NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 28 – Kenya has seen increased efforts towards fighting terror following a series of attacks that claimed hundreds of lives, the recent one being the attack on the Kenya Defence Forces in Somalia.
The Government has now, in collaboration with other stakeholders, developed a National Counter Violent Extremism (CVE) policy, to be used with other laws in the war against terror.
Director of the National Counter Terrorism Center Martin Kimani says the policy, which is set to be launched in a few weeks time will adopt holistic approaches on fighting the vice.
Among the proposals, is a plan to give civil society and Faith Based Organisations an upper hand in fighting extremism and terror.
“When it comes to CVE’s strategy, which many of you participated in putting together, we are essentially ready but we would very much like a good launch where Government is cognizant of the strategy,” he said.
He was speaking on Thursday during a private sector consultative forum on Countering Violent Extremism which was organised by the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims.
Once in place, Kimani said, the police will allow the Civil Society Organisations to, “Engage in responsible advocacy efforts in public interest while considering the sensitivity of Violent Extremism.”
The Council Secretary General Adan Wachu on his part said the policy must help identify the narrative being used to radicalize youths and also address the suspicion among religious groups.
“Radicalization of youth to violent extremism is the epicenter of terrorism and terrorist activities in Kenya,” he said.
“The recruitment and radicalization of vulnerable youth has spread throughout the country. This recruitment has taken advantage of the difficult historical circumstances facing youth that include real and perceived marginalization, grinding poverty, un-employment, drug abuse and manipulation by the political and religious elites.”
The Government was challenged to increase support of sustainable CVE’s, provide technical assistance to State and Non-State Actors in countering the vice and invest on research still on the same.
During the forum, various stakeholders challenged the Government to also deal with the ‘perception’ that the Government was against some certain people and mostly Muslims.
Such feelings have been expressed in the coastal and the Northern region where the security apparatus have carried out a number of crackdowns.
He said despite Kenya adopting what was termed as stringent security laws, Kenyans have not been deprived of their rights.
“Globally, established democracies are limiting their civil liberties to fight terrorism. In Kenya we’ve gone the opposite way, the Kenyan people have decided we are going to strengthen our democracy and we are also going to fight terrorism,” he said.
“We are bringing Kenya and the region’s finest minds to bear on this problem.”
He urged leaders to support the Government initiatives in securing the country while cautioning that politicizing will only destroy the gains made so far.
“Everyone seems to be blaming each other over something. Who is the victim?” Kimani queried.
He also pointed out that coordination among security agencies has since improved after a number of attacks that was blamed to intelligence breakdown.