Banditry in Kenya: Prayers as a Political Time-Out Instead of Real Solutions
Kenya’s practice of having national prayers when faced with pressures is inadequate and reflects the government’s failure to address the core issues causing national difficulties. The recent national prayer day held on February 14, 2023, is an example of this.
The violence in northern Kenya known as “banditry” is a complex security issue that requires a solution, but the government has not provided one. Instead, they call for prayers as a “time-out” or a pressure release valve.
The violence in northern Kenya is not just chaos but has specific patterns and causes, including terrorism, ethnic hostility, resource disputes, and cattle rustling. The violence has resulted in the deaths of security officers and civilians, and the government has not investigated or handled the issue adequately.
Governor George Natembeya’s recent comments at the National Prayer Day criticizing the President’s failure to address the issue were surprising.
The governor had previously held a prominent position responsible for deploying security officers to the region and was now criticizing the working conditions of the same officers.
The governor’s suggestion of military involvement in the anti-bandit operation is concerning, as it indicates a lack of understanding of the enemy’s identities or intentions. His use of the term “decimate” to describe the approach towards the “bandits” is inappropriate and shows a disregard for human life.
Kenya’s government needs to address the core issues causing national difficulties, including “banditry,” instead of relying on national prayers as a “time-out” or a pressure release valve.
The government needs to provide adequate working conditions, equipment, and food supplies to the security officers deployed to the region, investigate and handle the issue logically, and avoid using inappropriate language that disregards human life.