Friday, October 28, 2011



By Jerry Okungu
Nairobi, Kenya
October 27, 2011

Mr. Elgiva Bwire Oliacha is 28 years old. He is from Western Kenya or Western Province to be specific. He is probably a Luhya and a Kenyan by birth.

This is the man who was caught with over a dozen grenades, machine guns and nearly a thousand unspent cartridges in a house he claimed to be his. When he was taken to court, he quickly pleaded guilty to the charges of illegal possession of fire arms and injuring two people in a grenade attack two days earlier in central Nairobi.

The bus stop attack was the second in less than 24 hours in the very heart of Nairobi. These attacks came hot on the heels of Al Shabaab threats that they would retaliate the invasion of Kenyan army in their Somali territory.

To tell you the truth, Elgiva Bwire’s arrest and subsequent admission that he is indeed an Al Shabaab member brings into sharp focus the belief among Kenyans that all Al Shabaab members are of Somali origin. Now we know that the terrorist group has recruited indigenous locals to carry out its mission here at home in Kenya.
This Bwire Oliacha is no Mohamed Seif and may probably not be a Muslim by faith. He could very well be one of the many hirelings paid by the terrorists to cause mayhem, fear and despondency in Kenya.

His arrest reminds us of the kind of “Muslim “characters that coordinated the recent Ugandan attacks during last year’s World cup event in Kampala. The leads that the Ugandan security agencies followed took them to individuals that were not necessarily Somalis but were ordinary Kenyans and Ugandans that had assumed Muslim names.

Whereas the Kenyan military is justified in fighting the Al Shabaabs inside Somalia to cut off arms supplies and exterminate sporadic incursions into Kenyan territory from time to time, the truth of the matter is that there is urgent need for the Kenyan Intelligence and Security agencies to look closer home where the bigger problem may have been entrenched.

For so long, Kenya had adopted a dangerous attitude towards the war in Somalia. We allowed an influx of undocumented refugees into our borders. We allowed questionable investments into our economy. Right now many parts of Nairobi have become mini Mogadishu. The Central Business District is a no-go area. Every hotel and restaurant you go to is full of this ethnic community who idle all day drinking coffee when other Kenyans are busy working. The Jamia Mosque is no longer a Kenyan Muslim Mosque. It was taken over by foreigners a long time ago. If you go to Eastleigh, Embakasi estates and up market suburbs of Nairobi including South C areas, you would be forgiven for thinking that you are in Somalia.
Right now, 80% of Forex Bureaus are owned and manned by foreign Somalis with some starting a 24 hour business.

Is Kenyan planning to vet all the millions of Somali nationals it allowed to move here with ease just a few years ago? What will it do with these foreigners that it gave Kenyan ID cards and passports?

The dilemma Kenya has is that it cannot differentiate between Kenyan Somalis and Somali Somalis. They look alike, speak the same language, same religion and share the same clan naming system. Any mass screening of all Somalis will definitely raffle the feathers of genuine Kenyan Somalis.

Therefore in fighting the Al Shabaab militias inside Somalia, Kenyan authorities must appreciate the fact that an arm of the enemy that may be equally dangerous is actually within our borders, has become our business partner and even enjoying sensitive and influential leadership positions here at home.

While it is gratifying to see genuine and peace loving Somalis in Somalia embrace Kenyan forces, the same cannot be said of Kenyan Somalis, some of them  even members of the Kenyan Parliament that are always too eager to oppose any  security measures against militias that may be Somalis themselves. What these ordinary Somalis in Somalia tell is that they are not the beneficiaries of the Al Shabaab war. However, well placed Somalis with business and political connections in Kenya are the beneficiaries. For that reason, they will go to any lengths to ensure that Kenya does not vet them. The only way to do that is to hire young Kenyans to distract the government by causing fear and despondency in the country.

The 28 year old Oliacha has no capacity or the financial wherewithal to manufacture or purchase firearms. Somebody must be supplying him with these arms from a source. The same person must pay him well and give him a new set of names through the exploitation of his social circumstances- poverty; joblessness, deprivation and despair to enable him have the urge to kill fellow innocent Kenyans.

When the Somalis in Somalia demonstrate and burn the pictures of their president and call him a weak president, the act speaks volumes. It proves that ordinary Somalis have no faith in their government. When the Somali military dismiss their president’s attack on Kenya as not representative of the views of the Somali government; it may be the writing on the wall for Sheikh Sharif Ahmed. His days may be numbered.

Sheikh Sherif Ahmed may well be reminded  that he once headed the Al Shabaab militia, then known as the Islamic Courts Union to fight against the first transitional government under President Abdullahi Yusuf. Had it not been for the intervention of Ethiopian soldiers, he would have overrun Somalia and made it an Islamic State with Sharia laws.

Being the original Al Shabaab head, one can understand his reluctance to allow Kenyan soldiers to deal with his comrades. Who knows? He may even be in the payroll of these militias.
In uprooting Al Shabaabs from Somalia, the allied forces must shop for a credible and strong leader that Somalis can have faith in; not the feeble president that cannot even manage Mogadishu.