Nyeri County Engagement Forum, a county committee, which has been implementing the County Counter Terrorism Strategy against violent extremism, on Friday launched a series of volleyball tournaments to foster cordial relationship between members of the public and security actors.
The volleyball friendlies which were held at the Kamukunji Stadium in Nyeri, saw teams from the Kenya Police Service, Kenya Prisons, Kenya Wildlife service, Administration Police, National Government Administration Officers, IEBC, and County Law Enforcement officers pitted against teams by boda boda riders, youth from informal settlements, market traders and nyumba kumi elders.
According to Foundation for Dialogue (FFD), the event’s main organisers, the main aim of the tournaments was to bridge the divide between civilians and the disciplined forces as a way of improving their relationship and also improving information sharing.
FFD’s director, Dr Michael Mugo, noted that the first set of the matches would be played in Nyeri central sub-county but the plan is to cascade the tournaments to other sub-counties within Nyeri.
“This is a long term programme to create trust between wananchi and security personnel as a collaborative mechanism for fighting terrorism.
After these games members of the public will be free to always share any information regarding their security with police without fear. They will also communicate with each other formally and this will improve the overall safety space,” said Mugo.
Present during the launch was Nyeri County Secretary, Benjamin Gachichio, who noted that the country had made considerable steps in the fight against terror due to the collaboration between citizens and the government.
He at the same time acknowledged the importance of teamwork between security actors and civilians in the fight against terrorism and called on both parties to nurture an amiable working relationship.
“As a county, our aim is to create a war front supported by civilians and security forces to confront radicalisation and violent extremism. We are very happy that we have not had any serious issues of violence in Nyeri and that is the way we want to go. It is of importance for the security forces to work in harmony and in trust with the wananchi to fight a common enemy particularly in terrorism,” said Gachichio.
Nyeri County Police Commander, Martin Oloo urged residents to maintain a good relationship with police and to continue volunteering information that will be useful in maintaining security and order.
By Wangari Mwangi and Leah Methu