Women urged to help counter radicalization among the youth

Women attending an anti-radicalization meeting in Mombasa at a past function. PHOTO: COURTESY.

Mombasa, KENYA: Women in the Coastal region have been urged to be on the forefront to prevent and counter violent extremism in the country.

Speaking in Mombasa on Monday during a consultative dialogue forum on advancing women’s efforts in countering violent extremism in the country, Mr. Hassan Mohammed, CEO National Cohesion Integration Commission, said women are close to their children and they are able to tell any suspicious moral changes of their children than men.

“Women are very important because they are close to their children especially youths and they also spend a lot of time with them, so they are in good position to tell if the youths are behaving badly or if they are hiding something from them. Unlike men who are not always near their children.” He said.

He however blamed some women for hiding some of the ills their children do behind their back.

“Most of the women are fond of their children and this means that they are not ready to inform the authorities if their youths have joined illegal sects and militia for fearing of letting them to be arrested.” He added.

As the country is heading to electioneering period, Mr. Mohammed has warned political aspirants over uttering incite full and hatred words in public during political rallies, saying they will be arrested.

“During this tight political races the commission has recruited 94 Cohesion monitors, and in every county we will deploy 2 monitors, and also register of political parties has deployed 43 monitors too. We are also training the police officers who are being taught on how to matters of hate speech and we will give them audio and video recording gadgets that will help in nabbing the perpetrators of hate speech and incitement”. He said.

According to Mombasa County Education executive Tendai Mtana, women and the community at large have responsibility of the tackling countering extremism issues among youths.

“Let’s not wait for the international bodies and county government to help us in tacking the matter of countering terrorism, because extremism is an ideology and it can be changed by speaking openly about the matter to our youths so as to change their perception and thinking about the matter. Parents and religious leaders have a critical role to play through guiding and counseling them and religious teachings to be taught the way they are without distorting its original meaning.” Said Mtana.

Mombasa’s County Commissioner Evans Achoki urged women to be vigilant so as to know what is going on around them; thus engaging in citizen participation in national security so as to avert terrorism attacks.

“Some of the Youths went to Somalia to join militia for the sake of money returned back when their promises were not fulfilled. Now they are afraid of talking and narrating what they went through to the public and close relatives and that is why we are still urging them to embrace government amnesty so as to be re-integrated in community and also to participate in empowerment programme”.

Afia Rama, chairlady Maendeleo ya Wanawake Mombasa County blamed men for being reluctant to play their parental role of guiding and counseling their youths, leaving the burden to women.