After Kenya having been hit several times by terrorist groups, all the 47 counties have now been tasked to develop and implement a robust and coherent county action plan to prevent and counter violent extremism.
The County action plans will dovetail into the national strategy to counter violent extremism launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta on September 7, 2016.
The objective is to make sure that each county delivers a counter violent extremism plan that resonates with the realities and dynamics of the specific county.
Counties were given until June 30 this year by President Uhuru to come up with plans that bind diverse actors in a
coordinated practical and non-duplicative campaign against the motivations, ideology and causes of violent extremism that are peculiar to each.
According to Tom Adala, Head of Strategy at the National Counter Terrorism Centre, peculiar action plans for each county will deny opportunities for terrorist groups to radicalise and recruit in Kenya.
Adala is leading a team that is helping counties in the Western region to develop their individual action plans.
Speaking in Bungoma where the exercise kicked off on Friday June 14 and ends Saturday June 15, he said the exercise began in the hot spot counties of Mombasa, Garissa, and Lamu counties about two years ago with the aim of devolving the national strategy.
The latest incident in January where 31 lives were lost in the 14 Riverside Dusit Hotel attack prompted the President to direct that the team works round the clock to ensure that all counties have their county action plans by June 30 this year.
He said three teams had been dispatched to Western, Central Kenya and Rift Valley counties to work concurrently so as to meet the presidential deadline as well as come up with a very good strategy that can be implemented.
Adala said this was not going to be just like any other government blueprints that would end up gathering dust on some shelves, but assured stakeholders that the strategy would be implemented to the letter.
He assured participants that teams will be dispatched from the national anti-terrorism centre before the end of the year to carry out monitoring and evaluation as well as do a baseline survey and will work closely with state actors, civil society, the NGOs, private sector and the national partners.
Adala said that initially the counties will undertake build up activities on what he called a very modest budget to cover a period of twelve months. To push the plans forward.
Every county will come up with small activities to undertake to actualise their plans.
Bungoma, like other counties, was given an opportunity to choose five key pillars of the strategy that touch on pertinent issues of Bungoma in terms of security and radicalisation cutting across from education, gender, ideology, economic empowerment, and media.
A county engagement forum was then formed to chart the Bungoma draft that will be polished, adopted and validated on Saturday.
By Roseland Lumwamu