieved of command and other relavant police duties.

The concerned public should be spared from the usual politically engineered adminstrative gimmicks of reshuffling underforming - totally incompetent - senior police officers from one region to the next, or worse from one failed asignment (like Suguta Valley and Tana Delta) to the next asigment waiting to be compromised - with deadly consequences - by a culture of incompetent mindset among the socially promoted individuals within the top brass.

Anonymous said...

What does Kimaiyo's appointment really mean for the national police force, and the entire nation?

What real impact if any will the newly appointed IGP bring about in a police force that has been bedevilled will all sorts of unprofessional, unethical and other unspeakable practices?

Tupende tusipende, wapende wasipende, wether we or they like it or not, changes must come and they must make all those involved within rank and file as well as the public at large very uncomfortable to say the least because the days of business as usual should relegated to the past.

Further, all askari and afandes must be put on notice that "those days" of kazi kama kawaida, toa kiti kidogo, wapi chai?, "si uzungumuze ufanyiwe, au mambo ya maliz(s)ike" are long gone and will not be tolerated under any circumstances by the national police force, judiciary, executive and the general public.

Wholesale changes throughout the entire NPF - national police force - will be good for all the officers who will have qualified to be retained once the much needed thorough house cleaning with fagio lenye mpini wa chuma has made its several rounds in a matter of months.

There is no need for panic to paralize fear among any officers who have been in good standing throughout their careers, except for those have always been part and parcel of the notorious ODC, namely, the Order of Dirty Cops.

2012 was last year, a time when the police force was under the watch of the country's last police commissioner, while this year is 2013 where the police force is now under the watchful eyes of the country's new Inspector General, and much is expected of him and his transformational leadership without any types of failures or incompetency as was the order of the day during the previous failed administrations.

Anonymous said...

Is it any wonder that crime continues to escalate in Kenya as senior police impersonators like Joshua Waiganjo enjoy a field day undetected?

Kudos to the quick thinking police officer on night patrol who captured a man who passing himself of as one of their senior most high ranking police bosses in Rift Valley.

The police officer who were responsible for spotting a fake senior police officer who had gone undetected for five years deserve to be promoted for having done what many had failed to see and correct immediately.

As stated by the Ibrahim Waiganjo, the father of the Joshua Waiganjo, that the Rift vally PPO and other senior police officers attended a funeral of Jushua Waiganjo's close family member and were known to his family.

And Waiganjo was promoted to the rank of SSP and later to deputy PPO then asigned to the Anti Stock Theft Unit.

He was a common face at Vigilance House and during many other public functions.

How did Joshua Waiganjo work the police system for far too long without ever being detected or raising any eye borows within rank and file?

Anonymous said...

While the saga of the discovery of a fake senior police officer, deputy provincial police officer to be precise, continues to intrigue, shock, surprise, embarrasse, shame, and anger the general public over the dysfunctional state of affairs that has engulfed the Kenya police police.

New information is emerging from several corners within the police establishment stating that one of the main reasons why Gen. Ali was forced out was because of his attempts to make waves of sudden change throughout the entire police force, and for trying to upset the apple (banana) cart that been held by the well connected within the force, business circles and political enclaves.

Further, some of the officers who had been officially retired or fired during Gen. Ali's adminstration did windup finding their way back into the police force and even promoted to hire ranks in the wake of Gen Ali's departure.

In hindsight, it every much explains how there were so many security breaches, shody investigations, botched security operations, undisciplined police officers, rampart corruption, very low morale, lack of professionalism, and unchallenged misappropriation of funds earmarked for the the development of the entire police force, from top to bottom.

Inculding some of the most embarrassing and at times very shameful episodes where a lot of criminal evidence in police custody, such as everal tons of confiscated narcotics, weapons, counterfeit merchandise, and bundles of euros, dollars and pounds could just vanish from police custody or safe houses without a trace.

While at the same time, some of the most wanted international criminals were able to dodge the police dragnet for years, without forgetting the high profile criminal suspects who were able to disapper into thin air.

And the dirty laundry list of what has gone very wrong throughout the police force over the years can stretch for miles and miles if any indepedent investigative body cares to look into for all the right reasons.

Is it high time, that the new Inspector General of police, David Kimaiyo, bit the bullet as well as ate the humble pie and accpeted the fact the country needs some outside professional help from countries like the UK, Canada, Israel, Germany, and the USA to help remould or rebuild our entire police force from ground up?

Inviting in honourably retired and active police officers, as well as security consultants from the FBI, Scotland Yard, Interpol, Europol, and other angencies, would go a long way restructuring the police force, its professional culture and remodeling the next seven generations of Kenyan police officers as well.

Or shall we as usual remain contented with the status quo, business as usual plus a few cosmetic changes here and there, as for the case in the appointment of Gen Ali and later that of the country's last police commissioner, Mathew Iteere?

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