S. Hassan and PSCU
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy today held a lengthy meeting with members of the Eastleigh business community and elected leaders from the Somali community led by Majority leader Hon. Aden Duale.
The president said that he has invited them to state house not because he believed that they supported terrorism or but to call on them to take active role in combating terror in the country.
The President’s stand that terrorists targeting innocent Kenyans must be stopped by all means was also echoed by Deputy President William Ruto.
Garissa Senator Yussuf Haji, who is a former defence minister, was also part of the delegation of Kenyan Somali leaders who met the President and the DP for more than an hour.
Kamukunji MP Yussuf Hassan, who himself was the victim of a terrorist attack, came in crutches and engaged in the consultations though he strained from the injuries he sustained from the 2012 grenade attack.
The business leaders informed the President that they will come up with a task force involving businessmen, youth, women and religious leaders with local knowledge that will play a role in identifying those involved in criminal activities.
The President asked the leaders to inform him as soon as the task force is complete so that it can start working with top leadership of the security organs.
The Eastleigh Business Community chairman Mr Hassan Guleid said the Kenyan Somali community was ready to offer all the support it can to Government in dealing with terror activities associated with the Al Qaeda linked Al Shabaab terrorist outfit.
Guleid said the war terrorists are engaging in has nothing to do with religion as Al Shabaab wants to portray it.
“These criminals are not Muslims. If they are fighting for Muslim rights why are they also bombing mosques, markets and killing innocent people in their own country Somalia?” he asked.
The Kamukunji MP said the Somali community has been seriously affected by terrorism and they are ready to join hands with the Government in dealing with these evil activities.
“We are Kenyans hence anything happening in this country concerns us. We should not ask what is the Government doing about this issue, but rather we should ask what we are doing to support the Government in improving security,” the MP said.
Mr Haji said the reputation of the Kenyan Somali community was at stake and it should take a more active role in combating the problem.
“To finish this terror group, we ourselves have to come out strongly and route them out. These are people who live amongst us and we must do all within our power to weed them out” he said.
Mr Duale said if the community collaborates in fighting terror, security agencies will have an easy task.
“We are the ones to finish and stop terror activities. We should identify which mosque incites the youth, which businessmen fund their activities and who harbours these evil people.” Honourable Duale said.
He said President Kenyatta had a lot of Somalis in his government and even nominated two of them to parliament. “Instead of a thank you what we gave you was to engage in these activities” he said. He also reminded those in attendance that one of the terrorist recently arrested in Mombasa was a Somali who had a Kenyan ID card issued in Wajir.
In his remarks, President Kenyatta said his Government wants to work closely with the Somali community and all Kenyans in weeding out terrorism.
He said the solution to terrorism cannot only be provided by the Government alone because the financiers, inciters and those who commit terror live amongst wananchi.
He said the Government believes that every Kenyan has a right to live, work and worship freely without any interference.
However, the President said he cannot allow a few individuals, who use religion to maim, kill and destroy the country.
“We all have a responsibility to bring this to an end. Tourism has been greatly affected by these terror activities. The industry which contributes 10% to the GDP is virtually on its knees” he said
The Deputy President said Kenyans need to know and understand how to live harmoniously irrespective of their religious, tribe, colour or political affiliation.
“We cannot allow the good plans we have for this country to be undermined by few individuals who use religion and places of worship to destabilise peace in this country. If it takes us to close a place of worship for us to have peace, so be it,” the Deputy President said.
Hon. Duale shared this sentiments and assured the President and his Deputy of their support.
The police came under focus when the leaders, in the presence of Internal Security Principal Secretary Mutea Iringo, claimed policemen come to Easteleigh to collect bribes and never to enforce law.
The Pangani police station was likened to an auction where Somalis arrested in constant operations are held until they pay bribes.
The President said action should be taken against “the fools who take bribes and allow criminals to commit crimes but harass innocent people”.