Involve counties in war against violent extremism, government told


KPA General Manager Human Resources and Administration Daniel Ogutu addressed 78 KPA Marshalls who were trained in counter-terrorism, first aid, and disaster management. [Robert Menza, Standard]

The national government has been asked to partner with county governments in the war against terrorism and violent extremes.

During a Twitter Space discussion on the national strategy to counter violent extremism, stakeholders held the view that county governments are integral players in the process.

They said citizens can contribute by addressing vulnerabilities within their communities and by supporting and mentoring at-risk youth.

A renowned researcher Dominic Pkalya said the attempts to revise the 2016 strategy were based on the need for public participation and thus the involvement of the devolved units is key.

According to Pkalya, recruitment and radicalization happen at the grassroots level and thus the war cannot be won at the national level without addressing the root cause.

“We are happy that the revised national strategy is focusing more on the societal approach to dealing with acts of extremism,” he said.

According to Pkalya, many counties are yet to understand how radicalization, acts of terrorism and violent extremism affect economies.

He said there are counties that in the past have lost revenue by over 50 per cent due to acts of terrorism and radicalisation.

His sentiments were echoed by Dr Ngala Chome who said the revised edition is a major turning point for Kenya to involve other players in the fight against violent extremism.

Chome said in a kinetic reaction to the problem, the government has been using violence to respond to the situation which left a lot of gaps while opening up many rat holes.

“The 2016 strategy was about the state responding to the problem, but the revised edition has changed all that and allowed for society approach,” said Chome.

According to him, unclear definitions of what radicalization and violent extremism meant have seen incidences like an unwarranted association of the Muslim community with extremism.

“I understand there is an ongoing debate of whether incidences like banditry, cattle rustling and the likes of Shakahola should be branded as extremism and radicalization but the government should take advantage and come up with a public communication strategy that would help the masses understand the complexity of the issues,” said Chome.

The National Counter Terrorism Centre head of Partnerships Fred Ndegwa said the revised strategy to counter violent extremism promotes inclusivity by clearly defining how youth, women, and marginalised groups can be involved in PCVE.

he said the strategy encourages small-scale, localized actions, supporting the notion that everyone can contribute to PCVE whether through arts, mentorship, or community programs.

“The strategy emphasises the importance of improved coordination and cooperation among various actors. It envisions creating a cohesive network that avoids duplication of efforts and streamlines resources. By recognizing the contributions of grassroots organizations and facilitating information sharing, the strategy aims to foster a more synchronized approach to PCVE,” said Ndegwa.