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Violet Kemunto: The Changing Face Of Terror And Why Now Al Shabaab Targets The Young And Educated Men And Women For Recruitment In Kenya

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How does a country deal with Al-Shabaab returnees, home grown terrorism and an increasing attractiveness of young people who don’t come from disadvantaged backgrounds to extremism? These are the challenges Tuesday’s attack at dusitD2 hotel complex has presented Kenya’s security apparatus.The revelation that those who executed the attack and part of the planning are locals has sent shock waves across the country on why a bunch of Kenyans would plan the slaughter of their fellow countrymen on orders from across the border.An affidavit filed in court by the Anti-Terror Police Unit seeking detention of five people showed that Ali Salim Gichunge and Violet Kemunto, believed to have played a key role in planning the attack, were being faclilitated from Somalia.

“A quick perusal of their phone numbers shows they were in constant communication with several contacts in Somalia,” said the affidavit filed by Inspector Monica Githaiga.Although local terror cells have been used on several occasions to carry out attacks, Tuesday’s was the first of such a grand scale to be planned and executed by Kenyans. This shows a change in strategy by Al-Shabaab which has previously sent Somali nationals from their ranks to carry out a big hit.

The Westgate and Garrisa University attacks, which stand out as being on almost a similar scale in terms of strategy and execution, were led by fighters who had crossed the border from Somalia. Additionally, the two biggest names associated with the attack, Gichunge and Kemunto, have broken the stereotypic view and the long standing association of ethnic Somalis to terrorism by Kenyans. While distancing themselves from terrorists, residents of Eastleigh who closed their shops for an hour on Friday to honour those who died at dusitD2, said Somalis and Muslims are peaceful and do not advocate such killings.“The community is here to say no to terrorism, no to extremism and no to violence.

Al-Shabaab do not enjoy any support from this community. They do not represent or talk on our behalf,” said Kamkunji MP Yusuf Hassan.“We are not Al Shabaab, neither do they speak for us. We do not agree with their ideology of killing innocent people. Eastleigh is not a hub for terrorists. We will find them and flush them out,” vowed Yusuf.

Backfiring moves

When Kenya deployed its forces into Somalia and offered to train some of the distressed country’s soldiers, it had no idea that the move would set it on a collision course with an enemy it had set out to annihilate. As the Somali soldiers were getting their training at Archer’s Post, some 70 kilometres from Isiolo Town and at Manyani in Taita Taveta, another training of sorts was going on. Young Kenyan men and women were being lured by the same enemy the government was trying to keep off.

And this time, it was different. The enemy switched it up a bit and went to the very core of society, convincing and recruiting from the very heart of the communities. One of these men and women was Gichunge, whose face his family says, had been away from them for years, only to resurface on CCTV footage as one of the attackers in the bloody Riverside attack that led to the death of dozens.At the time, Isiolo was one of Al-Shabaab’s fertile recruiting grounds.

Hundreds of youth, according to intelligence sources, had been recruited from here. Those recruited include high school students. Some youth, including university students, had also been reported to have disappeared. And this was not the only change in strategy. Although the psychology of the recruit remained the same, their sociology too changed. From recruiting the downtrodden and poorly educated, recruiters trained their eyes on well-educated children from well off families.

The situation is similar in Marsabit, where the now famous ‘Mount Marsabit Warriors’ were lured into Somalia by a teacher who graduated from Garissa University. To date, the whereabouts of the five boys and three girls as well as their female teacher remain unknown. Isiolo County Directorate of Criminal Investigation Raphael Wawire said Gichunge hails from Isiolo, and is one of the many youths lured away by Al-Shabaab.

Former Isiolo County Commissioner George Natembeya, who is now in the same capacity in Narok, had in 2016 said that scores of youth had been recruited into the terror group, but some had come back.Yussuf Dogo of Friends of Nomads International (Foni), an NGO that works in northern Kenya counties, said Al-Shabaab had devised “known ways” (recruiting non-Somalis and Coastal) to disguise its campaign to carry out terror attacks.

The reality that Al-Shabaab can now use Kenyans to carry out such large scale attacks and that terrorism can no longer be related to a certain community or lack of economic opportunities is what experts say is the changing face of terror. Kemunto, a journalism graduate from Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST), has continued an emerging pattern of educated individuals who are increasingly joining terror groups.

A study, Violent extremism in Kenya: Why women are a priority, conducted by the Institute for Security Studies in Africa last year said that least 58 students have abandoned universities to join terrorist groups in Somalia, Libya and Syria in the last three years.One of the masterminds of the Garrissa University massacre in 2015, Abdirahim Mohamed, was studying to be a lawyer at the University of Nairobi. On February 2016, police arrestedHassanaen Ahmed, a University of Nairobi biochemistry student, as he was reportedly leaving the country to travel to Libya to join the Islamic State group.

