Confederation Council Foundation for Africa Inc.,
Published on Sep 27, 2013
From: otieno sungu
Sent: Saturday, September 28, 2013 3:33 PM
Subject: [uchunguzionline] RADICAL APPROACH TO ENHANCING OUR SECURITY.
Uhuru reads the Riot Act on people he accuses of creating ‘a parallel centre of power’
Updated Saturday, September 28th 2013 at 21:47 GMT +3
|Secretary to the Cabinet, Francis Kimemia [PHOTO:STANDARD]|
Although his official title is Secretary to the Cabinet, Francis Kimemia has been performing duties of the powerful office of the Head of Public Service.
But he won’t perform that role any more. That job has been assigned to former Treasury PS Joseph Kinyua.
And Kimemia’s duties have been reduced to writing invitation letters to Cabinet secretaries to attend Cabinet meetings, taking minutes during the meetings and disseminating the same to the secretaries. In a sense, the Westgate attack has cost the former Head of Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet his job.
At a Cabinet meeting in State House, Nairobi on Thursday, President Uhuru Kenyatta is said to have read the Riot Act on people he accused of creating a “parallel centre of power” within the government.
The President is said to have seethed with rage after it emerged that some senior officials in Harambee House, the former Office of the President, were issuing unauthorised instructions over the Westgate Mall attack.
And immediately after making his point, the President introduced Joseph Kinyua to replace former powerful PS in the Office of the President Mr Kimemia.
Kimemia was also at the Thursday meeting in his capacity as Secretary to the Cabinet.It also emerged that Kimemia chaired the National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC) meeting where the National Intelligence Service (NIS) says it provided information on the impending attack at the mall. “He is secretary to the Cabinet and only God knows in what capacity he was chairing that meeting,” said a close Uhuru ally at Harambee House.
A Cabinet secretary told The Standard on Sunday that Uhuru was furious when he addressed the Thursday Cabinet meeting.
“Some of you think there are two centres of power. I am the President and there is also the Deputy President. There is no other centre of power,” Uhuru is said to have warned at the State House meeting. It was after he made the tough remarks that Uhuru introduced the appointment of Kinyua as the Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service.
Concern was raised when Interior Permanent Secretary Mutea Iringo called a Press conference at Harambee House when his boss Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku was addressing another one at Peponi Road in Westlands.
“It is not possible Iringo could have called that Press conference without the knowledge of Kimemia who is in charge of affairs at Harambee House,” said our source.
The Cabinet secretary was with the military generals and top police officers including Inspector General David Kimaiyo, and CID boss Ndegwa Muhoro when he was issuing the Press statement on Sunday evening.
The team had opened an operation camp near the site of the attack but Kimemia and Iringo were conspicuously absent.
“The president noticed that because the whole world could see there was somebody who was trying to create another centre of power,” said an official from the Executive Office of The President.
The management of the crisis became more complicated when the Interior ministry started tweeting and releasing conflicting information. At the same time, the police service was releasing different information from what was coming out of Harambee House.
The social media went viral on the conflicting information, which top government officials blamed on Kimemia. According to our source, Kimemia had not realised that Harambee House was no longer the Office the President.
“The last time Uhuru was at Harambee House was when he was President-elect and has since worked from his office at State House,” our source explained.
It appears Uhuru was surprised to learn that Kimemia was the head of NSAC and was getting all security briefs, but some of the information was not reaching him and other agencies.
“The information on the Westgate attack was given but it did not go anywhere. The NIS had informed them what vehicles the Al-Shabaab would use and at what time they would attack. Kimaiyo was also said to have been there and that is why NIS keeps saying they gave information to top officials at OP and police,” said our source.
State House officials say Kimemia had taken too long to understand that he was secretary to the Cabinet, whose job is to write letters of invitation, take minutes and circulate them.
“ Kimemia surprisingly is still chair of NSAC just like he was when he was head of public service when he is only supposed to be secretary to the Cabinet,” said another senior officer at the ministry of Interior.
When The Standard on Sunday contacted Kimemia to comment on the unfolding events, he sent an SMS saying: “No comment. I know what I am supposed to do.”
The Standard on Sunday is in possession of letters Kimemia wrote to Cabinet secretaries while designating himself as Permanent Secretary, to the Cabinet and Head of Public service.
