Nairobi News


The Sh15 billion Uhuru CCTV cameras that did not live up to promise

The image of a tough-talking President Uhuru Kenyatta warning terrorists in an advert airing on local TV station back in June 2014 will forever remain etched in the minds of many Kenyans.

In the well-crafted advert, the head of state sought to Kenyans and her visitors after the devastating terrorist attack on Westgate Mall that had happened in the September of 2013. In the siege that lasted three days, 67 people lost their lives.

But it is what the head of state said in the advert that would linger in the minds of Kenyans.

“Terrorists, criminals, thugs, run and hide because there will be thousands of cameras and millions of pairs of eyes watching you,” warned Mr Kenyatta.


He added: “Citizens and residents of Kenya we are together in the fight against terror. And together, we will prevail. Ulinzi unaanza na mimi. Ulinzi unaanza na wewe.”

To make this a reality, he said, the government had decided to install state of the art hi-tech security measures across the country.

“CCTV cameras will soon be operational in major cities and towns. Cameras that can pick out faces in crowds, and send them to command and control centres. That will use facial recognition technology to identify threats and relay the information to the response teams,” he said.

That project, according to media reports sucked at least Sh15 billion.


But five years on, we are wondering what became of the projects. The cameras are littered across several roads in the city but are yet assist the police in resolving a crime. At least, not publicly.

On Tuesday, five terrorists easily made their way into the exquisite 14 Riverside Drive Office Park and mauled down 14 innocent civilians.

All the roads leading to the Park, which housed Dusit D2 hotel and other tenants, have the cameras from the ambitious project.

Yet so far, the only available footage from the attack is from surveillance footage inside the complex.