April 2, 2015 will forever remain etched in the minds of Kenyans as the day gunmen stormed Garissa University College and liberally opened fire, killing 148 students and injuring 79 others. This is not the first terrorist attack the country has faced prompting the question: Are there are steps that should be taken to avert future attacks? ESTHER AKELLO samples your opinion.
Godfrey Nambwaya, 31, Businessman
Yes. The government should look into having strategically placed rapid response units near vulnerable targets to avoid slow response to intelligence, which puts the lives of Kenyans at risk. Additionally, police dragnets that target terrorists but end up attacking innocent Kenyan Somalis in the process, should be halted as this creates a culture of suspicion and ethnic marginalisation towards members of this community. In the event that they have information, what would motivate them to approach the same police and share their concerns especially where radicalised youth are concerned?
Carolle Kariuki, 27, Communication specialist
Yes. There is a reason why intelligence gives information before a disaster. Security forces should have taken all the necessary measures required to avert the attack. Moreover, these recurrent attacks show that our response is wanting. Our security teams need to beef up their skills to deal with terrorism. Let us learn from previous attacks and take the issue seriously to prevent the loss of lives. Kenyans also need to keep their eyes open for suspicious activity, no matter how small as this could be the difference between life and death.
Lucy Caroline, 30, Medical representative
I believe current efforts to curb terrorism in Kenya are a drop in the ocean if the past terrorist incidents are anything to go by. What is required now is a joint and inclusive effort to fight terrorist groups and counter radicalisation. Kenyans need to be more proactive and report any suspicious characters and criminal activities within their neighbourhoods. The security forces need to be on high alert at all times. The government too should invest in security machinery and work towards enforcing the Nyumba Kumi initiative.
Hezron Limo, 25, Insurance underwriter
There seems to be lack of political goodwill to transform how security matters are handled in Kenya. We have a plethora of policies; a legislative framework accompanied by government rhetoric to reform, but poor if at all, implementation. The government should endeavour to have intelligence police all around the country and ensure intelligence gathered is acted upon accordingly. Its time to consider arming the different police units with more specialised training on how to deal with terrorism instead of wasting both money and manpower building walls.