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Friday, April 03, 2015

Garissa Attack And The Man Of The Moment, Joseph Nkaissery

If there is somebody who has fitted into their job the way a glove would fit to a hand then it has to be one Joseph Nkaissery (pictured), Interior Cabinet Secretary. Watching him field questions during the Garissa terrorist siege was reassuring for many Kenyans. You could see calm control and confidence.

It is said that when things go right and you decide to write about it, it makes for boring journalism. Folks prefer bad news and constant criticism. They make for much better headlines.

Watching Nkaissery operate under pressure it becomes very clear what the Jubilee government was missing in this docket. A link between the security arm of government and the political side. Big shoes that can only be fitted by somebody whom the military top brass can respect. The current CS is just one such person being "senior" to all the top soldiers currently serving.

Nkaissery was previously in the Kenya Defence Forces, rising to the rank of major-general in the Kenya Army. He also served as a commandant of the Armed Forces Training College. He retired in December 2002 after 29 years of military service. Interestingly it was during his tenure as Assistant Minister in the Ministry of Defence under Kibaki that Kenya Defence Forces invaded Somalia and the 2011 Operation Linda Nchi  launched.

Recent security decisions made by the cabinet secretary have been spot on. Sections of the press have tried to pin the Garissa University incident to his office claiming that not enough was done to act on intelligence reports that indicated the campus could be attacked. That is a very naïve way of analyzing things. Dozens of intelligence reports are received and it is impossible to act on all of them. However to Nkaissery's credit he responded to this one by arranging for armed Administration policemen to guard the university around the clock. This was in place in the week leading to the attack. This move had an impact, albeit a small one because the terrorist met resistance right from the entrance and mercifully one of the APs survived and is currently hospitalized at Kenyatta National Hospital.

If there is anybody who has a fighting chance of sorting out insecurity then that man has to be Nkaissery. Keep up the good work waziri.

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