September 21st, 2013. This was a day of tragedy and loss for our dear country. One year down the line and it is, not only, the birthday of a very dear friend of mine, but also a memorial of those fateful events of “The Terror at the Mall”.
As most of us are aware, a documentary has just been released about the Westgate Siege done by Daniel Reed. I think that’s his name. Anyway, this new documentary has brought to light very many new things that were, unsurprisingly, not so unknown to us. A good example is how the situation was badly handled by our security forces. We knew that. What, perhaps, we may not have all known is that there was a major breakdown of communication between KDF and the Police Service leading to them actually confronting each other and leading to the death of a police officer by our own hand.
This documentary has caused very many airwaves all over the country and even on social media. And, it has come at the most opportune moment as it gives us a chance to overview what has been done in the 12 months after the incident. From the newspaper articles and twitter trending topics, it is very evident that not much has really beendone. If memory serves me right, one of the principals of Justice is, Justice ought not only to be done, but must also be seen to be done. With regards to that statement, whether the Government has gotten justice for the victims of the Westgate Attack is a question I cannot answer. But on whether Justice has been seen to be done, I can confidently say no.
What I can say that has been done is a great big blame game. The Presidents blames the defence forces while the defence forces blame parliament and so on and so forth. It surprises me that we Kenyans are very good at putting and shifting blame while doing nothing about it. And the saddest thing about it is that the people receiving the largest share of blame are still in office. The same offices they occupied when the attack occurred. Just one of those officials has resigned. I doubt though that it was at his own accord.
If you think I am joking, sample this, Ole Lenku, CS in charge of Internal Security. Was the then CS and is, currently still the CS. David Kimaiyo, Inspector General of Police then and still is up till date. Rachel Omamo CS in charge of Defence (aka head of KDF) has been extremely silent on the matter not even issuing a public statement on the matter with the exception a statement of grief to the victims of the attacks. Those are just but a few. Major General Gichanji head of NIS at the time, resigned on personal ground. That’s a sad tale coming from him. He did not take responsibility, in public, for the attacks at Westgate, or others that occurred after such as Mpeketoni and the Githurai bombings.
It is a sad way to remember that day but, isn’t this what has been happening since? And, before I summarize of my little rants, I would like to chip into the blame game. Many people have gone out on a limb to blame various Governmental institutions for failing this or failing that. I want to change that. Let us put some of the blame on our media. Yes, the media. They have failed to get us a lot of the information with regard to the Westgate Saga. The little information they managed to get and feed us was aired only few days at a time and the next big story took the airwaves making us quickly forget the traumatising events that had taken place not too long ago, thereby enhancing our forgetful Kenyan nature. Our media, like many of our Kenyan businesses, is driven primarily by profit-making and as a result, the truth rarely takes the front seat in the publication of the news content. Just news that shall help sell more.
I do not know how to conclude this story as the facts above just confuse me. I end hanging not in the hope that the tragedy shall never repeat itself. At least, not with the confusion that cost us a lot of Kenyan lives.