The Star (Kenya)

Coun­ter­ing ex­trem­ism key in post-covid

- BRIAN MALIKA @Th­es­tarkenya Society · Infectious Diseases · Health Conditions

Dur­ing the coronaviru­s pandemic, cases of so­cial in­jus­tice have es­ca­lated fast in less than half a year.

Ma­jorly, the rea­son Covid-19 has caused a se­vere rip­ple ef­fect in so­cial in­jus­tices and hu­man suf­fer­ings is be­cause this gen­er­a­tion has never ex­pe­ri­enced a pandemic.

The last pandemic was the Spanish flue be­tween 1918-19 and most of today’s lead­ers thought that a global pandemic will never be­fall us.

Prob­a­bly be­cause our lead­ers thought we are past that stage of evo­lu­tion, not so much com­mit­ment was di­rected to­wards con­tain­ing an­other pandemic.

This is lead­er­ship neg­li­gence be­cause it has con­trib­uted to the mass spread of Covid-19 pandemic.

Our lead­ers must quickly learn from this fail­ure to avoid any fur­ther hu­man suf­fer­ing in the com­ing days, par­tic­u­larly af­ter Covid-19.

For in­stance, they must work with proven sci­en­tific ev­i­dence on hu­man be­hav­iour that sug­gests that peo­ple ex­posed to vi­o­lence over a pe­riod are vul­ner­a­ble to be­ing re­cruited into vi­o­lent and or­gan­ised crim­i­nal groups. With the above sci­en­tific nar­ra­tive in mind, our at­ten­tion must be drawn to the vul­ner­a­ble pop­u­la­tions that have been ex­posed to un­told suf­fer­ing dur­ing this pandemic.

It is clear that re­ported cases of gen­der-based vi­o­lence have sky­rock­eted dur­ing this pe­riod be­cause vul­ner­a­ble women and girls have been ex­posed to longer set­tings with sex­ual preda­tors due to lock­down and cur­few re­stric­tions.

Many peo­ple have also been left job­less. Oth­ers have been in­fected and gone through ex­cru­ci­at­ing pain dur­ing treat­ment, while oth­ers have lost their loved ones. Equally, there has been a sense of un­cer­tainty from the false neg­a­tive in­for­ma­tion through so­cial me­dia re­gard­ing the cause and cure of Covid-19. This has branded some races as re­spon­si­ble for the spread of the virus, re­sult­ing in stigma and vi­o­lent treat­ment from other peo­ple.

At the end of the day, peo­ple have been evicted from houses due to rent ar­rears or failed to feed their fam­i­lies due to pay cuts or loss of jobs, un­der­gone phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal pain due to this pandemic.

This makes vul­ner­a­ble pop­u­la­tions to re­cruit­ment into vi­o­lent ex­trem­ist or­gan­ised groups and crim­i­nal gangs as a way of seek­ing so­lace, re­venge, and false heal­ing.

Lead­ers must thus look for­ward to pre­vent an­other re­sult­ing prob­lem.

As such, one im­por­tant strat­egy is to cre­atively de­vise grass­roots ap­proaches within vul­ner­a­ble com­mu­ni­ties af­fected by the pandemic as a way of coun­ter­ing the an­tic­i­pated rise of vi­o­lent ex­trem­ism post-covid.over to you lead­ers. Founder of One Per­cent Ini­tia­tive

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