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Information unaccountability undermining Security in Kenya

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Information unaccountability undermining Security in Kenya

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Kenya is currently faced with insecurity limbo which could be attributed to be the fiercest since independence. With a toll of over 300 persons killed in terrorist related attacks in less than 2 years and a recent attack in Garissa claiming 148 lives; it cannot be business as usual. Hard questions are being raised on our preparedness and alert response and perhaps the most crucial is who knew what, when and what actions were taken or not. This is premised on the fact that preceding the recent attacks rumors flooded the air of an impending the attack on major institutions. This occasioned the University of Nairobi (UoN) and United States International University (USIU) to issue an advisory to their students requesting alertness. In a more deliberate way the UK government issued travel advisories to their citizens warning them to avoid certain areas including those targeted. Is there something the Kenyan authorities knew that we didn’t?

 

Information accountability is a concept requiring proactive information access, analysis, and repackaging, sharing and quick action on the same. In a security set-up information is usually referred to as intelligence. It seems obvious that prior intelligence on terrorist activities and plans is available even to ordinary citizens! One would be persuaded to ask; why are we not heeding to earlier warnings? How effective are our information sharing platforms? What ought to be done to improve intelligence collection, analysis and action so as to improve the security status. Provided we are at war; we must collectively get timely, relevant, accurate and actionable intelligence as regards our security status.

The current information regime in Kenya among the security forces is opaque, bureaucratic and only meant for self-protection. This is evidenced by some arms of the security forces acquiring and hoarding information that would have been acted upon to forestall critical security breaches.

The price being paid is too high for the nation to bear and ultimately information accountability is undermining security in Kenya. What must be quickly be done is to improve on intelligence mining and action; develop efficient systems on information sharing ranging from agency to agency, citizen to citizens, citizen to governments and governments to citizens as well as government to government. It is time Kenya`s parliament enacted the freedom of information bill to operationalize article 35 on access to information and swiftly train the security agencies and create awareness among citizens.

 

Jacob Otachi

Communication and Governance Czar

CEO- Tachicom-Kenya

 

 Website: www.tachicom.co.ke

Published in: News and Events

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