Uhuru Goes After Al-Shabaab With Sweeping Changes

  • President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday, January 17 talked tough as he announced a comprehensive new strategy to deal with terror groups such as Al-Shabaab and radical extremism.

    The new structure focuses on multi-agency coordination, advanced training and equipment upgrades, community involvement and incentives for security officers.

    In one of the major changes, Uhuru directed the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) to ensure security officers working in terror hot-spots in the North-Eastern region and parts of the Coast receive a field allowance.

    File image of Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) officers in Somalia

    "Far more important than hardware is the human element, I urge the Public Service Commission (PSC), National Police Service Commission (NPSC) and the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) to structure a way to reward good performance by officers in the field," he stated.

    The president further instructed the National Intelligence Service (NIS) to investigate terror financiers funding Somali-based Al-Shabaab through illicit businesses.

    "Any and all means by which the enemy is generating income from Kenya including contraband goods and illegal trade must be stopped.

    "Smuggling of goods directly funds Al-Shabaab," he asserted.

    In addition, Uhuru ordered for security agencies to immediately mount serious operations to flush out terrorist cells in the North Eastern region and affected areas at the Coast.

    The president further directed Interior CS Fred Matiang'i to ensure that incompetent police officers or those who failed in their duties were not transferred to other stations as has been the case. Instead, Uhuru directed that such officers be immediately dismissed.

    The President promised to ensure security agencies in the country were provided with better equipment to deal with terror threats as he also directed that officers undergo continuous training.

    "It is crucial for officers to undergo specialized training including redeployment training for all officers posted to affected areas," he stated.

    Uhuru ordered County Commissioners in conjunction with other government agencies to spearhead implementation of Counter-Terrorism Action Plans developed for each county and to involve local communities and elders.

    He further demanded that a report on the progress of implementation of the new strategy be presented to him by August 2020.

    He stated that government officers who failed to work within the new multi-agency structure would be dealt with.

    "Those who shall continue to insist on silo mentality and resist working in a coordinated way within the multi-agency structure should be reported," he asserted.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta delivers a past address at State House, Nairobi