Magazine article New African

Mitigate Africa's New Threat: Terrorism: The Horrors of the Westgate Mall Attacks Raise the Question as to Why Kenya Should Have Born the Brunt of This Vicious Outrage

Magazine article New African

Mitigate Africa's New Threat: Terrorism: The Horrors of the Westgate Mall Attacks Raise the Question as to Why Kenya Should Have Born the Brunt of This Vicious Outrage

Article excerpt

The 21 September terrorist attack on Nairobi's up-market shopping centre, Westgate, was despicable, cowardly and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Many shoppers--locals, tourists and expatriates, were hit with a reality which is seemingly rooting itself in Africa--a continent which has had its fair share of challenges already.

Now regarded as a continent on the rise, Africa has suffered from the imported terror of slavery, colonialism, apartheid, neo-colonialism and a vicious East versus West Cold War, fought using the continent's land and proxy leaders--mainly dictators--but as servants for Washington and Moscow.

Yet while the continent is emerging from these ills in various forms and at different paces, as seen in the sluggish but real political reforms--taking place with minimal military coups, "regular" elections, leaders (read dictators) donning Western suits and constitutionalism (although fully changeable)--there are signs that God might, at last, be resident on the continent, with now regular discoveries in oil, minerals and a sudden realisation about how fertile and untapped the cradle of humanity is.

But typical of our leaders, most of whom revere the foreign rather than the local, after Somalia was broken and later abandoned by the US in the early 1990s, the country was left to struggle. Post-9/11, not only did major terrorism visit the LIS on home soil but US interests and allies abroad were increasingly targeted--the 1998 bombings at the Dar es Salaam and Nairobi embassies being a case in point.

When US intelligence and strategists saw a likely threat from the residue of their expedition in Mogadishu, they sought--as usual--fronts to do their bidding. So in came Uganda and Burundi in the name of the African Union. As long as their soldiers built careers, CVs and above all, got paid away from their national exchequers to the happiness of their commanders-in-chief "allies" of the US, it was just fine. …

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