Coast based rights activists have threatened to abandon the ongoing Countering Violent Extremism efforts after new law gagging them was assented by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The rights defenders said they have been tirelessly working on the ground in disentangling youth from extremism and bridging the gap between the community and security agents on terrorism and security matters.
Addressing journalists in Mombasa on Tuesday, the defenders drawn from Haki Africa, HURIA, MUHURI, Kenya Community Support Centre, Manyatta Youths for Entertainment among others said the new law was oppressive and should be reviewed.
“We will protest and picket until our inputs are considered, we have contributed immensely to the fight against terrorism and extremism in the country,” noted Haki Africa Executive director Hussein Khalid.
He said the law passed and assented by President Uhuru Kenyatta was detrimental to the ongoing efforts in countering violent extremism.
“We have pushed for CVE policies at the Coast and countrywide, we have actually moved from countering violent extremism to preventing violent extremism why are we being pushed backwards?” posed Mr. Khalid.
[Coast human rights defenders on new anti terrorism law. Photo/Pauline Kwamboka].
His sentiments were backed by Human Right Agenda Executive director Yusuf Lule.
Lule said the rights defenders have worked with relevant government agencies and such obstacles from the government were a major setback to their efforts.
He said HURIA will unite with other rights groups in challenging the new law in court.
The Amended prevention of terrorism Act demands that all civil societies engaging in countering violent extremism should be cleared by the National Counter Terrorism Centre-NCTC.
“So we should all get approval from the NCTC whenever we are implementing projects geared towards preventing violent extremism this is oppressive,” noted Mr. Lule.
In the Amended prevention of terrorism Act, NCTC was empowered to act as an approving and reporting institution for all civil society organisation and international non-governmental organisations engaging in preventing and countering violent extremism and radicalisation.