NAIROBI, Kenya, June 25 – Deputy President William Ruto has challenged participants in the ongoing Regional Conference on Countering Violent Extremism to devise daring ways of fighting the menace in Kenya and the African continent.
The Deputy President, while opening the conference on Thursday, said for the menace to be contained, speedy measures have to be put in place through an all inclusive approach.
Addressing the over 300 delegates attending the conference at KICC from across the world, Ruto pointed out that violent extremism was as a result of a complex interplay of factors, particularly at the local and national levels.
“A counter violent extremism plan needs to be driven by evidence and be adaptive enough to change as necessary,” he said.
He noted that such a plan must be anchored in robust conceptual approaches and empirical research rooted in the particularities of regions, countries, local neighborhoods and communities.
He pointed out that a regional counter violent extremism plan must reflect on the specific government capacities, role of the civil society as well as promoting human rights.
While cautioning of the terrorist plan to divide Kenyans along religious line, Ruto assured that, “Kenya will remain firm…we shall not be bullied out of our peaceful co-existence.”
“The terrorist want to introduce distorted forms of religion to unwilling populace for them to continue with their evil activities,” he cautioned.
Among the areas that will be focused on according to the Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph NKaissery include the role of social media, religious and learning institutions in radicalization of youths.
This session, he said will explore on how to quickly move from present state of learning on violent extremism and terrorism to a near-term future where action, “is more comprehensively guided by evidence-driven research.”
The US Undersecretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights Sarah Sewell challenged the forum to come up with ways that will promote the public trust on the security sectors.
High powered panels that include ambassadors, human right groups and security players are set to discuss the 9 point agenda ahead of making conclusive recommendations on Saturday.
Areas being extensively discussed include the typologies and drivers of violent extremism in Africa, the local architecture and dynamics of radicalization and recruitment as well as ways of de-legitimizing violent extremist narratives.
Other sectors include the role of the private sector in the war, developing effective NGO programming for Counter Violent Extremism (CVE), promotion of research and learning of evidence driven CVE action and the role of the internet and the media.
“What are some examples of cost effective cyberspace policing and activism against violent extremism that African CVE actors can learn from?” will be some of the queries the forum seek to answer.
At the end of the 3-day forum, delegates will come up with a national counter violent extremism plan and effective ways of global partnering in combating violent extremism.