By Reuben Olita
A team from the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) in Nairobi is on the tour of Busia County to meet with people moving from one age-set to the other (initiates) on the need to embrace patriotism to avoid being recruited into organized criminal gangs.
Addressing the press at the Busia County Stadium after meeting youths from Busia Fusion Academy, players of Itoya Football Club and basketballers who were training at the venue, team leader Ronald Simiyu said the rite of passage counselling for initiates aims at equipping the youth with life skills that protect them from deliquencies and criminal behaviours, while protecting their health status and personal safety.
” Radicalization takes place especially for young people who are idle, and now that they are together after closure of schools and playing games, and being initiated into adulthood, we are using them to spread the message of patriotism,” he said.
He added: ” You realize what happened in the neighbouring country. Busia as a border county is not left out of this, thus the need to instill sense of patriotism in the youth to avoid them join terrorism groups.”
Mr Simiyu said there is need to raise anti-terrorism standards and work with other stakeholders to ensure terrorism is swept out of Kenya, adding that people need to be pro-active to ensure that radicalization does not take place.
” NCTC has started counseling curriculum in line with the current dynamics. The curriculum will help to build resilience against negative influences and aim to create a future generation with strong culturaln values and national ethos,” he said.
The curriculum will focus on personal and cultural context;health and safety gender and sexual context; culture and diversity; challenges facing the youth; sprirituality; self protection and building resilience, courage and hope; psycho-social context, mentorship and mental health; influencers; history and nationhood; identifying violent extremism; responding to violence extremism; and patriotism and nationalism.
NCTC is a multi-agency institution established by the Prevention of Terrorism Act to coordinate national counter-terrorism measures that prevent, detect, deter and disrupt terrorism acts.
Kenya is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural constitutional democracy in a region in which violent extremism, particularly exploiting religious texts and identity, threatens national and human security.
Kenya’s democratic and secular constitutional order is a direct target of Al Qaeda Jihadist terrorist groups and ideologues.
The NCTC is committed to deploying an innovative prevention capability under the countering of violent extremism framework.