In the letter dated 24th June, Reference number OP.CAB.9/1, the “Head of Public Service” an office that was scrapped with the beginning of Uhuru’s term, he instructed all Cabinet secretaries not to gazette any new appointments of chairpersons or chief executive officers in the government parastatals unless in concurrence with the Office of the President.
Al Shabaab now turns to poaching to fund terror activities
Updated Saturday, September 28th 2013 at 22:27 GMT +3
By DANIEL WESANGULA
In May 2007, three Kenya Wildlife Service rangers died at the hands of Somali bandits in a pre-dawn shoot-out. The gang of poachers was crossing the Tana River on their way to Tsavo East National Park. The incursion was halted, but the eventual cost in human life from this emerging deadly trend was to be massive.
Six years later, an 18-month investigation by South African environmental groups Maisha Consulting and Elephant Action League in the involvement of Al Shabaab on trafficking ivory through Kenya established that this trade could be supplying up to 40 per cent of the funds needed to keep the merchants of terror in business.
“The deadly path of conflict ivory starts with the slaughter of innocent animals and ends in the slaughter of innocent people. It is a source of funding for terrorist organisations that transcends cruelty. It is the ‘white gold’ for African jihad; white for its colour and gold for its value,” Andrea Crosta the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the South African independent conservation organisation Elephant Action League (EAL) told The Standard on Sunday.
A parallel can be drawn between Kenya’s incursion into Somalia and increased poaching incidents within the country. With every inch of ground gained by the Kenya Defence Forces, a mile is lost back home in the never-ending war of protecting the country’s wildlife.
“Surrounded by porous borders, Kenya has long been a transit point for illegal ivory. The KWS is doing a commendable job but in an attempt to crack down on this trade, dealers looking for fast money and an easier market have turned to a new player in the game – Al Shabaab,” Crosta said.
“This reality is too close to home to pass as a mere coincidence,” Crosta said. Although poaching has been ongoing for decades, the cutting off of Al Shabaab’s income streams has forced them to look elsewhere for funding.
Kismayu had long stood as an economic bastion for the militia group. A UN Monitoring Group says outside Mogadishu, the port city was the second most important operational base for the Al Qaeda-linked militants.
In 2008, Al Shabaab took over Kismayu, the third-largest city in Somalia, after fighting a fierce three-day battle against pro-government militias. The group quickly imposed harsh administrative rules grounded in Sharia law on the port’s business community. To raise revenue, Al Shabaab increased the fees for importing and exporting goods through the port by 30 per cent.
The most important economic activities in Kismayu are fishing, the import of industrial goods and the export of primary goods such as livestock, charcoal, and khat to the Gulf States. Just from tax impositions, it is estimated that the group collected upwards of over Sh2.1 million every month. “Through trade with the gulf states it is estimated that they earned more than Sh42 million every month from charcoal trade,” a Kenyan army official not authorised to speak on Kenya’s operations in Somalia told The Standard on Sunday.
In total, a UN report states that “Al Shabaab collected an estimated between Sh2.9 and Sh4.2 billion annually in custom tolls and taxes on businesses in Kismayu and two secondary ports higher up the coast.”
Quick, alternative sources of income had to be identified for the survival of the Mujahedeen.
“The network is sophisticated and is composed of poachers, small and big-time brokers, and informants, all linked to the trade in ivory and rhino horn. Our enquiries reached across the border into neighbouring Somalia where we established a link between the traders and Al Shabaab… Shabaab has been actively buying and selling ivory as a means of funding their militant operations,” Crosta said.
The investigation by EAL shows that the role of Al Shabaab in ivory trafficking is of immense concern.
“The harsh environment in which they operate, deprived of natural resources makes ivory and rhino horn trade that much more important,” says the report.
However, Al Shabaab’s role is not limited to poaching and brokerage, but they provide a crucial link in the illegal trade chain.
“Shabaab’s strength and conviction to continue its fight will increase its need for fighters, arms, ammunition and other equipment, and increase its need for funds. As the West continues to fight radical terrorist organisations through seizing assets in offshore bank accounts, straw companies and ‘charities’, these organisations, including Al Shabaab, will rely increasingly on trafficking in contraband as a source of finance,” the investigation reveals.
