Corruption and its stranglehold on security in Kenya

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Kenya’s quest to find a permanent solution to curb terrorism is stuck between overcoming corruption and insecurity at the same time.

Due to corruption, the country lacks proper security measures to keep its people safe. It is not until after an attack takes place that the issue is taken seriously, which means redirecting investment away from more productive economic uses.

For instance the direct cost of the Westgate attack that left at least 67 dead including 18 foreigners was estimated to be KSh 10 billion.

These attacks affect the country’s economy because tourism contributes 25% of Kenya’s GDP. The drop in tourism numbers is seen when foreign countries issue travel advisories to its citizens. Affected countries suffer from unemployment because players involved in the tourism sector take cost-cutting measures which include laying off workers. Unemployment leads to poverty because people lose the ability to sustain livelihoods, eventually contributing towards the growth of domestic terrorism.

According to an ongoing project by the Rural Electrification Authority (REA), the government is strongly supporting this project by availing Ksh.12.6 billion in 2014/15 financial year for the purpose of completing this electrification project.

Approximately the same amount of money lost on the Westgate attack would have been used to electrify some primary schools in the rural areas two years ago. Government should instill measures to improve Kenya’s security, like the recent police recruitment exercise cancellation which was marred by reports of bribery. A similar exercise is to be repeated and that will be another Kshs. 87 million of taxpayers’ money due to the greed of some few individuals. Money that would have been used to boost other sectors of the economy if there was an airtight security system.

A simple military drone would cost an estimated 100,000 USD, amounting to approximately Kshs. 8 million, could be used to purchase several drones and a control unit for them hence helping to improve the border patrol system. These would reduce illegal activities within and around the Kenyan boarders.

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