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Law to counter violent extremism in the offing

The National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) is drafting a model Prevention of Violent Extremism Law to give county governments a legal framework to handle issues related to violent extremism, an officer has said.

The NCTC’s Director in charge of Prevention and Resilience Mr. Njenga Miiri said the drafting of the model law is at an advanced stage and that the 47 county governments will be expected to customize it through their respective county assemblies for use in their respective jurisdictions.

The Director said NCTC was at the final stages of drafting the model legislation that was found necessary after the organization helped Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru and Laikipia counties to develop legislation on the matter; and was using the experiences learnt to provide all counties with a model law to work with as they develop their own legislation.

Miiri was speaking at a Malindi hotel during a learning event organized by the Collective Resilience Against Extremism Programme (CREATE) that sought to influence decision-makers on the need to forge a united front in preventing violent extremism in the country.

He said plans were underway to incorporate Members of County Assemblies in their engagements to ensure that the violence extremism is nipped in the bud by using preventive measures rather than the reactive responses that the government and other actors had been using.

“We have also engaged the Council of Governors and Governor Dhadho (Godhana) of Tana River, who is the chair of the security committee of the CoG has been our champion representing the governors,” he said.

“We have also involved the County Assemblies Forum (CAF) so that we can have better frameworks of engagement and I am sure very soon, God willing and resources permitting, we should be able to engage more with Members of the County Assemblies,” he added.

Miiri said it was imperative that Kenya finds home grown solutions to the problem of violent extremism, adding that it was not possible to perpetually continue depending on donors on the matter.

“We cannot depend on donors perpetually. These are our problems; we must own them, and we must invest in them. We must put our resources where our issues are,” he said.

CREATE is a United Kingdom (UK)-funded Prevention of Violent Extremism (PVE) programme that works across the East African Region. In Kenya, it works in the counties of Kilifi, Lamu, Mombasa, Kwale, Isiolo and Nairobi.

The programme has implemented a youth centred prevention of violent extremism (PVE) programme providing foundational mentorship, trauma counselling, skills development and referral to opportunities to young people from high-risk locations, to help reduce their risks of engaging with violent extremist groups.

The event brought together Kilifi and Lamu county legislators and County Executive Committee (CEC) members, the National Counter Terrorism Centre, Chief Officers, Directors, implementing partners and National Government representatives.

Its aim was to influence decision makers and ensure the gains made are consolidated and sustained. According to CREATE Deputy Team Lead, Ms. Ubah Hassan, such lessons provide useful learning for county and national government to mainstream PVE actions within County Action Plans.

Hassan said the programme had reached 1,363 at-risk youth who had received personalised targeted support ranging from mentorship and counselling, life skills, seed funds, business startups among others.

Malindi Town MCA Mr. Rashid Odhiambo called on leaders to take personal initiatives to tackle problems affecting the youths, especially lack of employment that had made many youth idle, sentiments made by his Ganda ward counterpart, Mr. Oscar Wanje.

Nominated MCA Ms. Betty Kache said she would introduce a motion in the Kilifi County Assembly to urge the County Government of Kilifi to introduce the Kazi Mitaani programme at the county level in order to provide the youth with employment opportunities.

By Emmanuel Masha

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