A lot has been said by all and sundry about the border wall that Kenya intends to build alongside the Kenya Somalia border. Different experts on security and wall constructions have given their take on the merits and demerits of this huge project by the government.
I must say that I am neither a security expert nor an expert on any wall, be it the border one or the perimeter one around my compound: I am an Immigration practitioner and an ordinary citizen with some interest in my security and that of other Kenyans. The current security situation has been blamed a lot on people entering Kenya illegally due to porous borders, although with a few cases of Kenyan citizens we have seen arrested as part of these terror gangs, we may want to interrogate that further.
The government has cited intelligence to show that indeed majority of the terrorists have entered the country through the porous borders. This is not the only reason why we have insecurity though because security is much more complex than just the border issue.
In my view, the security wall is one of the many efforts that the government needs to undertake to secure our borders. In many other countries, immigration is a very powerful force well equipped and staffed to secure the borders and manage all foreigners in the country. As it is now, Kenya Immigration services is not well equipped and staffed to fully execute its mandate…this is partly due to years and years of neglect and not being taken as serious security agency.
I know a lot of efforts have been made to reform the Immigration Department to live up to its mandate but more still needs to be done. Given a choice between the wall and stronger security agencies, I would prefer a robust well equipped Immigration Force to the security wall because, if these Immigrants knew that any time they entered the country they would be found and prosecuted, then they would think twice before crossing the Kenyan borders. At the moment, this is not the case because the enforcement of Immigration laws is severely hampered by the lack of capacity on part of Kenya Immigration Department and other security agencies.
I would therefore think that whereas the security wall is a good idea, stronger security sector agencies would be a better idea. If we can have both at the same time the better but I doubt this is easy bearing in min dhow poorly we are doing in terms of wealth generation in this country if you factor in the resources that go into financing our corruption Inc among other holes within our economy
I believe the discourse Kenyans are having on this wall is a sign of public interest and not just an attempt to just criticize everything that the government is doing to secure the country. The debate should be encouraged and where possible sensible views from those with expertise on these matters to be considered. Security is indeed everybody’s responsibility like H.E The president told us awhile ago: lets discuss