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Kitui County launches Action Plan to counter violent extremism

Kitui  County  on  Wednesday launched an action plan and formed a committee to counter violent extremism owing to  its  proximity to Somalia, a country ravaged by war waged by extremists.

Speaking in Kitui town after the launch, Kitui  Deputy  Governor, Dr. Wathe  Nzau noted that violent extremism is a big  challenge for Africa  and  the world today because it has no religion, no race, and no ethnicity or culture.

“The threat of violent extremism is growing exponentially, wreaking havoc on economies, and causing widespread social upheaval, including growing inter-faith intolerance,” said Dr. Wathe.

He  disclosed  that  violent  extremism  is  also  threatening  the  rule of  law, pluralism and causing political instability particularly  in  fledgling democracies across the world.

The  Deputy Governor appreciated the opportunity accorded by the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) training  in  the county to deepen understanding on the growing complexity of the drivers and typologies of violent extremism as it manifests in multiple domains.

He  underscored that whichever way violent extremism manifests, its impacts on the political, economic and social order, as well as the well-being of communities and families, can no longer be gainsaid.

Dr. Wathe noted that radicalization feeds into and is closely tied to violent extremism and terrorism.

The  NCTC Director, Njenga  Miiri  observed  that  drivers  of  violent extremism are multifaceted, and include fanatical ideology  and the promise of material incentives, state fragility that is characterized by poor service delivery and porous  borders.

Miiri  disclosed  that  violent extremism is part of a global political project that is driven by an ideology of self affirmation  rather  than a reactive phenomenon such as against oppression or marginalization.

“There  is  need to confront the threat with a robust, adaptive and collaborative preventive efforts, including sharing of lessons learnt and best practices, with a view to destroying the radicalization pipeline through the formation of county action plans to prevent and counter violent extremism,” he said.

Miiri  called  on  early  detection  of  radicalization  observing   that  these  local  networks  primarily  exploit  historical  grievances  held  by  vulnerable groups that may feel alienated, socially, economically and politically.

He  underscored the urgency of affected communities to deflate the perverted narratives by extremists and entrench the correct messaging that promotes the values of plurality, universalism, democracy, freedom and tolerance as the basis of ‘our common humanity.’

Miiri  said that the Kitui Rapid County Action Plan to prevent and counter violent extremism is part of the national focus on strengthening inclusive strategies and sharing experiences at all levels.

“The  formed  committee  will  reinforce social and political messaging; publicly, persistently and extensively as key to  delegitimizing  violent extremist narrative,” said Miiri.

By  Yobesh  Onwong’a

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