The report indicates that between one to three tonnes of ivory; fetching a price of roughly Sh17,000 per kilogramme, pass through the hands of Al Shabaab every month. Meaning that ivory accounts for between Sh17 million and Sh51 million every month.
So far this year, more than 8.5 tonnes of ivory have been seized. With an estimated Asia black market value of almost Sh300,000 per kilogramme, this means a total of more than Sh2.5 billion worth of ivory has been seized.
Experts say the seized ivory only represent 20 per cent of the black market circulation.
“Most of the ivory we seize is on transit from other countries and to other destinations,” Paul Mbugua, KWS spokesperson said.
So far, none of these hauls has officially been attributed to the decimated Kenyan herds.
But it is a fact that following the fall of Kismayu, Kenya has seen an exponential increase in ivory-related poaching. From 283 in 2011, 385 deaths were recorded in 2012. This year may be worse.
Already 235 elephants have been killed with 35 rhinos murdered for their horns compared to 29 the whole of last year. The highlight being the brazen daytime attack and killing of a white rhino at the Nairobi National Park — Kenya’s most guarded animal sanctuary.
“This avenue provides enough income for running a large part of their activities,” Crosta said. “This is not only dangerous for our animal population, but most importantly for our survival.”
In Kenya’s arid north, an area bordering Somalia, an AK-47 costs downwards of Sh50,000. A bullet costs as little as Sh70. An Imigration official at a border crossing earns a basic salary of between Sh40,000 and Sh50,000. With an outwardly corrupt public service, a successful poacher-terrorist will find little difficulty in arming himself, killing wildlife and eventually smuggling out his loot to the outside buyers and rearming himself for a deadlier assault in “enemy territory”.
EAL says corruption is not just the deadliest enemy of conservation but also of any other effort to push Africa forward. In their investigations not only in Kenya, corruption comes up all the time and at all levels. “If we fail to act now, militant groups like Al Shabaab will lay down their roots deep in the African landscape, destroying its heritage for generations to come. Dangerous and unpredictable, Al Shabaab’s involvement in ivory trade brings with it an alarming dimension, a dimension the world cannot afford to ignore,” concludes the report.
However, ivory plays just one part in the bigger picture. Foreign funding through the Hawala system and disguised religious charities pursuing ulterior agenda, supplemented by criminal activities, enables Al Shabaab to hold on to its war. The criminal activities include taxation of businesses and NGOs, trafficking in drugs, arms and humans, and involvement in counterfeit currency.
“This is not the major one, but it plays a huge part in their financing,” Crosta said.
Al Shabaab is not alone in the plunder of wildlife to sustain their insurgencies.
“Other militias involved in poaching, like the Lord’s Resistance Army or the Sudanese Janjaweed, usually kill elephants themselves, sometimes very far from home. Al Shabaab does not kill elephants. They leave the dirty job to locals and buy the ivory from known traffickers. For them ivory is just a business, like charcoal and the group remains unique in its role as a very organised buyer,” said Crosta.
Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu)
Somalia: Armed Men Attack Government Military Bases and Kenyan Bases in the Lower Juba Region27 September 2013
Residents confirmed to Shabelle radio that the attackers believed to be members of Alshabab fighters attacked a military base manned by Kenyan peacekeeping forces and Somali military soldiers.
Heavy gunfire that lasted hours was heard at nearby settlements.
In other news armed men attacked another military base located near the Kismayu University which is operated by the Kenyan troops.
Somali government troops together with the Kenyan troops fought off the attackers after a slight confrontation which lasted for hours.
The real casualties caused by the last night attacks has not yet been revealed by the authorities of the lower Juba region
Voice of America (Washington, DC)
Kenya Holding 8 Suspects in Mall Attack
Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku told reporters Friday that authorities have released three other suspects.
Earlier this week, officials said five suspected militants were killed as troops and police worked to regain control of the Westgate mall.
The official total death toll from the siege stands at 72.
Investigators continue to sift through the wreckage at the partially collapsed mall. On Friday, the Kenyan Red Cross said 59 people remain missing following the attack.
Lenku said no additional bodies have been recovered from the site.
"According to police records, there are no formal or official reports of missing persons who could have been at the mall at the time of the attack."
The Somalia-based al-Shabab extremist group claimed responsibility for the attack and is vowing to carry out other acts of violence against Kenya.
