- As the Minister of Defence, Aden Duale has the responsibility of ensuring the security and sovereignty of Kenya from any external threats.
However, his performance in this role has been questioned by many Kenyans, especially in the wake of the recent video released by Al-Shabaab, which showed the terrorists killing unarmed innocent civilians in the Lamu LAPSSET program last year.
The attack, which took place on March 11, 2022, claimed the lives of four Kenyan civilians and one Chinese contractor and destroyed a tipper truck and other equipment.
According to some reports, drones were utilized in the Lamu attack for observation and reconnaissance, allowing the culprits to plan their strikes precisely.
Zakariya Kamal: Nexus Between Terror and Business.
The video has sparked fears that Al-Shabaab could have indeed acquired sophisticated military equipment from China, allegedly supplied by a Kenyan-Chinese tycoon named Zakariya Kamal, who had won a Sh2 billion tender to provide drones to the Kenyan government.
The tender was allegedly issued by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure.
According to reports, Zakariya Kamal diverted some of the drones he imported to Al-Shabaab, using his network of smugglers and intermediaries.
The medium-altitude long-endurance combat drones that can carry up to 345 kg of payload and fly for up to 40 hours.
The reports also allege that Zakariya Kamal provided the terrorists with training and technical support on how to operate and maintain the drones.
Over the years, the name Zakariya Kamal has become synonymous with terrorism.
In June 2023 was accused of buying an assortment of military equipment from China, which he then shipped to Mogadishu in three containers.
The equipment included rifle scopes, material rolls for making military uniforms, portable and foldable solar panels, military-grade walkie-talkies and camouflage suits, night vision goggles, voice recording pens, spy watches, spy glasses, swimming goggles, flashlights, batteries, and military-grade helmets.
One container was intercepted by the Somali authorities at the port of entry, while the other two are believed to have reached their destination and are being used by Al-Shabaab.
Zakariya Kamal was arrested and charged with several offenses under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, including belonging to a terrorist group and providing property for the commission of terrorist acts.
He was arraigned before Senior Shanzu Principal Magistrate Yusuf Shikanda, who ordered him to be remanded in police custody for further investigations.
However, he was released on Ksh.1 million bond, after spending only one month behind bars.
His release sparked outrage and suspicion, as many wondered how a man who was accused of such serious crimes could be granted bail so easily.
Many suspected that Zakariya Kamal had used his money and influence to bribe his way out of jail.
Although born in Kenya, Zakariya Kamal spent most of his childhood and youth in China, where he studied engineering and business.
He returned to Kenya in 2020 and established a company that claimed to deal in the import and export of various goods.
However, behind this facade, Zakariya Kamal was actually involved in a sinister scheme to arm the Al-Shabaab militants, who have for long waged a bloody war against the Somali government and its allies, including Kenya.
Where is Aden Duale?
The Lamu assault is not the only attack that Al-Shabaab has carried out in Kenya, especially in the coastal and northeastern regions.
The terror group has been responsible for several deadly assaults in the past year alone, such as the attack on a bus in Wajir County in December 2022, which killed 10 people, the attack on a police station in Mandera County in January 2023, which killed three officers, and the attack on a military base in Lamu County in February 2023, which killed five soldiers.
This has left many Kenyans wondering what Aden Duale and his ministry are doing to protect the country from these attacks and to prevent the infiltration of weapons and militants across the border by questionable individuals like Zakariya Kamal.
What measures have been taken to enhance the intelligence and surveillance capabilities of the security forces?
Have any steps been taken to coordinate with the regional and international partners to combat the threat of Al-Shabaab and their backers like Zakariya Kamal?
What actions have been taken to hold Zakariya Kamal and his associates accountable for their alleged involvement in arming terrorists?
These are the questions that Aden Duale needs to answer to reassure the public that he is fulfilling his duty as the Minister of Defence.
He cannot afford to be complacent or negligent when the lives and livelihoods of millions of Kenyans are at risk