The government of Kenya has highlighted some of the achievements in preventing violent extremism as the world marks the second international day of preventing violent extremism on February 12, 2024.
The day was set aside by the United Nations in 2022 to create awareness of the threats linked to violent extremism and strengthen international cooperation.
In a statement, the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) urged Kenyans to be actively involved in promoting peaceful co-existence and tolerance within communities.
The move is aimed at safeguarding Kenya’s social and democratic fabric from the threat of violent extremism (VE).
This is because Kenya has in the past been impacted by violent extremism manifesting through acts of terrorism.
“Today is a day to reflect on ways to prevent the spread of radical ideologies that preach intolerance, hate and violence in our society.
“This requires each one of us to be vigilant against attempts to sow discord to justify extremist violence, terrorism and other threats to national security,” NCTC noted in a statement.
According to NCTC, the State has the primary responsibility of fighting terrorism but the whole society must reject violent extremism, the seed out of which terrorism germinates.
This is also crucial in disrupting the ability of terrorists to recruit followers from the communities in Kenya.
“Working with State and non-State actors, NCTC has since 2016 been the lead agency in the implementation of the National Strategy on Countering Violent Extremism (NSCVE), which advocates for an all-of-society approach in eliminating extremism.
“The strategy is currently undergoing review to align it with prevailing realities and ensure sustained responsiveness with the evolving threat of terrorism,” read part of NCTC statement.
A key milestone has been rallying a diverse array of State and non-State actors in identifying and dealing with the factors driving VE in Kenya.
Greater involvement of communities and community-based groups in preventing and countering terrorism has resulted in enhanced vigilance especially in areas considered more vulnerable to terror attack.
The national prevention strategy has been successfully cascaded to the counties, with the 47 devolved units at various stages of formulating and enforcing policies and laws targeting extremism at the community level.
“There is also now greater public awareness of the dangers of radicalization, with parents, teachers and caregivers being sensitized on how to look out for online recruitment of children and youth by terrorist networks,” stated NCTC.
Kenya has also been actively engaged with its regional and international partners in strengthening the war against VE.