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Kenya’s security forces losing the battle for Somali hearts and mind

Discussion in 'Kenyan News and Politics' started by Askari Kanzu, May 21, 2012.

  1. Askari Kanzu

    Askari Kanzu JF-Expert Member

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    Kenya’s security forces losing the battle for Somali hearts and mind


    By RASNA WARAH

    I am glad that Charles Onyango-Obbo had the gumption to ask the “elephant-in-the room” question in hisreport on military actions in Somalia published in the EastAfrican last week:
    When does the Kenya Defence Force plan to capture the Al Shabaab-controlled city of Kismayu?

    Ever since Operation Linda Nchi started in October last year, Kenyans have been regaled with stories from the frontline about successful battles against Al Shabaab.

    But now, six months later, many Kenyans’ sense of pride in our defence forces is beginning to wane as they wonder whether the whole operation was not just a very expensive and ill-conceived show of bravado and whether the ultimate prize, Kismayu, is achievable.

    We were told the KDF was in Somalia for the long haul and that it would not abandon the Somali people before rooting out Al Shabaab.

    Yet, as the term of the Transitional Federal Government expires in August this year, questions are being raised about how long our defence forces can justify their stay in southern Somalia, and whether after being re-hatted as African Union forces, they still aim to take Kismayu.

    Some things are also not adding up. Kenyans were told that Operation Linda Nchi was a reaction against a spate of kidnappings by terrorists at the coast.

    Yet, when Judith Tebbutt, a British national, was released in March this year, news reports (and Tebbutt herself) described her kidnappers as pirates, not terrorists.

    Did the government make up the Al Shabaab story to lend urgency to the incursion?

    Meanwhile, reports about human rights abuses against Kenyan Somalis and Somali refugees by the Kenyan police have further eroded the credibility of those we have entrusted to protect and defend us.

    A report by Human Rights Watch documents cases of rape, attempted sexual assault, beatings, arbitrary detention, extortion, looting and destruction of property in the towns of Garissa, Mandera and Wajir and in the Dadaab refugee camp.

    These abuses were apparently retaliation against grenade and improvised explosive device attacks targeting both security forces and civilians in November and December last year in the towns and in the camp.

    Human Rights Watch says that after the attacks, large numbers of ethnic Somali Kenyans and Somali refugees were rounded up and subjected to severe mistreatment.

    Security forces also allegedly robbed many of their victims. One refugee was not only robbed of two mobile phones and Sh5,000, but had to pay a bribe of Sh7,500 to be released. He didn’t file a police report because he did not believe he would get justice.

    According to the watchdog organisation, not only do the violent and indiscriminate responses of the security forces constitute serious human rights violations, the abuses are also alienating Kenyans of Somali origin at the very moment when they most need the trust and confidence of the local populations in order to identify the militants behind the attacks.

    The Kenya Government has apparently promised to investigate these abuses, but no police or security officers have been charged, disciplined or otherwise held accountable.

    The Ministry of Defence has taken some steps by forming an ad hoc board of inquiry, but it is not clear what will be done if the reports of abuse are confirmed.

    This is an unfortunate development given that the KDF is fast losing the battle for Somali hearts and minds due to what now appears to be an un-focused military strategy.


    I was among those Kenyans who believed that the country held the moral high ground when it took the decision to protect its northern neighbour from the clutches of Al Shabaab. Now I am not so sure.

    It appears that the military decision to take Kismayu was politically and economically motivated, and coincided with the Kenya-supported Azania project, which itself is fraught with difficulties.

    Some analysts believe that the kind of federalism advocated by Kenya and the UN-sponsored road-map for Somalia could further fragment the country and cause more instability in the long term.

    BRASNA WARAH
    rasna.warah@gmail.com
    This article was first published in the Daily Nation
     
  2. kshaka

    kshaka JF-Expert Member

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    May 22, 2012
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    How about Somalis (and Al-Shabaab's apologist, not least on this forum) start worrying about our hearts and minds.? After all, they are the one's who pose a problem to the rest of us, no? Maybe they are the one's who are alienating us and they certainly need our trust and confidence more than we need theirs!
     
  3. Askari Kanzu

    Askari Kanzu JF-Expert Member

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    Tarishi hauawi
    - a Swahili saying.

    Direct your grievances to the author of the article, Rasna Warah. There is an e-mail provided at the end of the article. That would be a proper way to lodge your complaints cum frustrations!
     
  4. kshaka

    kshaka JF-Expert Member

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    I'm not at all frustrated, just airing my opinion. Isn't that why you introduced this article here...so that we could opine on it?
     
  5. Askari Kanzu

    Askari Kanzu JF-Expert Member

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    Ok, I somehow thought you sounded a bit paranoid when you alluded to some Al-Shaabab apologists in this forum!
     
  6. Bantugbro

    Bantugbro JF-Expert Member

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    May 22, 2012
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    What is KDF still doing in the outskirts of Kismayu they should go back home....:lol: and protect their borders from within....
     
  7. m

    mwathai Senior Member

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    Does the author know the difference between KDF operating inside Somalia and the Kenyan Police operating on kenyan soil. The offences she alleges are committed by Kenya police inside an the KDF be losing the battle for the hearts of Somalis living in Somalia. Agreed, we don't the kind info we used to get when KDF was operating under its own command. Re-hatting it as part of the Au force has chnaged afew things including its own targets.
     
