Now Obama’s coming to town, can we talk about fighting terror without ethnic profiling?

With Nairobi preparing to welcome US President Barack Obama and Westgate Mall about to reopen after the deadly 2013 terror attack, it would be a timely moment to hear about efforts to repair trust in Kenya’s security forces and to ensure that they do not unfairly target minorities and foreigners.

This silence is particularly deafening in the face of US President Barack Obama’s commitment in 2014 to provide $65 million to improve the governance of security forces in six African countries, including Kenya.

Any efforts to beef up the security in Nairobi’s malls and the country at large are going to be shaky at best unless Kenya’s leaders and police come to grips with the country’s new multicultural reality.

Those who are “not Kenyan enough” are treated with suspicion and this often translates into harassment by police and security services who do not realise that countering crime and protecting human rights, particularly those of minorities, are actually mutually reinforcing goals.

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