On Twitter Friday, the militant group said its attack on the Westgate mall was "just the premiere of Act 1."
Al-Shabab says it wants Kenyan forces to withdraw from Somalia. Kenyan forces entered neighboring Somalia two years ago to help fight the militant group, which has been fighting to turn Somalia into a strict Islamic state.
The Associated Press said Friday that investigators had recovered a vehicle that was believed to have been used by some of the attackers.
Human Rights Watch urged Kenyan authorities to "swiftly" catch and prosecute the mall attackers. In a statement, the group's Africa director, Daniel Bekele, said "nothing justifies the cruel contempt for human life" that the attackers had shown.
In another development, the International Criminal Court announced it has extended Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto's absence from his trial until Wednesday.
The ICC said it granted the extension to allow Ruto to attend a memorial service for mall victims on Tuesday.
Ruto faces charges of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the deadly ethnic violence that followed Kenya's 2007 election.
Sabahi (Washington, DC)
Kenya: Westgate Attack Reveals Gaping Security HolesBy Rajab Ramah and Julius Kithuure, , and Bosire Boniface in Garissa, 27 September 2013
Nairobi — As renewed threats and mockery from al-Shabaab have emerged in the past few days, the Kenyan people are still looking for answers as to how the bloody siege at Nairobi's Westgate mall happened -- and whether it could have been prevented.
By now, many of the details of the siege are understood: Last Saturday a group of al-Shabaab gunmen stormed the upscale shopping centre, indiscriminately shooting shoppers and tossing grenades into crowds of innocent civilians. In a standoff that lasted four days, the gunmen killed at least 67 people and held an unknown number of others as hostages until Kenyan security forces gained control of the situation Tuesday.
But in the aftermath of the attack, many questions remain unanswered: What happened to the remaining hostages? How were the attackers able to gain access to the shopping centre and hold it for so long? Who was the mastermind behind the attack and where is he or she now?
Did Kenyan security and intelligence forces receive prior warnings about the attack, and could they have prevented it?
"Terrorist attacks do not happen out of blue," said security analyst Raymond Kipkorir Cheruiyot, a retired Kenyan armed forces colonel and co-owner of Multi Security Consultants Limited in Nairobi.
"Terrorists execute an attack when security agencies are complacent," he told Sabahi. "Westgate shopping mall was a high profile complex, which should have been under intense 24-hour security surveillance and armed police guard. That way, the planning of this attack would have been detected and thwarted."
Cheruiyot criticised the Kenyan government's "disjointed" response to what he described as a sophisticated attack that "a crack team of terrorists" carefully planned and executed.
The authorities should place such high value targets under constant surveillance, review existing security arrangements and procedures, and monitor locals who sympathise with or support terrorists, he said.
"Yes, our security team response time was good, but their performance would have been more clinical had they acted on external intelligence warnings that Westgate mall was a soft target of high value to terrorists," Cheruiyot said.
A prior terror alert
In August, security officials issued a terror alert for Kenya, saying they had received intelligence reports that at least five al-Shabaab operatives had entered Mombasa from Somalia and may have been plotting an attack to coincide with the first anniversary of radical cleric Aboud Rogo Mohammed's killing.
"A security alert in Mombasa or Kisumu should be a concern for the entire country," said retired army Major Bishar Hajji Abdullahi. "It is evident that someone was lax."
"In the aftermath of this incident, those who know they are culpable should just resign, or the president [should] sack them," Abdullahi told Sabahi.
The Kenyan Defence Forces and allied troops have done a good job dispersing al-Shabaab inside Somalia, but Kenya's security services should have launched a manhunt for suspected militants on the home soil once they got those intelligence reports, he said.
David Ochami, a Mombasa-based journalist who covers Middle East and Horn of Africa militant groups, said there were signs of a potential attack in the weeks leading up to the Westgate siege.
Al-Shabaab and its sympathizers had been very active on social media in the weeks before the attack, for example, and their messages could have provided clues to prevent the attack, he said.
"Some of the postings may turn out to be a hoax to instil fear or posturing, but they should be deciphered and taken very seriously," Ochami told Sabahi.
Even during the siege at the mall, al-Shabaab frequently posted messages about it on Twitter, Ochami said, underscoring the importance of paying attention to how terrorists use social media as they mount and execute such attacks.