  8. t

    tomilay Member

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    May 24, 2012
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    Askari wants munung'uniko without interference.
    /
     
  9. Askari Kanzu

    Askari Kanzu JF-Expert Member

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    It seems such a long time you last mentioned Askari!
     
  10. Lonestriker

    Lonestriker JF-Expert Member

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    Whether it's inside or outside,it is still the same KDF...it is basically tied to one thing.
     
  11. Lonestriker

    Lonestriker JF-Expert Member

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    Based on what Col.Oguna was yapping KDF has failed to capture Kismayu.Unfortunately when we tried to point out weaknesses in the kenyan invasion we branded haters and even xenophobic.How do you explain a situation where a colonel boasting that they are going to capture Kismayu in two weeks time and yet six months later Kismayu has not been captured....So much for blind patriotism!
     
  12. livefire

    livefire JF-Expert Member

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    let the military/paramilitary units have a rest...(maisha shwari)...war is a business hence u dont rush to terminate your source of revenue plus the UN/AU money hasnt started flowing till late may when KDF signs a MOU with concerned parties and financiers. Ask Uganda why they are never in a hurry, free training ground plus everything comes cost free. At present KDF advancement is limited to their own terms, MIC guys to call the shots soon after the KDF/UN sign the amisom MOU later this month.
     
  13. kshaka

    kshaka JF-Expert Member

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    Look, I know you guys are really looking forward to seeing Kenya lose...all we are saying is that maybe you should keep the champagne on ice for a while longer, it hasn't happened yet and in fact, may never happen.

    FYI, it's taken AMISOM 5 years to push AS out of Mogadishu. Now, Kismayu is their HQ...do the maths
     
  14. livefire

    livefire JF-Expert Member

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    you are telling them alot....they forget Uganda was contained in a 20 by 20 area for 5+ years before they made a breakthrough out of mogadishu which was only after KDFs inclusion in the somalia foray. If not, uganda would be in Mogadishu resting as they were accustomed and it worked for them....they saw the need to modernise.lol. Ethiopia not wanting to be outdone hurriedly deployed its forces in a clobbering marching contest. KDF are infact ahead of time, let the nay sayers eat hot potatoes.
     
  15. Askari Kanzu

    Askari Kanzu JF-Expert Member

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    this fatalistic and almost apologetic language is in sharp contrast to the nationalistic outbursts that characterized those early days of operation lindanchi, and which caused us (in this forum) sleepless nights, to say the least.

    Tulisema mpaka tukachoka, lakini hamkutaka kusikia.

    Asiyesikia la mkuu huvunjika guu!
    (methali ya wahenga)
     
  16. kshaka

    kshaka JF-Expert Member

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    Now, let's hear what an actuall military analyst has to say;

    Ethiopia: Wars On Many Fronts

    Basically, the Ethiopians want us to reprise their failed strategy from 2006 and the AS cheerleaders here seem to think that it's a failure for Kenya not to do so. Why would you jump into a hole after you've seen your neighbour falling into it?

    If you guys have read your Clausewitz (doubtful, I know), you'll have come across the, now well worn, adage that war is a continuation of politic by other means. Doing the fighting without taking care of the politics as the Ethiopians are doing and some here seem to expect is a recipe for failure...Kenya is doing its politics; sit back, watch and learn!
     
  17. livefire

    livefire JF-Expert Member

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    dude!!!!....i thought i was through with you. Nothing has changed in KDF's theater so take your methalis and tuck safely in a dictionary, kamusi or wherever it came from. KDF still posses the lethal posturing.....only waiting on UN's approval, (MOU)... a bankers cheque to go blitzkering on al kebab.
     
  18. Askari Kanzu

    Askari Kanzu JF-Expert Member

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    wewe livefire acha kukurupuka. I do not need a dictionary to write Swahili proverbs. what you are saying about KDF is tantamount to chest-thumping; insipid and sapless. time will tell!
     
  19. BabuK

    BabuK JF-Expert Member

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    I believe in scientific warfare backed up with hightec proactive reconnaissance that completely dismantles/destroys enemy positions and power to attack,ambush or counter-attack. AU/KDF need to sit down togather to review their combat plan if they are to succeed against Alshabab otherwise their wrath will come down heavily on Kenyan soil or who ever they see as an aggressor or traitor!!!
     
  20. Lonestriker

    Lonestriker JF-Expert Member

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    Ujinga ndio huu!Can't you see beyond you nose since it seems anyone who question anything kenyan is against Kenya.What about all those Kenyans who were against the war from the beginning?What of the many international military experts who were skeptical of your tactics,the manner of invasion,the timing...many of the reasons have turned to be true.It is high time you learn to attack the message and not the messenger thou I know it is hard since you come from an environment where politics is centered on attacking the player and not going after the ball.
    Why should I re-do the Maths?Don't you think Col Oguna and bunches like you ought to have done the Maths when your were busy yapping about taking Kismayu in two weeks time back then in early November...Hesabu ngumu!
     
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