Mpeketoni Terror Decree: Who is killing people in Lamu?
Francis Omondi is a priest in the ACK…
How are we to understand what happened in Mpeketoni? Was it a terrorist attack? Was it a local political dispute? Kenyans need to weigh the claims and counter claims carefully. President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Tuesday: “the two attacks in Mpeketoni were politically orchestrated.” He thus exonerated Al Shaabab terrorists, but to deny they are the perpetrators when they have already claimed responsibility, raises huge questions. Is the President trying to use this tragedy for his own purposes?
On February 27, 1933, the German Reichstag (Parliament) was set on fire. To this day no-one is absolutely sure who did the deed, but the public was led to believe that it was an act of Communists plotting against the government of Adolph Hitler who had been in power only a month. The event became pivotal in the establishment of Nazi Germany. Hitler used it as a pretext to persuade President Paul von Hindenburg to pass an emergency decree to suspend civil liberties. Is there a danger of a repeat of something similar here in Kenya in 2014?
The President in effect pointed an accusing finger at political leaders who have heightened political tension in the country and vowed that the Jubilee administration will not tolerate “hate mongers, reckless leaders and negative propagandists”.
“The attack in Lamu was well planned, orchestrated and politically motivated ethnic violence against a Kenyan community, with the intention of profiling and evicting them for political reasons. This, therefore, was not an Al Shabaab terrorist attack,” the president further said.
In his televised address, President Kenyatta admitted, “that intelligence on the Mpeketoni attack was made available to the Lamu security team in advance but they ignored it.” Why then blame it on politicians? How can he absolve himself and the security team in the region and the country from blame? Why did they not deal with them and present the evidence to Kenyans of his claim?
We now know that the Somali-based Al Shaabab terrorists, who have links with Al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for both attacks through their radio Aladus. Eyewitnesses and survivors have also claimed that these attackers were from Al Shabaab. It is very possible that this could be so judging from the proximity of the town to the Boni forest. Where does the notion that ‘“Evidence indicates that local political networks were involved in the planning and execution of the heinous attacks. This also played into the opportunist networks of other criminal gangs,”as the President said’ come from ?
Let’s assume that it’s political, why did the President and the security council who were duly warned of the impending attack fail to counter it? Mpeketoni has a police station. Yet they melted away. The OCPD and County command office is 24 km away. They never responded to the SOS. In fact there was no SOS. Witu has a police station. All these have vowed to protect Kenyans. So why were they not mobilised? If they could not cope, why not deploy the army who were 35 km away at Baragoi camp? Who silenced the guns of Kenya’s government forces against the aggressor?
One cannot help but to make inferences to the German parliament (Reichstag) building being burned down due to arson. The government portrayed the fire as part of a Communist effort to overthrow the state.
A decree for the ‘Protection of the German People’ had been made on February 4, 1933 using emergency constitutional powers, but this was not enough for Adolf Hitler, since this decree only placed constraints on the press and authorized the police to ban political meetings and marches. They craved for a more dramatic and permanent suspension of civil rights this was occasioned by the February 27 burning of the parliament building.
The unclear circumstances of the fire gave room for a propaganda maneuver, the coalition government (Nazis and the German Nationalist People’s Party) blamed the Communists. They exploited the Reichstag fire to secure an approval for an emergency decree, of February 28. The Reichstag Fire Decree as it became popularly known, suspended the right to assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and other constitutional protections, including all restraints on police investigations.
I wish to be wrong on this but all indications are pointing the Reichstag decree way for the Jubilee administration. They wanted and excuse to clampdown on the irritant CORD and that they got it in the Mpeketoni massacre. There is little correlation between terror attacks and the rallies held so far. The opposition feel they have a cause to continue on this trail while the Jubilee administration will have none of it! Is this then a move to suspend the freedoms picketing and challenging errors of the government?
Rev. Canon Francis Omondi
All saints Cathedral Diocese