Kenyatta: Extremism Threatening African Democracies

Kenyatta arriving in Ethiopia on Saturday

The Kenyan government has destroyed illegal cigarettes and alcoholic drinks valued at Ksh60 million as it stepped up the efforts to guard the lucrative segment highly susceptible to tax evasion by unscrupulous traders.

Tobacco and alcohol are the key source of the country’s excise tax revenues, treatment as well as targets for a thriving smuggling trade that costs the economy Ksh70 billion in losses.

Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) said the counterfeit brands of wine, this spirits and cigarettes was seized from traders in Nakuru, Eldoret, Nyeri and Embu counties where they were being sold to unsuspecting customers.

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The authority said it was enhancing its market surveillance operations to ensure traders adhere to rules and regulations.

“This is to ensure only approved excisable goods are consumed by the public but also that taxes due to the government are paid,” said KRA head of the market surveillance Mr. Caxton Masudi on Monday.

Destruction of the goods took place in Ruai, Nairobi and was witnessed by representatives from Nairobi County Commissioner’s office, National Environment Management Authority and the National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse.

The crackdown and destruction of contraband goods comes four months after the authority introduced validators – gadgets used to identify counterfeited liquor and cigarettes by detecting whether brands display second – generation KRA revenue stamps.

Market Surveillance

Over the period, the authority’s market surveillance unit carried out inspection of excisable goods, premises and transactional records to ensure compliance with the turnover tax, value added tax and customs and excise laws.

The exercise was conducted among traders suspected to be dealing with fake merchandise.
The misuse of religion is a threat to young democracies in Africa, ambulance President Uhuru Kenyatta has warned.

He said the intensity of conflicts witnessed globally is being prosecuted against the backdrop of growing politicisation of religion.

The President pointed out that Africa, viagra a continent that accommodates different religions, prostate has reached an age that threatens the choice of faith.

President Kenyatta was Saturday speaking in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, during the opening of this year’s Tana High Level Security Forum in Africa whose theme is “Secularism and politicised Faith.”

Tana Forum is an independent initiative of eminent African personalities with an advisory Board whose function is to provide strategic insight and oversight on various issues and challenges facing the continent.

The current chairman of the forum is former President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo.  Other leaders present were host Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Presidents Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Paul Kagame (Rwanda) and President Ibrahim Keita (Mali)

President Kenyatta said the aspiration of the Global Jihadist Movement to create an Islamic Caliphate is feeding into an ‘unprecedented and ideology driven by extremist violence’.

“From ISIL in Iraq and Syria, Al-Qaeda and its global franchises, the extremist groups in the Sahel, Boko Haram in West Africa to Al-Shabaab in the Horn of Africa, we have seen a brazen attempt to deny diversity of faiths,” the President said.

By pursuing the creation of Islamic Caliphates in their regions, President Kenyatta said, these groups threaten the stability of most secular countries within the hotspots.

“Most of the extremist groups, with their radical brand of political Islam, are also trying to take advantage of the void left by the Arab Spring that wasn’t definitive in most countries in the Middle East,” he added.

He cited the Horn of Africa region, saying the prolonged crisis and conflict in Somalia has progressively led to many threats. He said the extreme violence had first been meted on the Somali population and thereafter neighbouring states, the region and the world.

The President pointed out that international efforts to stabilise Somalia have achieved ‘marked success’ in dismantling Al-Shabaab’s financial and military networks. However, the threat remains and it has taken the form of youth radicalisation.

“On the eve of Easter, Kenya experienced the full impact of this extreme violence when our children were attacked at Garissa University College. By the time the security forces ended the siege, 147 of our people, mainly students, had been murdered,” the President said.

He said the terrorists’ objective is to trigger inter-religious conflict as seen at Garissa University College where they separated students on the basis of religion.

The President called on African leaders to find ways of securing young democracies against  terrorism, adding that the process must supplement efforts of restoring stability to Somalia to guarantee its security and that of its neighbours.

The President gave an assurance of Kenya’s continued active participation in the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and in the other initiatives to stabilise Somalia.

He said countries facing terror threats need support and cooperation from the international community. As a region, the President said, “we must formulate effective counter-measures and counter-narratives by appreciating the root cause of threats to democratic States.”

Prime Minister Desalegn said: “At a time when Africa has begun to solely cast off its image as a dark continent through policies that have achieved rapid economic growth; at a time when questions of good governance are being addressed in earnest, many parts of Africa are going through a series of crisis that is the result of the blurred boundary line between legitimate exercise of religious freedom and the propensity to politiciced faith.”

The other leaders were also to speak later in the day. President Kenyatta left the conference to fly to Jordan for talks with King Abdullah II. The plane carrying the President touched down at King Hussein International Airport shortly after 8 pm.


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