Friday, 24 July 2015

Ethiopia: Security has “radically devolved” power to local authorities


Ethiopia: Security has “radically devolved” power to local authorities Kenya has a security problem, Could Kenya Learn from Ethiopia’s Anti-terror Strategy? Review of Gabe Joselow (VOA), republished by HAN. Fighters from the militant group al-Shabaab, driven from their strongholds across Somalia, have claimed responsibility for gruesome attacks targeting non-Muslims in northeastern Kenya: hijacking a bus full of passengers in one recent incident, and attacking quarry workers as they slept in their tents in another.

Success Security story in Ethiopia:
The chairman of the electoral board, Merga Bekana, said this year’s elections were conducted in a “free, fair, peaceful, credible and democratic manner.”

The government will stay its course for the next five years, said Getachew Reda, an adviser to the prime minister who recently won a seat in Parliament.

Meanwhile, Billow Kerrow has noticed that Kenya’s neighbor to the north, Ethiopia, has had much more success preventing terrorism on its own soil, despite having a much longer border with Somalia, and a longer history of military involvement in the country. And he thinks Kenya should look to Ethiopia as a model.

“What I know is on most of its border they have created a buffer, almost 50 to 100 kilometers, and any activity by these groups in that region will be met by an incursion directly that will immediately eliminate the threat,” Kerrow said.

There have been some terrorist incidents in Ethiopia, but not nearly on the same scale as Kenya.

In 2013 a bomb exploded in the capital, Addis Ababa, allegedly killing two militant operatives.

The U.S. Embassy warned in October of this year of another al-Shabab threat in the Ethiopian capital, though nothing apparently came of it.

Cedric Barnes, Horn of Africa Project Director at the International Crisis Group, attributes much of Ethiopia’s anti-terror success to its work developing a police force from local communities in the ethnically Somali east.

But he notes that Ethiopia’s system is not necessarily translatable to Kenya. For one thing, Ethiopia has been security-minded for years, he says, and has “radically devolved” power to local authorities – a process Kenya is just beginning to implement.

Barnes says imposing an Ethiopian-style security mechanism in Kenya could mean rolling back some of the political liberalization that has taken place, particularly in the Somali-dominated northeast.Read More...

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