, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 26 – As calls intensify for Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku and Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo to resign or be sacked over insecurity, renowned peace negotiator Bethwel Kiplagat says it will not resolve the bigger problem of Islamic radicalisation.
The focus on Lenku and Kimaiyo, Kiplagat said, was microscopic as acts of terror are being perpetuated well beyond Kenya’s borders and a holistic approach to the problem is therefore required.
“As Kenyans were reeling from the execution of 28 in Mandera, two female suicide bombers were blowing themselves up in Nigeria,” he said by way of illustration.
He argued there is an underlying bigger problem that will only be resolved once the issues hinged on radicalisation of Muslim youths are resolved.
“If the problem is unemployment, let’s find a way to create employment,” he said.
And moderate Muslim clerics, he said, would be key to winning the war against terror; Muslims themselves having suffered at the hands of extremists.
“Look at what is happening in Morocco,” he said. “The moderate clerics are reclaiming their youth. Explaining that contrary to the hate being spewed, Islam is a practice in tolerance.”
The clerics, he said, would also do well to underscore the similarities in fundamental beliefs of both Christians and Muslims.
“It’s worrisome that Christians are being selectively targeted. It makes one wonder what false impressions have been created yet we share much of the same history,” Kiplagat explained.
That being said, he said, the security forces still have an important role to play in subduing those already radicalised.
“How do you negotiate with someone who is not fighting against oppression but for oppression by trying to impose on you an Islamic state?” he posed.
Kiplagat who most recently served as Chairman of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission following the 2008 Post-Election Violence, also served as Kenya’s special envoy to Somalia during the 2003-5 peace process and has had a long career as a peacemaker.
During his time as Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary in the 80s however, he was accused of being party to the Wagalla massacre during which human rights were reportedly carried out by security forces.