Sunday, July 14

How Zakariya Kamal Suspected Terrorist Supplier Won a Sh2Bn Drone Tender

Zakariya Kamal: How Suspected Terrorist Supplier Won a Sh2Bn Drone Tender

Who is Zakariya Kamal Sufi Abashiekh?


How did he become one of the most controversial figures in Kenya’s security sector?


And why is he still walking free despite being linked to terrorism?


These are some of the questions that many Kenyans are asking after learning that Zakariya Kamal, a man who was charged with supplying military equipment to Al Shabaab in Somalia, has won a lucrative tender to provide drones to the Kenyan government.

Shady Past

Zakariya Kamal was born in Kenya, but 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 called ZAKS Enterprises, which claimed to deal in 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.


According to the police, Zakariya Kamal used his contacts in China to buy an assortment of military equipment, which he then shipped to Mogadishu in three containers. The equipment included:


5 high-spec drones capable of carrying 10 litres of liquid at a height of 500 metres above sea level


Rifle scopes

Material rolls for making military uniforms

3000 metres of canvas for making tents

Portable and foldable solar panels

Military-grade walkie talkies and camouflage suits

18 pieces each of night vision goggles, voice recording pens, spy watches, spy glasses, swimming goggles

20 flashlights and batteries

Military-grade helmets

One of the containers was intercepted by the Somali authorities at the port of entry, and the contents were exposed to the public.


The other two containers are believed to have reached their destination, and are being used by the Al Shabaab to carry out attacks on civilians and security forces.



Shocking Release

Zakariya Kamal was arrested on June 27th 2023, after the police received evidence from his mobile phone and his confession that he was behind the shipment of the military gear.


He was charged with several offences under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, including belonging to a terrorist group and providing property for the commission of terrorist acts.


Kamal was arraigned before Senior Shanzu Principal Magistrate Yusuf Shikanda, who ordered him to be remanded in police custody for further investigations.


However, in a shocking turn of events, he was released on Ksh.1 million bond on July 28th 2023, after spending only one month behind bars.


His release raised questions about 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.


Some also wondered if he had any connections with powerful people in the government or the judiciary, who could have intervened on his behalf.


Dubious deal

As if his release was not scandalous enough, Zakariya Kamal soon won a tender to supply drones to the Kenyan government.


The tender, numbered AE-MOTI-281723-GO-RFB, was issued by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, and is worth Ksh.2 billion.


The tender document stated that the drones were meant to be used for surveillance and monitoring purposes in various sectors, such as agriculture, health, environment, and security.


However, many remain skeptical about the legitimacy and quality of the drones that Zakariya Kamal will deliver, given his track record of dealing with substandard and illegal equipment.


Some have also raised concerns about the security implications of having a man who was linked to terrorism having access to sensitive information and technology that could be used against the country.


Perhaps the most sensible thing would be for the government to cancel the tender and investigate how Zakariya Kamal managed to win it in the first place.


This case is not only a matter of national security, but also a matter of justice and accountability.


How can a man who arms terrorists and endangers the lives of millions of people be allowed to walk free and profit from public funds?


How such a man who has no regard for the law and human rights be trusted with sensitive information and technology?


Why would the current regime choose to reward a man who betrayed his country with lucrative contracts?


These questions that need urgent answers from the government and the judiciary, which now seems to be a toothless dog.


Zakariya Kamal should not be treated as a legitimate businessman or a respectable citizen. He should be treated as a criminal and a traitor, who deserves to face the full wrath of the law.


We should have a transparent and accountable system that ensures that public tenders are awarded to credible and qualified bidders, not to shady and dubious characters.


From his history, it is clear that Zakariya Kamal is a threat to the security and sovereignty of Kenya and must be stopped before he causes more harm.


Relevant authorities must act swiftly and decisively to revoke his bail, cancel his tender, and prosecute him for his crimes.


Anything less would be a betrayal of the Kenyan people and their interests.

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