NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 26 – “We need to name this thing…we need to name for what it is. It is criminal, it is evil and it is acceptable,” Justice Patrick Kiage, Judge of the High Court advised delegates attending the Regional Conference on Countering Violence Extremism.
Kiage during the second day of the forum on Friday noted that for terrorism and its ‘catalyst’; violent extremism to be defeated, Kenya and the region must ‘loudly’ speak against the vice.
“The perpetrators are not insane; they calculate and do these things. They are criminally responsible for doing these things (killing),” he said. “To call them animals, is giving animals a bad name.”
Failure to speak out about terrorism, he noted will only encourage terrorist in causing more pain saying, “Being neutral only help the tormentor and not the victim.”
The Judge was ardently contributing during the high powered conference with delegates coming from across the world in a bid to develop an effective National Counter Violent Extremism (CVE) plan.
The session was aimed at identifying the key actors and constituencies in developing an inclusive national CVE plan.
Kiage challenged respective Government to also ensure there is equal distribution of resources to deny terror groups from using that to gain ground.
Other than social –economic issues, he cautioned that profiling of people on religious or ethnic background also worsens the situation.
During the forum, religious leaders in Kenya and the region were tasked to develop an appealing counter narrative that will promote tolerance among people of different faiths.
Various delegates said the religious institution were yet to do enough in countering the violent narrative being promoted by terror groups.
One of the panellist and the Director of Arigatou International Mustafa Ali cautions that terror groups like Al Shabaab wants to promote violence as a legitimate path in attaining a goal of suppressing the rights and prerogatives of other social, cultural and religious groups.
“Violent extremist are ahead of the curve and we (religious institutions) are below the curve and they are doing much more than we are doing,” he pointed out.
Canon Francis Omondi, a pastor in Anglican Church of Kenya in Garissa County on his part challenged religious leaders to be sincere in fighting terror and radicalization of youths.
“Narratives are important but communicating them needs the most sufficient ways. We could come up with solutions and ideals here but if it does not get to the people on the grassroots and to every corner to every house, this will be as good as dead,” he said.
The conference will be closed on Saturday by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The president will also receive various recommendations that will guide on how the region will approach terror activities.