Tuesday, May 6, 2014
The first attack saw a grenade detonate aboard a bus, while a second explosion occurred near an upscale hotel. By the following afternoon's double bus-bombing on a highway leading out of Nairobi, the country's busy social media was dominated by complaints about the absence of Uhuru Kenyatta, the president. He was conducting a state visit to Nigeria but it was notable that his office felt sufficiently stung to issue a statement defending the trip.
His administration's diet of tough talk against Somali refugees living in Kenya combined with poor performance and corruption by security agencies has attracted mounting criticism. The failure to sack a single leading official in the wake of the appalling mishandling of the Westgate shopping mall attack in September last year has shredded public confidence in the police and army.
Ory Okollah, a technologist and investor, who is one of the most influential Kenyan voices online, lambasted the government on Twitter: "The casual way in which Westgate inquiry was treated with a focus on a half-assed cover-up tells you how serious this govt is re security".
It has also prompted a fresh round of questions about what Kenya is doing occupying part of its chaotic northern neighbour, Somalia. Kenya's main opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) responded to the blasts by calling for Kenyan troops to withdraw from Somalia. A spokesman for the ODM asked why Kenyan soldiers were in a foreign country when Kenyans were being blown up on home soil.
The spate of attacks are unlikely to change Kenyan policy in Somalia where its soldiers—now under the auspices of the African Union—occupy the southern port city of Kismayo and its surrounds. What they have done is shine a light on the rot in Kenya's security sector. As Rasna Warah, a columnist, wrote in the country's leading morning newspaper: "Corrupt police and bent immigration officers are costing Kenyans their lives."