NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The international community must engage in a
fresh intellectual discourse to identify and root out drivers of
violent extremism that currently poses a mortal threat to human
civilization, a Kenyan scholar said on Sunday.
Peter Kagwanja, the CEO of Nairobi based Pan African Think Tank,
Africa Policy Institute said in a commentary published in a local
daily that governments must scale up investments in vibrant research
to inform policy, legal, political and economic response to violent
The Africa Policy Institute in conjunction with Kenya’s National
Counter-Terrorism Centre and the University of Nairobi on Friday
convened a workshop to discuss the new UN strategy to fight violent
extremism that was launched by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
Policymakers and scholars agreed that a fresh intellectual
discourse was an imperative in order to identify the root causes of
violent extremism that pose serious threat to peace, stability and
development in Kenya.
"There is an urgent need for empirical and policy-relevant
research to provide evidence to drive action against violent
extremism," Kagwanja said.
The new UN strategy to combat violent extremism has powerful
resonance in Africa where the menace has reached crisis levels.
Kagwanja noted that violent extremism has spread tentacles across
a large swathe of Africa to the detriment of civil order and
"In Africa, the rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria and Al-Shabaab in
Somalia herald the rise of home grown extremist groups. Violent
extremism knows no boundaries," said Kagwanja.
A global dialogue to explore new strategies to defeat violent
extremism has been ongoing since last year.
Kagwanja noted the international community is united in its
resolve to root out religious extremism that is fuelling terrorism
in different parts of the world.
"Ten major conferences have been held in nearly every region
across the world to discuss violent extremism. Kenya hosted a
regional conference on countering violent extremism in June last
year," Kagwanja said.
The launch of the United Nation’s new plan of action to prevent
violent extremism came against a backdrop of new terrorist attacks
in Indonesia, Burkina Faso and Somalia last week.
The Islamic State (IS) terror network was behind the attack in a
shopping mall in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta while an Al-Qaida
franchise staged an attack at a hotel in the Burkinabe capital of
Ouagadougou where 28 people died.
In Somalia, the Al-Qaida linked Al-Shabaab blasted their way
inside a military camp and killed scores of Kenyan soldiers at dawn
Kagwanja stressed that global solidarity was key to explore new
approaches to defeat terrorism.
Kagwanja stated that to defeat violent extremism, governments
must defend the values that under pins the liberal order including
good governance, respect to the rule of law, provision of good
education and inclusive development.
"The UN strategy highlights prevention as the cornerstone of an
effective response to violent extremism.
"We must address the underlying conditions and grievances that
push youth to join extremist groups," Kagwanja said.