The Star (Nairobi)

23 August 2014

Kenya: Good Luck, Major-General Philip Kameru

editorial

With the nomination of Major General Philip Wachira Kameru to the hypersensitive National Intelligence Service docket, Kenya has a chance to turn a new page in its fight against terrorists.

Whatever may be said of Kameru's ill-fated predecessor General Michael Gichangi - that he did his best under difficult circumstances, and so on - at the end of the day, he cannot be credited with having found solutions to Kenya's most pressing security problems.

At a time when a country is under unprecedented terrorist attacks, what matters is not whether or not earnest efforts were made, but whether or not results were achieved.

And from Westgate to Mpeketoni; from Garissa to Eastleigh; the terrorists have had a field day, with the intelligence service seemingly incapable of anticipating and stopping their assaults.

General Kameru comes in with an impressive resume. He also starts with a clean slate. He can take up where Gichangi left off, and hopefully find a way to resolve the problems which proved to be beyond Gichangi's best efforts.

He needs to find a way to uproot the al Shabaab networks, said to be deeply embedded in Kenyan society. He has to come up with new surveillance strategies, which will enable the police to arrest intended suicide bombers before they have the opportunity to murder innocent Kenyans.

He also needs to cooperate with foreign intelligence services -better equipped that ours, who face the same basic enemy of al Queda terrorist affiliates. None of this will be easy.

There are those who are already speculating that by going over the heads of the many deputy directors of the NIS, President Uhuru Kenyatta has created a situation in which there will be resentment and infighting within the NIS over the arrival of an 'outsider' to serve as the overall boss of that institution. But national security is too important a docket for routine office rivalries and politics to be allowed to intervene.

Now that the President has made his choice known, all who wish to see Kenya regain its reputation for peace and tranquility should join hands in wishing General Kameru the very best of luck in his new, and very difficult job.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I have to say that elections, even in the most peaceful region, always make the hardest time for regional state institutions, including security structures." Akhmad Kadyrov was the President of Chechnya. He was born on August 23, 1951

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