The existence of extremist groups that have for long undermined economic activities and progress in Kwale County has significantly reduced following various government interventions.
Principal Secretary for Youth and Gender Affairs SafinaKwekwe blamed youth radicalisation in the county on unemployment, real and perceived marginalisation.
Ms. Kwekwe however noted that the prevalence of extremist groups has waned and most of the radical groups in the region are no more following diverse youth development and empowerment initiatives by both the national and county government.
“Majority of the youth have reformed and now engage themselves in useful income generating projects with support from the two levels of government,” said the Ms. Kwekwe while officiating a youth entrepreneurs event at the Kwale Cultural Centre in Kwale town.
She said unlike in the past when the government did not include the youth in its development agendas, things have now changed and they are being fully engaged and offered opportunities for growth.
“Previously, the youth had this notion of being sidelined which coupled with idleness led them fall prey to radicalization and formation of organized gangs,” she added.
Ms. Kwekwe said the government development initiatives are transforming the lives of people in the county noting that their impact has seen fundamentalist groups like Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) that was advocating for Coast secession, fade out.
“The group has long been rendered irrelevant and is long forgotten because there is now hope for the locals since nobody is being left behind in turning the wheel of economic development and in safeguarding the county’s resources,” she said.
The PS further pleaded with the local youth to strategically position themselves to benefit from development activities.
She also urged them to spend their time wisely and not waste it on negativity especially on social media.
“If you can afford data bundles but waste it all on nonsensical chatting on social media, what if you use that money and time in doing something constructive? The benefits would be enormous,” she said.
County Executive for Culture and Social Services Mr. Ramadhan Bungale, said the youth in the area are moving towards economic emancipation through sustainable economic activities.
He urged the youth to network and get exposure on what others are doing to transform their lives economically through self-employment.
“I am afraid the county is not in a position to employ everyone but I believe if you keep networking, I bet each person can come up with a business idea and see it thrive,” he said adding that the youth should take advantage of the social media to spot out various brilliant business opportunities instead of misusing it.
By Shaban Omar and James Muchai