Despite having at least five Twitter handles shut down this year, including three in the aftermath of the Westgate attack, al-Shabaab is still using the social media site to threaten and mock its enemies.
In a series of tweets Thursday, al-Shabaab criticised the Kenyan government for the apparent conflicting information it provided following the attack.
"The Kenyan government is still in disarray & it won't be until several months when it fully comprehends exactly what took place at Westgate," al-Shabaab said. "Their contradictory version of events is a sure sign that the Kenyan govt is beginning to suffer from severe constipation of ideas."
The militants went on to boast of their "mesmeric performance" at Westgate, keeping Kenyans "completely enthralled for more than 100 hours".
Al-Shabaab renewed its threats to Kenyans saying, "... despair not folks, that was just the première of Act 1".
A tipoff Westgate attack was coming
Meanwhile, Kenyan lawmaker Mike Sonko made headlines this week by claiming that well before the attack he had received information that terrorists were planning to strike Westgate mall and other Nairobi landmarks.
He said he had relayed this information to the authorities, but they did not take it seriously enough.
According to Sonko, who represents the Westlands constituency where Westgate is located, two women approached him about three months ago with information that al-Shabaab militants had rented a house in the Parklands neighbourhood of Nairobi and were plotting such attacks.
"They told me the attacks were targeting Westgate, Village Market, the Kenyatta International Conference Centre and parliament," he told Sabahi. "I assisted them in recording a statement with the police and intelligence officers so a further probe could be carried out."
The National Security Intelligence Service and other security organs failed to act on the tip, Sonko said. He shared this information with the Senate on September 24th, the day the standoff at Westgate ended.
Fellow lawmaker Asman Kamama, who chairs the National Assembly's Administration and National Security Committee, said the mall attack exposed lapses in intelligence gathering.
"The way the attacks were carried out, it was well co-ordinated, meaning it was something that was well planned and executed," Kamama, a United Republican Party member who represents Baringo County, told Sabahi.
"And for our intelligence to have had no clue on the impending attacks, means there [were] huge security failures that we must audit and [for which we must] hold individuals culpable," he said.
The attack on Westgate not only stunned the nation but appeared to catch defenders of the homeland off guard, officials told Sabahi.
"In all honesty, this was the first time Kenya has witnessed such an audacious terrorist attack on a mall using guns," said Director of Police Reforms Jonathan Kosgei. "We knew of bombs, [but] this new style was hard to predict. However, the security forces did their best to contain the situation in the prevailing disadvantaged circumstances."
"This attack will probably precipitate a national debate [about] whether to arm security guards or not," he told Sabahi. "With only a wooden baton and a whistle, guards are so vulnerable and totally unable to stop an armed assault."
Another factor to consider is how Westgate revealed al-Shabaab's dramatic change in military tactics to commando-like operations, according to Western region Commissioner James ole Seriani.
The Westgate massacre is a wakeup call, Seriani said, and the public should be alert so that terrorists can be neutralised before they cross into Kenya.
The Kenyan government was blamed, too, for issuing conflicting information to the press as the terror at Westgate unfolded.
But Principal Secretary for Internal Security Mutea Iringo defended the government, saying it was deliberate tactic aimed at throwing the terrorists off balance.
"Silence is also a tactical weapon," he told Sabahi. "You do not want to engage in a public shouting match with a terrorist organisation."
While it was an unfortunate incident, Iringo said he hoped the Westgate attack would encourage world leaders to take action against al-Shabaab.
"Al-Shabaab is now not only a Somali headache but part and parcel of a global terrorist network that needs the world governments to dismantle," he said.
Top security officers are expected to appear before parliament next week as part of the investigation into the terrorist attack.
"The time for responsibility and accountability has come," defence committee chairman Ndung'u Gethenji said, according to Kenya's Daily Nation.
"We shall conduct a thorough, in-depth, incisive and unforgiving investigation into the events and the failures that led to the attack," he said at parliament shortly after his committee held a closed door meeting Thursday.
Gethenji said the joint committee, comprising members of the defence and national security committees, will call Kenya's intelligence chief, the Interior Cabinet Secretary, the Inspector General of Police and other top security officials to shed light on the attack.