By Vera Marion
Terrorism. A word that brings terror to the minds of many. The most recent being the grisly attack at the Garissa University College. Yet in one way or the other we have to live with the fact that anything can happen; anywhere, anytime. This has led to the government putting up ‘extra’ measures to ensure that terrorism is fought. One of them is a proposal to build a wall at the Kenya-Somalia border. The recent measure on fighting terrorism is being vigilant at Government offices and some roads around and within Parliament. Yet the question that needs addressing is ‘who is the real target?’
Think of the victims of the Garissa University College. A plea from them has fallen on a deaf ear. Is the vigilance on the government offices a way to hoodwink us into believing that something is being done to fight terrorism? Going back to Westgate, it was reported that the government had prior intelligence on the impending attack, but we all know what they did with it. Westgate happened.
Granted that the government cannot be everywhere to protect everyone, but when all eyes are on the government offices and roads, what happens to Wanjiku, Onyango, Cherono and Nduta who are going about their own activities?
What happens to that passenger in a matatu or a bus who hopes that they will get to their destination safely and alive?
What happens to that child who goes to school every day and knows that the school is secure? Or to that parent that believes that their children are safe in school? Or to that congregant who believes that in the house of God such things can never happen? Or to that shopper in a supermarket, joyously shopping with least worries on terrorism on their mind?
Terrorist are smart people. Their thinking is not our thinking. They study, analyze, memorize, and then at the opportune moment, they attack. Their tactic in one attack is never the same in the next. They are not predictable. Yet in trying to fight the fight we leave ourselves vulnerable to their attacks by being predictable all the time.
How would building a wall along the Somalia border stop the inflow of people to and from Somalia? What makes the government not think that among the people who will be building the wall, a terrorist will be among them? A recruit? Or an insider? They will know all the nooks and cracks in the wall and the wall will eventually be the government’s downfall. After all they will not transport people from Nairobi to build the wall. It will have to be people around the area.
I may not know how to fight terrorism, but can we start thinking like they do; strategically. Can we play an imaginary chess game with them and try to thwart all their moves? Can the security unit be one unit in this fight? Terrorist are smart. They watch television and they read newspapers and so when we hang our dirty linen and chest thump on who is who on security matters, they are watching and they are acting on our squabbles to be their success and victory.
Terrorist are people. Intelligent people. People who are ready to die for the cause that they believe in. People who meticulously plan. So when we start saying that we are building a wall at the Somalia border, they are all but laughing at our efforts. When we are concentrated at the government offices and roads, they are smilingly watching. Waiting.
Let us think strategically in this fight and be quick to act on information, no matter how common a place the place may be, one’s life is not common. Life is sacred. Let us preserve it by all means possible. If there should be deaths, let it be as minimal as possible knowing that the security forces tried their best.