The Star (Nairobi)

12 July 2014

Kenya: Swift Progress Needed On the Security Surveillance System

editorial

In any of the great cities of this world - London, Paris, New York, etc - it is taken for granted that there is no such thing as privacy on the streets. That just about every step you take on the pavement, will be recorded by some street-level closed-circuit-TV camera, linked to face recognition software and all the other technology which makes it possible to track down suspected terrorists.

Nairobi desperately needs this kind of system. A contract has already been prepared to have one created - with Safaricom, Kenya's leading telecommunications sector corporate, as a key player in the project.

For now, the matter remains pending before Parliament's National Security and Administration Committee.

While it is only right that government procurement be subjected to the most rigorous checks and balances, the fact remains that Kenya faces an existential security challenge at this point in our history. And one of the indispensable tools that will help us win the war against the terrorists, is this CCTV security surveillance system.

This contract, therefore, is not business as usual. It has to be expedited. Provided no procurement laws are broken, the security system has to be set up as soon as possible.

We cannot allow a situation in which terrorists continue to roam our streets with impunity; where they are free to plot without fear of discovery; and where we have no electronic trail of who did what after the next attack is launched.

Although democratic institutions are designed to function under a system of checks and balances, there does come a time when it is imperative that everyone pull in the same direction for the benefit of the nation.

The current war against the al Shabaab terrorists is one such time. And all concerned must devote their efforts to getting the new security surveillance system up and running in as short a time as possible.

Quote Of The Day: "The voice of the people has been said to be the voice of God; and, however generally this maxim has been quoted and believed, it is not true to fact..." Alexander Hamilton was the founding father of the USA. He died on July 12, 1804

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