Like many in Kenya I’m still seething with anger and pain over the terrorist attack at the 14 Riverside complex in Nairobi on January 15. Innocent lives were taken away and many injured.
Terrorism is a global phenomenon and no country in the world no matter how powerful or weak is immune to the evil.
Thanks to the swift action by Kenyan security forces to contain the merchants of terror and probably after learning from past mistakes, this time round though 21 lives were lost the response to the attack was faster and better coordinated.
From the ongoing investigations a lot of revelations will obviously come out.
With the complexity of the problem permeating the society it is already showing that the evil culture is attracting a variety of communities and ages, especially young people. It is not easy to pinpoint it as a single community problem. However it is also facilitated by weak states neighbouring Kenya. The other key phenomenon to study is the interweaving of radicalism, religion, poverty, unemployment, weak states and societies in growth of terrorism.
Selective as it is in terms of interpretation of some of the issues to suit their mission, it shows that structures of the society have to be carefully managed.There is no excuse for people to engage in terror acts. Any excuse is as evil as it comes. The key challenge is the growing phenomenon of attraction to terrorism for societies that would hitherto be allergic to that behaviour.
Moreover, terrorism has also spread globally and technology has aided in training and spreading of evil doctrines or radicalisation of individuals.
I’m sure when investigations and intelligence are fully gathered there will be more shocking revelations than we have already gotten.
Already some of it as revealed in the media shows some elements of money laundering and misuse of young people lured by negative indoctrination that is not only self destructive but also very harmful to the entire society.
The terrorist attack in itself had the potential to damage Kenya in many ways that include destruction of human life, property and creating risks that could deter business opportunities that include very sensitive sectors like tourism.
Fortunately the response by Kenyan security forces this time round was swift and effective. Unfortunately it happened that the attack occurred on Kenyan soil and part of the nexus included Kenyans. Still several financial loopholes were exploited to aid the act of evil.
It is scary that desperate youths are being used to destroy people and society to achieve ulterior motives.
So what as a country we have to do is obviously deal with terrorism and those who engage or aid it ruthlessly, but also develop multifaceted mechanisms to combat the menace as well as prevent it from happening again.
Terrorism has both local and global inputs and effects. It has social, political, economic and technological contributions into it.
Research deeply and you will find that what has hit Kenya severally is not simply having a shaky neighbourhood with Somalia being a troubled nation for many years and harbouring terror group Al-Shabaab.
It is also true that global skirmishes and political, economic and social problems make Somalia a safe haven and launching pad for criminal activities in Kenya.
It is not just because Kenyan forces are stabilising Somalia or are seen as an occupying force there. It is bigger and has local, regional and global dimensions. It also goes beyond religion.
It is a cancer that has grown in the global society that terrorism is being fomented as a result of failures in the social, economic and political system and dysfunctional societies.
Similarly, regional and local conditions of political, economic and social nature are creating good avenues for the menace to thrive. Corruption for instance is endemic in many Third World countries, including Kenya. Corruption has a huge destabilizing effects for such countries as it denies many the right economic opportunities and aid criminal networks.
Harrison Mwirigi IkundaNairobi.