Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Heroes' Monument, Nanyuki Barracks
April 2012, 0730Hrs
DOD Headquarters, Ulinzi House, Nairobi

“Why are we losing soldiers all over sudden? Are you not giving them timely intelligence?” the Chief of Defence Forces asked.

“We are, sir,” said the Director of Military Intelligence.

“Then what is happening? Why are they getting killed?”

“Sir, we can’t control what they do at the battlefront. We do our job; leave the rest to them…”

“How many were killed in the last night’s attack – five, seven? Something is wrong somewhere. Our soldiers are well trained. I don’t expect this growing number of casualties, unless they are not well briefed before an operation.”

The DMI weighed what he was about to say next. Then, “Sir, those soldiers were not killed by enemy fire…”

“What?”

*

President’s Speech, Mashujaa Day, 2012


“…and in addition, I applaud our gallant soldiers in Somalia for the good work they have done so far. They have made a great sacrifice in fighting for this country. They are our heroes.

“In particular I would like to recognize the fallen soldiers who died by the enemy’s bullet. The ground that sipped their blood may dry, their memories may fade, but their sacrifice will never be forgotten. The nation will never forget. We honour them for their valiance with the heroes’ medal of the Order of Grand Warriors of Kenya…”

*

May 2014, The Hilton Hotel, Nairobi

“Lynn, I heard you have an investigative piece coming next week,” he said over dessert. “Good work…”

“Who told you?”

“I have my sources…”

“That’s not why you asked me out, is it?”

“Well…”

“You son-of-a-bitch.”

“Lynn, it’s national security…”

“People died for this country, gave their lives. Wives were widowed, children orphaned, mothers left childless. Sorrow weighs upon them. They are grieving. Come on, Peter. It’s two years now and families of some of those soldiers who died in Somalia have not being compensated, and in particular the…”

“Lynn, you can’t air that exposé. I know you love what you do, and God knows we love it too. But this one can’t…”

“This date is over…”

“No, it isn’t,” he said. Lynn started to get up. “Sit down, Lynn…”

Against her alpha female judgement, the Ukweli  TV (UTV) investigative reporter perched her tight, denim-clad butt on the seat she had barely vacated.

An ominous blanket of silence enveloped them before Peter tore it asunder.

“Lynn, you can’t air that piece because those soldiers were not killed by enemy fire. They were traitors, Lynn…”

Lynn’s jaw dropped on the table, bounced twice before it dropped on the floor. Peter was still talking.

“….we had been following them for long. They were working for Al-Shabaab. They always reported our troops’ movement. You never wondered why most KDF soldiers were killed in ambushes? You are the investigative reporter…”

Lynn said nothing, just listened.

“The army can’t pay them, yet. But they are heroes. Their families can never know the truth, Lynn. The soldiers were traitors, not heroes…”

When Peter was done, Lynn couldn’t say anything. Or she just decided not to.


An eternity stretched before the investigative reporter said, “I will call my producer.” And with that she rose to go.

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