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ELISHA IKIDI: Targeting corruption as cause of terrorism is irrational

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It is with great intrigue that I read an opinion by one Paras Shah from the legal sphere published in the Daily Nation on January 19, 2019 titled, “To Defeat Terrorism, Eliminate Corruption First”.

Paras writes a great article which makes us think about the state of affairs within Kenya.

The events of last week shook this nation to its core. Several innocent lives were lost, injured and many witnessed sights heinous enough to possibly haunt them till the end of their days.

It is understandable and apparent that people are frustrated and left feeling helpless, but when a supposedly leading legal mind, one which I imagine has had years of analytical training, goes on a public rant pointing fingers at the government, its officials and certain “tenderpreneurs”, it is simply irresponsible.

I couldn’t agree more on the issue of corruption that is highlighted – it is a cancer not just in our society but in all nations in some way, shape or form.

However, it is a gross injustice to the country to blame its leadership, its people and its government.

Blaming corruption scandals from the post – Independence era is an easy scapegoat for anything and everything that goes wrong in our country.

When we have nothing to discuss, we discuss the corruption scandals which the media has been too generous in its exposure of.

Targeting corruption as the reason for why heinous and despicable acts of terrorism occur is, in my view, irrational.

Paras is under the impression that these attacks would not have occurred had we had a more advanced passport and forensic identification system.

Are we to believe that first world countries like France, Spain and the United Kingdom are not equipped with state of the art passport systems and CID forensic equipment systems? Did their so-called “tenderpreneurs” also allegedly fail to do what they were paid to do? Despite having systems far more advanced than that of our country, if you do your research, you will find that Europe faced more than 200 terror attacks in 2017 alone.

Let’s not be naive enough to even consider such ridiculous statements.

Blaming the country for these acts of terrorism only empowers terrorists who want to see us turn against one another.

Blaming the country for these cowardly acts only allows the West to once again point fingers at us on matters related to corruption.

Paras’ piece on terrorism only gives power to those who have committed the crimes. Our society should not be blamed for the way in which a criminal’s mind works. In times of adversity, Kenyans have been known to come together as a united force.

Paras Shah, your opinion piece lacks a spirit of patriotism at a time when we all need to be displaying a united front. If you want to learn about patriotism, I would suggest that you watch the recent Sky News interview of Siddharth Chatterjee, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Kenya.

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We are all too busy blaming corruption scandals but why don’t we address the “white elephant” in the room? What about the serious security lapses at 14 Riverside and Dusit D2 Hotel? Some colossal security and protocol breaches occurred during that fateful Tuesday afternoon last week.

How was it made possible? Dusit’s security team were grossly negligent if it is in fact true that terrorists had stored their weapons in the hotel days before the attack.

We should not be talking about post – Independence scandals but post – Westgate occurrences. If anything, public establishments and real estate developments should have increased their security spend and not be cutting corners to save money.

Venues such as 14 Riverside should have been especially vigilant knowing that they house foreign companies and guests – therefore being prime targets for terrorism.

The owners of such developments need to be questioned on their investment into security and their grounds for gross negligence need to be determined. Skimping on security in this age of terrorism borders on criminality.

Whilst it is easy to absolve ourselves by blaming corrupt politicians for everything, all Kenyans must introspect on how we all contribute to the menace of corruption.

High profile lawyers who enable corrupt politicians to park their ill-gotten gains through complex property transactions cannot absolve themselves through activism, juvenile name calling and finger pointing.

The businessmen who evade tax by accepting cash or by transferring funds overseas are ensuring that the government has to decide which security items to cut because the tax revenue is insufficient are as much to blame.

The thousands of Kenyans who regularly pay small bribes to policemen absolve themselves as being a part of the corruption problem by saying they had no choice, but fail to realize that they contribute to the culture of corruption.

A country gets the government it deserves and we must realize that our politicians are corrupt because we are corrupt. They are no different to us. They come from us. They are us.

Not unlike yours, Mr Shah, this is merely my humble opinion.

Elisha Ikidi, political commentator

[email protected]

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Kenya: Suspected COVID-19 Patient Fights Lonely Battles

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“I cannot wait for my quarantine days to be over so that I can mourn my mother; I will start wailing at the door.”

These were the painful words of Brenda Akinyi, 42, whose mother, Ursula Buluma, a Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) employee, passed away at a Mombasa hospital on April 2 and was buried the same day at Mbaraki cemetery.

Ms Buluma was the Coast region’s first Covid-19 fatality.

Speaking to the Nation on phone from her isolation bed at Coast General Hospital (CPGH) in Mombasa, Ms Akinyi, who is the late Buluma’s first born daughter, said her mother’s death was as a result of “carelessness and negligence” by the hospital’s management.

“I am yet to grieve. I didn’t see her body, nor attend her burial,” she said, adding: “My mother has been having health complications which she has lived with for years, so when she called me on Wednesday, March 25, to go to her house in Jomvu to take her to hospital, I did not find it strange because it was not the first time I was doing it.”

PNEUMONIA TREATMENT

They went to Bandari Clinic – which is usually the first stop for KPA employees – where her mother was diagnosed with pneumonia and referred to the Mombasa hospital.

“We went to Mombasa hospital on a KPA ambulance, where my mother was first taken to the emergency section and put on oxygen. However, she was removed from the intensive care unit and taken for what the hospital staff told me was screening, the same day,” she said from her Rahamtulla isolation ward at CPGH.

She was later told that her mother will have to be taken to an isolation ward as they suspected that she had Covid-19 disease.

She visited her mother on Friday and Saturday, staying next to her on both days and chatting as usual. But when she returned on Sunday, March 29, she was asked to stay away because her mother had tested positive.

“I was devastated. I also demanded to know why my mother was not put on pneumonia treatment at Mombasa hospital as was directed by doctors at Bandari Clinic, but no one gave me an answer.”

According Ms Akinyi, doctors visited her home on Monday, March 30, did some tests and left. They returned on Tuesday, March 31, to pick her.

TESTS TURN NEGATIVE

She was first taken to the Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) isolation centre in Mombasa before being moved to the Coast General Hospital on Tuesday, April 1.

“I have been in quarantine for 10 days today and I have not exhibited any symptoms. I have been in touch with my children and none of them has exhibited any signs, which leaves me very confused as to why exactly I am here,” she said.

“I have not been given any results from the tests they did before they took me to KMTC and thereafter in this isolation ward. It is very frustrating because I am not aware of my condition. Am I on forced quarantine or under treatment?” she wondered.

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Ms Akinyi’s children are under quarantine at the KMTC, Mombasa campus. But given the poor condition of the facilities, the family transferred them to Mombasa Beach Hotel, one of the quarantine centres at the Coast.

According to her, life in isolation is tough because she is cut off physically from the rest of the world, depending on her mobile phone and internet connectivity to keep abreast with what is going on in the country and beyond.

“I am in a self-contained room staring at the walls the whole day, without anyone to talk to or even an opportunity to bask in the sun,” she said.

ROUTINE

Ms Akinyi said she wakes up as early as 4am to browse the internet and check on friends on social media until 7am, when her breakfast is served by hospital staff.

At 10am, she is served with tea, and thereafter lunch at noon. Four hours later, an evening cup of tea is wheeled into her room, before her dinner closes the daily meal routine at 7pm.

“They have made sure that we have our meals on time. That is all we get here, mostly because one is rarely visited by a medical doctor,” Ms Akinyi said, adding that the medics talk to her on phone mainly to ask if she is exhibiting any symptoms.