Three things Nkaissery should know on state security and peoples security


It is appropriate to remind Interior Cabinet Secretary Major-General (Rtd) Joseph ole Nkaissery three things.

First, Kenya is not one big military barrack.

Second, Mr Nkaissery needs to run while other Kenyans walk in the interest of catching up with democratic changes that have happened in the country.

Three, it is indeed true that there is runaway corruption in this country. This fact is not a figment of journalistic imagination.

This is why the harassment of journalists this past week was so unbelievable.

The manner in which the CS conducted it revealed the tragedy that is our leadership.

It is so obsessed with the trappings of power to the point they think laws belong to the toilet.

The instance revealed a persisting assumption among some leaders that due process does not matter and exposed a disturbing practice that all you need is to issue orders that kick in the pliant DNA of Kenyans.

The truth, however, is that Kenya is not one big military barrack where hierarchy trumps reason and orders are bigger than whoever issues them.

It is the late Ali Mazrui who famously said that the military is the most colonial of colonial legacies.

By: this, he meant that the military was trapped in a colonial logic especially in the way in which it functioned.


People like Nkaissery confirm Mazrui’s prophetic mind.

They are so trapped in an authoritarian colonial logic and have no intention of keeping up with recent developments in Kenya’s democratization process.

This process has undermined most lingering authoritarian and indeed dictatorial habits.

The desire by officials in the Jubilee Government to claw back on basic freedoms Kenyans won through years of struggle will, however, not work.

There is no doubt that this coalition does not like the fact of Kenyans enjoying these freedoms; but we also know, following the prophetic statement of Martin Luther King Jr. that ‘the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.’

The CS might wish to know that this prophetic statement is now an iron law in many quarters and has become a truism.

This is why it makes sense to recommend to the good General that on the issue of Kenya’s democratisation, he must, like Mwalimu Julius Nyerere suggested for Africa’s development, ‘run while others walk.’

Modern Kenya is not constructed on the logic of state security and the idea that a campaign of mass action aims to “destroy the government” is myopic at best.

The bewildering threats that someone is using the anti-corruption drive to destabilise the government are too spiced given that journalists picked it from public record.


Perhaps the good General lives in a ministerial bubble.

Let’s burst it for him. Corruption is real in Kenya, it has acquired a proportion never before witnessed in my lifetime.

We know this on the authority of a few honourable officers and offices in the land.

Unfortunately, these officers are not the ones charged with fighting corruption; at least it is not the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and neither is it parliament.

Credit must rightly go to the Auditor-General’s office for its professionalism and commitment to duty.

In the old days of one-party rule, our constitutions embedded a clause that subjected all freedoms to state security.

The state consequently did many monstrous things in the name of security.

Countless are the people who were detained without trial, maimed after being beaten, or crashed to death in the name of state security.

State security became the slogan waved at law-abiding citizens to censor them and silence their dreams.

In this day and age, state security comes second to the security of people. If corruption undermined the security of citizens, their right to speak out is protected by the Constitution.

The CS has no basis in law to threaten this right.