By Jacktone Ambuka.
The aftermath of Nairobiâ€™s Westgate Mall terror massacre hasnâ€™t been rosy for Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) and military bosses.Â Our men in uniform continue to encounter national condemnation over alleged looting of the mall as they intervened to save innocent civilians and kill terrorists who had sieged the mall. Unfortunately, military bosses remain stiff-necked adamants.
Questioned on the alleged looting by KDF, cabinet secretary for defense Ms. Raychelle Omamo rejected those allegations. She claimed our military conducted themselves in a professional manner.Â In a bizarre twist, she asked the public to present evidence against looting allegations.
Even members of The parliamentary committee for National Security and Defence claimed they investigated alleged looting but found no evidence whatsoever to blame KDF.
Yet, even before Ms. Omamo and Parliamentary committee breathe in, KTNâ€™s Jicho Pevu rolled a tape that indicted our men in uniform. The â€œboysâ€ were caught on camera with their hands in the cookie jar. CCTV footage that was rolled on air, showed our military men entering the mall adorning their combat gear without bags. However, upon leaving, theyâ€™re shown carrying white plastic bags full of goodies.
Now, in another danganya toto jinga excuse, military chiefs comprising of Chief of Defence Forces Julius Karangi, his deputy Samson Mwathethe, National Intelligence Service director-general Michael Gichangi, Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo and director of criminal investigations Ndegwa Muhoro came out with guns blazing while denying any form of looting. They claimed that our men in uniform â€œtookâ€ some bottles of water from Nakumatt store to quench their thirst.
Firstly, it is a general knowledge that combat forces canâ€™t go into war without tools and equipment as is expected of them. It beats logic for military bosses to insinuate that our men in uniform went to war without water, food and weapons. It is mindboggling. In fact, it is indictment of our militaryâ€™s preparedness and professionalism. It is laughable, shameful and stupidly.
On a second thought, however; I think military bosses are desperately clutching straws to create fools out of us. I donâ€™t understand why theyâ€™re taking Kenyans for granted. Kenyans are smart people. Ask a Kenyan and he/she will define looting as taking anything secretly, dishonestly or by force. In a laymanâ€™s language, looting is taking something that doesnâ€™t belong to you without ownerâ€™s permission.
If indeed our men in uniform helped themselves on Nakumattâ€™s water without Nakumattâ€™s permission they erred, and thus; stole or looted. There must be consequences for their actions. Whoever ordered our men in uniform to â€œtakeâ€ stuff from Westgate mall should be identified and arraigned in court for giving illegal orders.
Furthermore, every man in uniform who was captured on CCTV footage ransacking stores and leaving with bags full of looted stuff should be arraigned before the martial court and be tried for stealing in accordance with the military law.
But more importantly, our military bosses including Raychalle Omamo, Julius Karangi, David Kimaiyo and Julius Ole Lenku should climb down and apologize to Kenyans. Military is supposed to protect citizens not to â€œtakeâ€ citizenâ€™s belongings.
Unfortunately, hearts of our military bosses remain as hard as stones. Instead of repenting, apologizing and taking full responsibility for unprofessional conduct in military; they are denying and making laughable stupid excuses .
But more importantly, The Commander In Chief of all Armed Forces, president; Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta; should bite the final bullet and apologize on behalf of erroneous activities that were done by KDF. The buck stops at his office. He should promise to instill discipline and professionalism in our military. Continued denial of the obvious will deplete credibility of our forces and sink public confidence.
Ambuka can be reached by email firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter @JackAmbukaÂ