By Caroline Katana
Youths in Matuga constituency, Kwale County have been asked to distance themselves from hate speech on social media and instead become peace ambassadors and good users of the internet.
This emerged in a youth sensitization forum on how to counter and pull down hate speech from the social media platforms held at Ng’ombeni through the Jisra project implemented by the Kenya community support centre (Kecosce).
Kecosce’s monitoring, evaluation, and communication officer Zubeda Ali Hussein said social media is the genesis of the registration and recruiting of criminal groups and the spread of hate speech.
“We have seen many times that the issues of radicalization before they take place in worship areas start on the internet, for example, a group of extremists “Wakali Kwanza” originated on Facebook and WhatsApp. As an organization we took the initiative to sensitize youth to be aware of the criminal messages spreading on the internet and the importance of reporting to the relevant authorities before going viral and causing security threats” said Zubeida.
She urged the youth to take advantage of the internet connectivity for self-employment instead of registering criminal gangs.
“People find jobs on the Internet, while others do online business because the Internet connects people from different countries in the world, young people who use the Internet well will generate income for survival,” she added.
Athman Bundo, a peace activist in Tiwi, appealed to youths to be online ambassadors and engage themselves in different development projects.
“Unemployment is a global problem so they must commit themselves to fields to generate money instead of waiting for employment, there is a need for them to form groups and get empowered in development projects” noted Bundo.
Bundo confirmed the decrease in insecurity cases in Tiwi saying peace activists have cooperated with the police to weed out every case aimed at undermining peace in the area.
“We have even called the Kecosce organization officers through their secret number and security has been beefed up in the area,” he said.
Binti Omar, a youth from Ng’ombeni, asked young people to make sure they achieve their goals in life instead of being given extreme positions that mislead them.
“Bad use of the internet will lead young people to lose their goals in life, we have witnessed people killed by members of the public after committing crimes, if we become ambassadors of peace and good users of the internet we will succeed as young people,” said Binti Omar.
On his part, a youth leader in Matuga constituency, John Mukhuva Kadongo, said plans by Kecosce to create awareness about good use of the internet among youths are ongoing.
“We will be collaborating with Kecosce and security agencies in looking for suspects and perpetrators of crimes and hate speech on the internet to sensitize them and try to initiate small projects for them to earn a living and become patriots and role models in the society” noted Kadongo.