End Violent Extremism for a Peaceful Kenya – Communique
July 23, 2021
End Violent Extremism for a Peaceful Kenya
COMMUNIQUE OF THE NATIONAL YOUTH AND WOMEN CONFERENCE
Over a hundred youth, women and religious leaders have gathered here at Ufungamano House on 21st and 22nd July 2021, for the National Inter Faith Youth and Women Dialogue on Countering Violent Extremism. The National Dialogue Forum, which is the culmination of three regional dialogue forums that were held in March this year in Nyanza, Coast and Nairobi regions, has been convened by the National Council of Churches of Kenya and the Young Women’s Christian Association. The delegates in the National Forum, reflected on the scripture recorded in Romans 12: 18
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
And in Surah Al-Hujurat Chapter 49 Verse 13
O you mankind, surely we created you of a male and a female, and We made you races and tribes, so that you may get mutually acquainted.
The delegates in the National Dialogue Forum recognize that effective Prevention and Mitigation of Violent Extremism depends on each Kenyan playing their role. Towards this, there is need for recognition and mitigation of localized manifestations and drivers of Violent Extremism. In this regard, this National Dialogue Forum recommends the following interventions.
- LOCALIZED DRIVERS AND MANIFESTATIONS OF EXTREMISM
This National Dialogue Forum has taken note of the main drivers and manifestations of violent extremism. These are:
|No||Region||Drivers and Manifestations|
|Coast||Historical Land Injustices, where there are delays in issuance of title deeds, low education of citizens on laws and policies, and failure to issue titles to local residentsSense of low involvement of local populations in Infrastructural projects (Gas, Coal, Port, Oil and Windmills)Fights for water corridors and pastureSense of injustice in view of large-scale business investments in which local residents are not involved|
|Upper and Lower Eastern||UnemploymentDrug and Substance abusePolitics driven conflictsNegative use of social mediaPoor prices of agricultural produce|
|Rift Valley||Cattle rustlingLand disputes leading to civil unrestTribe-driven violence|
|Nyanza and Western||Land disputes and wrangles in Mt Elgon and along county bordersTerrorism and radicalisationPolitics-driven violenceTeenage pregnancies, rape and early marriagesGrowing povertyIncrease in illiteracy|
|Nairobi||Political influence on electoral calendarReligious divisionsRising cases of abductionsExtra Judicial killingsHomosexuality|
- GAPS IN ADDRESSING VIOLENT EXTREMISM
This National Dialogue Forum has noted that over the decades, the primary response to violent extremism has been exertion of force and violence by the state. This strategy has largely failed to address the underlying factors that drive Kenyans into violent extremism.
Of key note is that the key actors and stakeholders have not been involved in the national strategy on prevention and mitigation of violent extremism. These include the youth themselves as well as the religious institutions.
In addition, this National Dialogue Forum has noted other gaps that hinder the mitigation against violent extremism. These include:
- Excessive bureaucracy and delays in issuance of land ownership documents to local residents
- Inadequate strategies to enforce laws that protect the environment
- Limited involvement of community members in dispute resolutions
- Political incitement that has largely targeted the youth and women
- Free flow of weapons into and within the country
- Corruption, which affects all people and hinders law enforcement
- Inadequate civic and voter education
- Widespread poverty
- Poor parenting
- Wide gap between citizens and law enforcement agencies
- Limited reporting mechanisms to influence action
- RECOMMENDED ACTIONS TO PREVENT AND MITIGATE VIOLENT EXTREMISM
Having taken into consideration the drivers and manifestations of violent extremism, this National Dialogue Forum recommends the following key actions:
- Nationwide civic education and sensitization on violent extremism, and especially the localized manifestations and viable interventions
- Effective campaign to arrest and ensure harsh repercussions on all drug traffickers
- Genuine economic empowerment targeting the youth and women
- Effective implementation of land-related laws to end injustice and violence
- Religious institutions to facilitate inter-generational dialogue
- Diplomacy, dialogue and mediation be integrated in the national education curriculum
- An effective and non-partisan campaign against corruption
- Government to partner with religious institutions to drive a parenting education programme
- Strict enforcement of elections related laws, and especially speedy punishment of political actors who incite hatred and violence
- Consultative development of a national strategy and programme for demobilization of youths, women and men who have been involved in gangs and extremist groups
We conclude by calling to mind that violent extremism is prevalent in Kenya, and it threatens to destroy the nation if it remains unchecked. Due to the mis-actions of different stakeholders, radicalisation into violence is growing in the nation. There is therefore a need for all Kenyans to join hands to address the factors that drive Kenyans into violence. In this way, we will contribute to the attainment of the prayer we make through our National Anthem.
O God of all creation, bless this our land and nation, justice be our shield and defender
May we dwell in unity, peace and liberty, plenty be found within our borders
May God enable every Kenyan to embrace justice and peace, and to be economically empowered, so that we all work to eradicate violent extremism.
Signed on this 22nd day of July 2021 at Ufungamano House, Nairobi.