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Security agencies lauded for Riverside efforts after shambolic Westgate, Garissa showings

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Kenyan security agencies have been showered with rare praise for better coordination, quicker response, better communication and the duration taken to neutralise attackers during the course of the Riverside Attack in stark contrast to four years back when they were an enemy of the people they swore to protect.

Observers were quick to agree that that the agencies were adequately prepared for an attack. Despite different agencies being present at the scene, the synergy between the agencies playing different roles in the rescue operations at DusitD2 manifested itself on Tuesday.

Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti was among the first people on the ground leading by example and rightly so he has further endeared himself to Kenyans who were quick to praise him for his fearlessness and patriotism.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i on Wednesday took to twitter to lavish Douglas Kanja, the General Service Unit (GSU) commandant who led the security operation with praise for his composure and professionalism during the attack.

The agencies have never come under heavy scrutiny as they did after the Westgate Mall attack in 2013 and The Garissa University Attack in 2015. In the aftermath of these two deadly attacks, the popularity of the forces was at its lowest ebb.

Poor coordination and logistics management were the main issues that put the government on the receiving end as the two attacks were unfolding. But that was not all, during the Westgate Mall attack, Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers were caught on CCTV camera looting from Nakumatt while they were supposed to be protecting Kenyans, the whole country went ballistic.


KDF had taken over the rescue operation from the Recce Company which is more specialised in tight spaces combat in a show of might and in a move which was not in the best interests of the country.

As KDF was taking over the operation, a Recee police officer was caught in friendly fire, KDF was blamed for his death and from that point, the agencies could not gloss over their coordination, it was nothing short of shambolic.

During the Garissa University attack it took the Recce Unit approximately eleven hours to get on the ground because they did not have the means to get there, ironically then Interior CS, the late Joseph Nkaissery had arrived earlier in a government airplane. Kenyans could not understand that logic.

It is worth noting that all the security chiefs who were in office in 2013 when terrorists attacked Westgate have all been replaced or retired.

At the time, Kajiado Governor Joseph Ole Lenku was Cabinet Secretary Interior, General Julius Karangi was in charge of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), Micheal Gichangi was the Director of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), David Kimaiyo was the Inspector General of Police and Ndegwa Muhoro was the DCI.


Only Karangi, Muhoro and current NIS Director Philip Kameru were in office when Garissa University was attacked.

The offices are now occupied by people who Kenyans opine are cut out for the jobs.

For any Kenyan, it is unimaginable to think what the response following the DusitD2 would be like if the former security chiefs were still in office.

Good riddance.

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