The last two decades have seen a paradigm shift in the way terrorism is viewed by African governments.
The epicentre of this shift has seen Africa question why she seems to be receiving all the flak as far as terrorism is concerned.
The contributing factors are multifaceted and the synergy generated by these factors has become attractive to terrorism planners. The dwindling fortunes on the side of those who fund and plan terrorism has forced the planners to shift to cost friendly fishing ground.
It is becoming increasingly expensive to finance suicide bombers from the traditional fishing ground. It is thus easy to pay youth that are jobless and ravaged by poverty. Recent reports indicate youth were paid less than US$100 (Sh8, 400) to hurl hand grenades at churches and other crowded public places. There is also change in strategy in the way terrorism activities are carried out, such that the executioner is not harmed.
Another powerful and easier to veil as religious teaching is the use of doctrine to recruit youth into terrorism. To the planners of terrorism, this reduces cost associated with carrying out the same in an environment where security measures are tight and difficult to penetrate. The US’ unwillingness to tackle terrorism has reinforced this doctrine: Today, the US tackles terrorism by proxy, making poor nations in Africa more vulnerable to terrorism.
Besides, Africa harbours weak institutions that lack accountability and transparency; they serve to move terrorism to a higher notch by impoverishing the youths who are later recruited easily to terrorism. They also make it easier for security agencies to be compromised, especially at border points.
Unwillingness on the side of African regimes to reform the institutions and more so security providing institutions crowd all the efforts put in place to curb terrorism in Africa. No efforts are in place to reform security institutions for most of them serve as instruments of power perpetuation.
To reverse this trend, strengthening of the African union to give the organisation the impetus required to rein on rogue regime and ensure reforms take place is necessary.
Developed countries should see as moral obligation the need to build capacity in Africa. Not by providing smart weapons but by sharing and corroborating intelligent information. Lastly, Governments should establish policies that will fuel economic growth for sustainable job creation.
Simon Maina, South Dakota State University, USA