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MPs blame police for Westgate Mall terrorist attack

Friday, December 06, 2013

A parliamentary committee has returned a scathing verdict on the police over their handling of the intelligence reports ahead of the September 21, terrorist attack in Nairobi’s Westgate Mall.

The MPs from two House committees; Defence and Foreign Relations and Administration and National Security, said there was “a general laxity and unresponsiveness” among the police, because, they did not do much regarding the alert on threats that had been issued on August 6, and on September 2, this year.

The committee also directed its attack to the country’s spies, as it wants to know if the intelligence provided was “accurate, timely and specific”. This appears to be the MPs way of appeasing the Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo and the spy chief Michael Gichangi, who have been fighting and accusing each other for the lapses that allowed the terrorists to kill 67 people and maim 200 others during the attack.

On the day the MPs approved an oppressive Bill to gag the media, the two committees now want a policy to “regulate media content when streaming live from emergency situations”. They argue that this should be done to “manage” the “delivery of information and to make sure it does not compromise national security.”

“There’s need to censure irresponsible journalism and reckless social media,” the MPs noted in their report, which was tabled in the House by the National Security Committee Chairman Asman Kamama. In their report, the MPS also want tax incentives and start-up capital for the businessmen at the mall whose premises were looted.

The committee has also recommended an ex-gratia payment to the families of those who died or injured. The lawmakers have also proposed that the school curriculum should be tweaked so that children are taught patriotism, nationalism and service to the nation.

The committee report also has a proposal that the Government should “fully investigate the lapses among the security agencies”, but it does not say how, or who should do the investigations other than the amorphous word “Government”.

The MPs also failed to give a deadline to the investigations, and it does not obligate “the Government” to present the investigation report to the House. The report does not present much insight on what happened.

It says the security officers looted Westgate, the coordination between the military and the elite RECCE Company of the General Service Unit was poor, and that there was a total breakdown in the way the government handled issues of security.


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