Terror in India: What should East Africa Do?

Published on 1st December 2008

On 26 November 2008, India witnessed yet another surge of terrorist activities. Many attractions in Mumbai, India’s commercial city, were attacked. The Oberoi-Trident Hotel, Café Leopold, Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Nariman House and Railway station, among others bore the brunt of the attacks. Preliminary information said over 140 people were killed while over 200 others were injured. 

The well coordinated and sophisticated attacks were allegedly carried out by a little known group, Deccan Mujaheddin. This proves that there are many unknown terrorist organisations out there. The fact that no intelligence agency warned of this carnage shows how advanced and stronger terrorist groups are becoming.

Victims Rushed to Hospital
East Africa (especially Kenya and Tanzania ) is not new to terrorist attacks. On August 7, 1998, Dar es Salaam and Nairobi found themselves in the epicenter of terrorist attacks. What transpired still haunts these two cities. In Dar es Salaam 11 people were killed whilst 85 were injured. Nairobi lost over 200 people while over 3000 others were injured. 

Ten years down the line, the victims have never been thoroughly redressed, let alone the problem being scientifically addressed. The resurfacing of terrorists in India forces us to go back to the drawing board to check if our house is in order. Looking at the connections existing between India and East Africa, we need to do our homework well.

Shall the terrorists aim at us once again; we are likely to suffer a lot more. What with our weak systems and leaders who will fall for anything in pursuit of self aggrandizement! Indian fraudsters led by Jayantkumar Patel alias Jeetu Patel, stole billions of Shillings from the Central Bank of Tanzania (BoT). This gang of thugs is said to have strong ties with ruling politicos among them former BoT governor, the late Daudi Ballali.

Last November saw two senior ministers in former president Benjamin Mkapa’s government, Basil Mramba and Daniel Yona arraigned in court for abuse of power and obtaining wealth illegally. Earlier on, President Kikwete’s government had denied that there was corruption in its ranks. 

The ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) is implicated almost in every scam unearthed mainly by opposition. Mramba was a Minister for Finance and other ministries under Mkapa and Minister for industries Trade and Markets under current president Jakaya Kikwete. Like Mramba, Yona served under Mkapa in various ministries. He is said to own embattled Kiwira Coal Mine in Mbeya that is said to have been taken by Mkapa and himself illegally. These two former ministers are among main cogs in the wheel of corruption in Tanzania. 

The rampant corruption in the upper echelons of power in East Africa speaks volume shall foreigners be used by terrorists. In Kenya, the marriage of convenience (Goldenberg) between former president Daniel arap Moi, his vice president George Saitoti and Kamlesh Pattni left the country in penury. The trio have never been brought to justice thanks to the currently inept and corrupt regime with its burden (Anglo-Leasing). Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni geared by family business tried to offer Mabira forest to an Indian had not Ugandans blockaded it. This proves how vulnerable our countries are.  Our corrupt and myopic rulers can easily be used by gangs of criminals.  Somalia is said to be the bed of roses for Al-Qaeda and Islamic fundamentalists trying a hand on power. The ongoing piracy in the Indian Ocean tells it all. Given that criminals in Somalia need money by all means, shall al-Qaeda cash in, these criminals will give their service doggedly.

Tanzania is the only country in the world where foreigners (especially from India and Pakistan) enter and leave as they deem fit and wield immense power due to their connectivity with the corrupt cabal of rulers. The rulers use them to steal from the public, bribe voters and get to power. This has made it difficult to stop drug trafficking and money laundering. 

Our borders are broken thanks to having corrupt officials there supervised by corrupt government. Look at the substandard items on East African shelves. Look at tax evasion and stupid privatization like that of National Bank of Commerce in Tanzania and recent privatization of Grand Regency in Kenya. They tell you how desperate the situation is. 

Apart from corruption, Islamic fundamentalism is growing exponentially in East Africa. Currently in Tanzania; Muslims are agitating that Tanzania should join the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). The same are still pressurizing the government to introduce Kadhi courts, something Christians do not want to hear. This is the same in Kenya. Refer to how Christians boycotted the draft constitution thanks to its embedding the Kadhi Courts. Given that many anti-American groups have always hidden behind Islamic agenda, this surfaces to give them what they are looking for. Our people may wrongly sympathize with them believing they are serving their religion just like it happened in other countries like India, Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

Our people are becoming poorer and poorer. This provides an opportunity for terrorists to easily recruit shall they decide. Without improving our economy and bettering the lives of our people, we are doomed. Without ruling and acting responsibly we are a good source of future homegrown terrorists. Poor people do not regard themselves as part of their country especially when they see foreigners accumulate wealth just because they can be illegally trusted by the rulers.The time to change strategies is now.


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