Later in May that year, Gloria Kavaya, a microbiology student at Kenyatta University, was also arrested after she disappeared from school, changed her name and embarked on what police said were plans to travel to Syria.“The stand out fact from this week’s attack is that the Al-Shabaab has proven that it is still around and it is able to recruit beyond the ethnic Somali base,” says James Ndung’u, a security expert.

Returnees dilemma

“What should worry security stake holders is how fast Al Shabaab can evolve to new challenges like opting to use locals when it can no longer send fighters across the border due to strong counter terrorism measures by the Kenyan government,” he observes.Ndung’u says one factor making it easy for the Al-Shabaab to recruit from within Kenya is the inability by government to effectively integrate returnees, which means most of them do not completely cut links with the terror group.

This view is also shared by the Institute of Security Studies (ISS) which says while the government has several programmes meant to support the returnees who wish to be reintegrated back to society, the reality is most of them fear getting arrested if they come out.“Returnee support for the programme has been limited by their fear and mistrust of the government and its security agencies. Returnees simply stay clear,” says ISS in a research paper published recently.

Article first appeared on Standard



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NRM endorses Museveni for '2021 elections and beyond'

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By DAILY MONITOR
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Uganda’s ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) lawmakers have endorsed President Yoweri Museveni to continue leading the party and the state.

The parliamentary caucus in Kyankwanzi District unanimously endorsed the Chobe resolution by the party’s central executive committee (CEC) to have President Museveni continue leading.

NRM Spokesman Rogers Mulindwa, in a statement on Sunday, said the legislators’ position was taken shortly after party secretary-general Justine Kasule Lumumba’s presentation titled: Towards 2021: Milestones and Strategies for the NRM Party.
Ms Lumumba read out to members the Chobe resolutions.

The motion, mover Ms Hellen Asamo, representing People with Disabilities (PWDs) in eastern region, said Uganda needed President Museveni now more than ever before for his firm guidance and mentorship of the party membership.

“Her position was unanimously seconded before the legislators took a break,” Mr Mulindwa said.

While meeting at Chobe Safari Lodge in Nwoya District last month, the CEC members endorsed a number of resolutions to consolidate the party’s political and economic agenda, including the need to maintain President Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, at the helm of the party and the country.

That, the members argued, would foster the continued strengthening of Uganda’s socio-economic agenda.

If afforded an all-clear sign by the National Executive Committee and the National Delegates’ Conference, the endorsement would mean Mr Museveni, already in power for 33 years, would seek a record sixth re-election.

The next General Election is two years away, in 2021, according to a roadmap the Electoral Commission released late last year.

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Legislature to expedite pending bills crucial to delivery of Big Four Agenda

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The National Development Implementation and Communication Cabinet Committee is lobbying for optimum legislative support towards the realization of the Big Four agenda.

A delegation led by Dr. Fred Matiang’i held a consultative meeting with the Senate Liaison Committee comprising the Speaker, Hon. Kenneth Lusaka, and the chairs of various Standing Committees in a bid to strike a collaborative partnership in finding solutions to the legal and legislative issues impeding smooth delivery of government projects.

During the meeting, Dr. Matiang’i noted that a number of crucial bills directly linked to project management are pending before the Legislature adding that delays in passing them have seen contractors suffer eventual cost overruns thereby triggering huge financial penalties on the government’s part.

The Cabinet Secretary appealed to lawmakers to expedite the proposed legislations to fast-track delivery of key programmes and projects funded by the national government across the country.

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Among the bills identified include: The Food Security Bill 2017, The Physical Planning Bill 2017, The Irrigation Bill 2017, The Kenya Roads Bill 2017, The Public Private Partnerships (Amendment) Bill 2017, and The Warehouse Receipts System Bill (Sen. Bills No. 10 of 2017), all of which were introduced between September and December, 2017.

Others are Land Value Index Laws (Amendment) Bill 2018, Government Contracts (National Assembly Bill No. 9 of 2018, Public Participation Bill 2018, County Statutory Instruments Bill 2018, Data Protection Bill 2018 and Warehouse Receipts System Bill (Senate Bill No.10 of 2017).

On behalf of the Liaison Committee, Hon. Lusaka noted that some of the bills have already been passed on to the National Assembly and pledged to push the remaining ones to the top of the Senate’s legislative priorities in the soonest time possible.

