What to make of earnest, not-so-subtle endeavours to militarise Kenya’ police ‘force’

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By Arkan Yasin

On January 16, 2017, President Uhuru Kenyatta unveiled over 500 police vehicles in what has been termed a police modernisation programme.
Local news and media organisations maintained an event driven perspective and therefore missed the significance of this insidious programme. Here, we will endeavour to assess the broader context in which the militarisation of the police force – for that is what it is – continues to happen.

The socio-anthropological ideological blindness of Africa’s intellectual elites does not allow them to perceive the suspension of the Constitution and implementation of de-facto Martial Law by the passing/implementation of the “Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2012”.

The fracture of the illusion of a Protectorate Rechtsstaat (loosely, legal state) did not begin with President Uhuru’s January 2017 directive to security services to deal with incitement “ruthlessly”; it began far earlier, with a conspiracy that nobody even bothered to conceal.

De-facto martial law

Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga during his reign stated during a press conference that he initiated a meeting between the Judiciary and Security Organs on May 29, 2014, that was attended by the entire Leadership of the National Security Organs, Cabinet Secretaries for Interior and Defence, Inspector General of the Kenya Police, Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces, Director General of the National Intelligence Service and representatives from the Director of Public Prosecutions.

He revealed, “This meeting is a culmination of several conversations between myself and various security agencies that have been going on for two years. These meetings are based on the understanding that when it comes to issues of security and welfare of citizens, the three arms must coordinate and collaborate closely.”

He went on to address and clothe what he as a jurist realised to be obvious contradiction of key tenets of separation of powers, saying, “Although the various organs of State are independent, the Constitution also requires them to be interdependent.”

This set the stage for suspension of the Constitution by concluding ominously, “Terrorism is a war by unconventional means… we must be imaginative in fighting this war”.
Note, NOT Constitutional BUT “imaginative”.

Earlier on, on May 26, 2014, Cyrus Ombati of The Standard had quoted Deputy President William Ruto criticising magistrates and judges for releasing terror suspects on bond, thus impeding the war on terror: “We call on all players in the justice, law and order sector to stand with Kenyans”.

Note, NOT with the Law.

CJ Mutunga then confessed to coming under immense pressure to suspend the Constitution. A confession of this magnitude by the head of the judicial pillar should have been cause for great alarm but, alas, we are living in the age of schools of ignorance in oceans of information. Ultimately the Chief Justice buckled and formed a team to review bail terms for those charged under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

Mutunga’s counter-part in the Executive arm – Attorney General Githu Muigai – a known lackey for the imperial elite and traitor to Civil Society, in 2014, at different times, proposed laws to regulate religious institutions and social media, following the imperialist’s cue in the proposal for control of social media. His proposal came within 7 days after Theresa May, then British Home Secretary, announced a proposal for what was aptly dubbed “Snooper’s Charter” (which has since been passed). Endeavouring to calm the Christian community, he revealed the Christians were not the targets of the proposed laws but “small groupings accused of brainwashing followers and engaging in radicalisation and other ‘dangerous doctrines’”, insidiously pointing to Muslims. Fortunately, the Christian church leaders knew with such a law in place, it was only a matter of time it was used against them too and remained adamant that it must not come to fruition; yet again, and not for the first time in history, Muslims were saved from a systemic onslaught by an anti-theistic system by Christians.

Therefore, act by act

…To continue reading this story, please buy a copy of The Nairobi Law Monthly Magazine available in all leading supermarkets and street vendors at only kshs 350

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