Lenku recounts how skeptics taunted him as Interior Minister
It has now been 10 years since the West Gate attack, which occurred in 2013, claiming the lives of 67 people.
Kajiado Governor Joseph Ole Lenku, who was the Interior Minister at the time, recounts the ridicule he received during the incident, which he says hurt him.
He recalls how he was attacked for his statement on the burning of mattresses at Westgate, with some calling him incompetent and others mocking him by calling him ‘Mpishi’ because of his affiliation to Utalii College and his experience in the hospitality industry.
“What the public does not know is that individuals appointed to those offices are not appointed anyhow; there is a lot of background, research, and intelligence, and a lot of things that happen when one is appointed.”
He added that in the midst of all the insults, he knew that he was giving the country his all, and the most important thing to him at the time was Kenya winning against the terrorists.
He denied being sacked by former President Uhuru for incompetence. Lenku said he took the decision to resign because of the pressure he was under at the time and the immense ridicule he faced from people.
“I asked the president, for the sake of the country and even for his own sake, to allow me to step down.”
Narrating the Westgate ordeal as the man wearing the boots of national security, Lenku admitted that he was caught unaware.
He added that then Head of State retired President Uhuru Kenyatta, was fully informed about the terror attack, while he was completely oblivious to the incident.
In his defence, Lenku stated that the president usually has many sources of information, so there could be times when the boss is ahead of him.
“Of course it must be the endeavor of the interior minister to be ahead of the boss, but at times you find the boss ahead of you.”
The governor said the attack paved the way for legal frameworks to secure the country and that his ministry used the tragedy to improve the country’s situation.
“We had to modernize our security equipment in terms of better equipment, an enhanced budget, and the creation of multi-agency teams.”