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Governor calls for concerted effort in the fight against violent extremism

Kwale County Governor Mr Salim Mvurya has called for concerted efforts to combat violent extremism, radicalization and terrorism in the region

Mvurya underscored that violent activities of extremist groups pose a direct threat to peace and socio-economic progress. He urged residents, especially the youth in the coastal county to reject religious extremism in all its forms and embrace peace, love and unity.

The county boss said extremism seeks to spread fear, destruction and disunity through religious bigotry which have no place in modern society. He said the police, religious leaders and the general public should resolve to fight radicalization and violent extremism at all levels right from the family level.

“Terrorism seriously affects the country’s economy more so Kwale where the fragile tourism sector is our economic mainstay,” he said, adding that religious leaders should no longer sit and watch as the threat of violent extremism spreads impacting on key sectors such as tourism and agriculture.

He noted that Diani Beach in Msambweni Sub County has been awarded the best seashore destination in Africa for six years consecutively observing that the impact of terrorism on the travel and tourism industry can be enormous.

“We shall remain committed to guarding the safety and security of Diani beach as we market our destination,” he said.

Mvurya said his administration has done a lot in collaboration with the national government, including giving students bursary to go to school instead of loitering, providing youth engagements programmes such as businesses, sports and cultural activities among others.

He urged leaders to stop inciting the youth but foster cohesion, inspire them and give them hope instead adding that young people should not allow themselves to be brainwashed by radical groups with hidden and devious agenda.

Mvurya said his administration has partnered with the Kenya Defence Forces to train all its enforcement officers in intelligence information gathering.

He said the devolved unit has offered many employment opportunities to the youth as a way of defeating terrorism among the young people who are susceptible to terror recruitment.

The Governor was speaking at a hotel during a workshop on radicalization and violent extremism in the Kenyan coast. Several organisations, counties and the national government were represented.

They included Human Rights Agenda (Huria) led by its Executive Director Yusuf Lule who hailed Kwale County for being the first to come up with an Action Plan for fighting terrorism.

Lule said the civil society sector will go out of its way to help the government in the fight against insecurity to ensure peace and tranquility in the region.

Coast Regional Commissioner John Elungata, Kwale County Commissioner Gideon Oyagi, National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) and several Community Based Organisations (CBOs) were also present.

Elungata said the government is working towards providing young people with technical and vocational skills, empowerment funds and have no reason to engage themselves in destructive behaviour.

The regional administrator said the government is keen to hear the views of all stakeholders on the best ways to tackle the growing threat of extremism and terrorism.

By Hussein Abdullahi

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