Terrorising the Coast population will not aid Kenya’s fight against terrorism — and will in fact make it worse, Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI) chair Khelef Khalifa has written in an op-ed.
MUHURI is a founding member of Okoa Mombasa.
Writing in The Star, Khalifa references the recent investigation by journalist Namir Shabibi, which revealed how the government is working closely with US and UK intelligence agencies to wage a secret, illegal war on terrorism.
The probe exposed how a covert Kenyan paramilitary squad, the Rapid Response Team, has undertaken covert renditions, extrajudicial killings, “and a figurative assault on Kenyans’ rights to due process.” Kenya’s Muslim communities have of course suffered the brunt of RRT’s abuses, Khalifa notes.
“This government has long made a show of preserving Kenya’s ‘sovereignty’ against foreign interference,” Khalifa writes in the op-ed.
“The RRT investigation, along with Kenya’s self-defeating foray into Somalia, don’t fit well with that image: The government has essentially rented out Kenya’s military forces, allowing them to be used as an instrument by a foreign power. Even worse, that instrument is being used to terrorise and kill Kenya’s own citizens, with no accountability.”
The op-ed calls on Kenya’s government to own up to its past mistakes in the war on terror and embark upon a new approach that includes justice and accountability for past crimes. It should also seek to engage Kenya’s Muslim community as partners in combatting terrorism, he writes.