Dr. Matiang’i stated that the Committee will reach out to other stakeholders, including the Council of Governors, to deliberate the challenges constraining successful delivery of development projects and come up with new perspectives to address them.

He said: “We will also rope in our colleagues in the county governments so that we can address all these issues together.”

So far, the Committee has flagged up financial mismanagement, limited space for civic participation, weak performance management, and silo mentality as some of the other serious impediments to effective project implementation.

Present were: Attorney General, Kihara Kariuki, and Cabinet Secretaries Charles Keter, Simon Chelugui, James Macharia, Raphael Tuju, and Joe Mucheru.

The Senate Liaison Committee was represented by Njeru Ndwiga (Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries), John Nderitu (Devolution and Intergovernmental Relations), Mahamud Mohamed (Finance and Budget), Michael Mbito (Health), Samson Cherarkey (Justice, Legal Affairs and Human Rights), Paul Mwangi (Lands, Environment and Natural Resources), Charles Kibiru (Tourism, Trade and Industrialization), and Moses Kajwang’ (County Public Accounts and Investments Sessional Committee).



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Ilikuaje: Nilifanyiwe mke nikiwa miaka 16

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Doh!

Mgeni aliyejiunga na Massawe Japanni studio anafahamika kama Mercy Nungari, nominated MCA wa Limuru East Ward Kiambu.

Ana fahamika kama Nungash kwa mafans. Anasema amepitia matatizo katika maisha yake. Safari moja alikuwa msichana wa kazi sasa hivi yeye ni MCA.

Amepitia mambo ambayo hawezi sahau. Anasema amezaliwa kwa umaskini watoto sita walikuwa wanalal wanaumwa na chawa na kunguni na alianza kufanya kazi akiwa mtot mdogo wa miaka tano.

Alisema’ Hapa nimefika ni mungu Sikuzaliwa hospitali, nilizaliwa kwa njia. Wazazi wangu walikuwa wanatoka kibarua Uchungu wa mtot ulikuja barabarani, Wazazi wangu walikuwa wachuna majani Ilikuwa inabidi saa zingine tunalala njaa’

Tulisoma kwa shida. tulilala chini mnaenda bila chakula, kunguni zimenikula zaidi.

Akisimulia stori yake katika kitengo cha Ilikuaje, Bi Mercy alisema

Ninafamilia lakini wakati unajua wakati watu wako na shida watu maskini, kuna wale watu waantake advantage. So kuna mwanaume alitook advantage of me na huyo mwanaume aliniambia ananipea kazi ya kuangalia watoto kwa nyumba yake, so it was something demonic kwasababu nilikuwa nafungiwa kwa nyumba 

Alifanyiwa nini?

Huyo mwanaume alinifanya bib yake, na nilikuwa napitia mateso unajua kwanza mimi nilikuwa mtoto so hata skuwa nataka kutoka juu ya ile kitendo alinifanyia sio kizuri na alikuwa na mabibi walikuwa wamekufa so nilikuwa naangalia watoto. Hata mama yake wakati walitafutwa na wanakijiji wetu, alisema mwenye ameona ni maid tuu. Na saa hiyo niko kwa nyumba Kuna hizi malwa za kufunga, huwezi ongea umefungiwa huwezi ongea na mpaka nikapelekwa nikafichwa mahali nikakaa kama mwezi sasa wazazi wangu wakatulia na sikuwa naweza kutoroka, tena huko sikuwa na chakula sasa huko ndio nilipata shida unaona nimeenda huko ndio mtihani form four.

Huyo mtu bado alikuwa anakuja na wanawake kwa nyumba sasa hatukuwa tunajua kitu, mimi nilikuwa nafanya kibarua kufulia watu manguo, napewa unga nipikie watoto wake. 

Alijikomboa aje katika maish na huyu mwanamume?

‘ah nikiwa mahali pale nilihubiriwa na nikaokoka. Mungu alinijia kupitia maombi, nilikuwa napitia magumu, nilibandikwa majina, na nikaamua kujiombea na kuenda kanisa ya PCEA, na kanisa ikanichukuwa na kutambua nilikuwa na talent ya uimbaji, na pia wao walikuwa wanajua hali yangu. Waliniambia tumekufungua, wakniambia wamenipa baraka yao, nilizidi kuvumilia kwasababu nilifikiria munug amenichagulia hiyo boma lakini huyo mtu wakashikana wakauza shamba na tukafukuzwa na auctioneers, sasa nikarudi kwetu. Walikuwa wanatuma brothers wangu wananiambia nitoke huko lakini sikuweza, hata nilikuwa napigwa brothers wangu wakiwa hapo.

 

 





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