State says plans for counties to battle terrorism on course

Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Mohammed Maalim. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

The various players in the security sector have embarked on developing frameworks under which the two levels of government will work together towards the fight against terrorism.

Officials from the Ministry of Interior, Council of Governors, and civil societies are in a four-day retreat in Nakuru hosted by the National Counter Terrorism Center to deliberate over the matter.

Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Mohammed Maalim who represented the ministry underscored the need for concerted efforts in the fight against radicalisation and violent extremism.

“At the end of this exercise, we shall come up with a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding for developing legislation to stop terrorism and related activities on our land,” said Maalim.

The commissioner said the document that will be birthed from the round table engagement shall then be discussed across the 47 counties for further adoption or further amendments.

“The risks and fight against terrorism are unique to each county. We need legal frameworks so that the county governments can actively play their roles on security concerns,” he said.

Key among the discussions is the role of the county governments on security which is not among the devolved functions and how the counties can constitutionally participate in security matters.

Following President William Ruto’s declaration that it will not be business as usual in the fight against banditry, the commissioner said that such threats should be treated as acts of terrorism.

“I don’t see banditry being very far from what we are discussing here. Bandits are stealing innocent lives which is an element of terrorism, they are criminals we must deal with,” he said.

Maalim said in his interaction with governors from Samburu, Baringo, Laikipia and Elgeyo Marakwet the need for counties to have an active role in the security sector was emphasized.

“Incidents of insecurity start at the counties before they become a national concern. We must work cordially and harmoniously because security is ultimately the duty of everyone,” he said.

Maalim called on elected leaders and other policymakers at both levels of government to work towards the creation of an environment that works against the recruitment of youth into criminal groups.

“To stop radicalization, we need to alter the socio-economic conditions that provide a breeding ground for radicalization among our people. Our security forces have made great progress,” he said.