By G Oguda
An upwards of 60 Kenya Defence Forces soldiers lost their lives after their camp in Somalia was overrun by Al Shabaab terrorists. This news pains my heart. Never in the history of this war has a case been made to bring back our troops.
Let me tell you something.
If you’ve watched ‘Black Hawk Down’ you will notice why Kenya needs to get out of Somalia, and fast. The United States of America prides itself in having the most sophisticated military hardware on planet earth. No country, in this world, can dare wage war on the US, even if they were high on high-grade cocaine. It is one of the unwritten rules in modern day combat.
One of the privileges that comes with being a military superpower is that you can bully all the boys in the yard and nothing happens to you. The Americans had been hearing of a certain Mohammed Farah Aideed, and his bragging of controlling warlord-ridden Somalia, and they decided to fly there and go teach him some basic lessons in sticking to lanes.
But Somalia was a different kettle of fish.
Aideed was no ordinary warlord. He had an intelligence system that was no match for the stealthy Marines. On the day that Aideed had been finally cornered, President Clinton was radioed and he okayed the captured from the White House Situation Room. What happened next has been taught in defence classes and re-enacted in movies. A mission that was expected to last one-hour turned into a fifteen-hour ordeal. Two Black Hawk helicopters parachuting Marines into Aideed’s hideout were taken down by accurate rocket-propelled grenades.
Right there and then, it was game on.
The Marines called for backup, White House officially gave the nod for fire to be opened. Anyone who brings down a US Marine, anywhere in the world, signs their death warrant. But they hadn’t met these Somalia guys yet. When more than one hundred US soldiers came by road to provide backup, Mohammed Farah Aideed also pressed the annihilation button. More than one thousand Somalis might have died in the ensuring gun battle, but the footage of two American Marines being dragged on the streets of Somalia amid cheers from the crowd prompted President Clinton to issue a State Of the Nation Address. He had seen enough and America was not going to be humiliated further under his presidency. He called off the troops from Somalia with immediate effect. America swore to leave Somalia alone.
Eating humble pie has never been known to come at such a cost. But as Black Hawk Down teaches us, Kenyans have borne a disproportionate share of this particular war on terror and we need to count our losses and leave anyone interested in carrying on to do so at their own will, peril and expense. Kenyans are now old enough to understand, that, we, don’t have to fight to be a man.
And the statistics don’t lie.
Before our government bragged to the world that they could sort out the Al Shabaab problem in no time, your chance, as a Kenyan, of being killed in a terrorist attack was close to zero. If you have time to look up the top 50 causes of death in Kenya today, you will not find terrorism in that horrifying list. But you know who makes the list? Suicide, at 20. Fires, at 26. Falls, at 27. Asthma, at 44. It will also surprise you that more Kenyans die from Poisons (at 46) than terrorism.
Yaani, more Kenyans are dying from accidental falls and Asthma than from terror. There’s something not right with that statement considering the amount of money we are sending to Somalia to sustain a problem that has not sell-by-date in sight. Last year’s budget had a 6.4 Billion allocation to the AMISOM forces in Somalia, yet corruption has killed more Kenyans than Al Qaeda, Islamic State, Al Shabaab, Mungiki, Baghdad Boys, Sungu Sungu, Chinkororo combined. This country is living a big lie.
What Kenyans need is protection from from own brand of political brokers who see business in every opportunity. The guy who got the tender to supply earthmovers for building the Kenya-Somalia wall dug up a grasshopper trench and went to sleep with the rest of the loot. And if you raise your hand to ask questions you’re being told to go sit on a pin and that you’re being a terrorist sympathiser.
Kenya hotbed of hypocritical jackasses who feel that any government policy being challenged amounts to high treason. Our fathers and brothers are dying in the battlefront and their Commander-In-Chief is all over the internet asking Kenyans for prayers. Prayers for what? We act like Jesus was born in Mtito Andei and resurrected in Siaya. Not everything has a religious sense to it. And not everything can be sorted out with prayers. Look at what irrational fear has done to our economy. We are now being forced to bleed the crucial health and agriculture budgets to finance a war based on fear that we, ourselves, asked for.
The government wants to keep this war for as long as possible because it keeps Kenyans distracted from the real rot they’re presiding over. They are employing a time-tested war tactic that; traditionally, in war, the President is totemic like the flag. We are all, now, coalescing our thought-processes around showing solidarity with the Presidency. There’s no problem in that. But what that blind loyalty does to you is that it makes you forget the government looted billions of Eurobond money while playing into your emotions with a hashtag borne out of incompetence. It works all the time, world over.
President George W. Bush’s approval ratings during the war in Iraq – history has since vindicated the critics who were against the invasion – kept soaring like an eagle. Gore Vidal writes, in his book ‘Perpetual War For Perpetual Peace, that “…when President Kennedy got his highest ratings after the debacle of the Bay of Pigs, he observed, characteristically, that “it would seem that the worse you fuck up in this job the more popular you get…”
As we speak, the subject of who looted our Eurobond billions has now been relegated to the back pages. Journalists have refused to think in this country. We are still reading articles on Eurobond with the headlines “Raila Claims”, as if those manning their investigative desks have been replaced with bar-gossipers. An unnecessary war is now keeping us busy, and they like it that way. It is one of the poorest ways of reclaiming legitimacy, because very soon, families of those who lost their loved ones will start demanding for answers, like those of Garissa attack victims who have gone before them. And they want a way of silencing their emotions.
Everyone – except those who die in it – loves a good war, especially one you can win quickly. But this war, as time has revealed to us, is neither good nor will be won quickly. War is the no-win all-lose option. We’re neck-deep into this shit and the sooner we start digging ourselves out of this hellhole the better our returns will be. If you want to import duty-free charcoal and contraband sugar from Somalia, just go straight to the point and cut out the bullshit of putting our breadwinners on harms’ way then asking us to pray for peace. If we knew the 2013 general elections was about electing the the Head of Prayer Warriors we would have asked Bro Ocholla or Prophet Owuor to contest for the Presidency. There was a reason the Head of State is given a sword on inauguration day, and it not for portioning roasted goat ribs at Njugunas.
* * * * *
And there are some people I see here constantly picking fights with those who are out to demand justice to people who have been wronged by government. Listen, I recognise that it is a Kenyan fad to be rich. I know you fantasize about making a ton more money so that you can floss with your illicit concubines in Malindi or wherever sandy beach you prefer. But kindly don’t drag some of us into your fairy tales. You need to begin living in reality; that there are only going to be a few rich people and you are not one of them. So get used to it. These guys will only use you when they need you.
Ask your nearest Jubilee sympathiser.