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An Evaluation of the Effectiveness and Challenges of Counterterrorism Strategies in Kenya

The literature on counterterrorism is awash with questions and answers about the causes of terrorism and how best to
prevent and counter them. This is a valid approach since we cannot address terrorism without understanding its causes.
However, little appears to have been said about how effective these counterterrorism measures are, or the challenges that
remain despite the measures, especially from an empirical point of view. In this direction, using a descriptive cross-sectional
research design, this paper sought to understand the effectiveness of counterterrorism strategies in Kenya, and which
challenges remain despite the strategies. Using Nairobi as its point of focus, the study targeted a population of 159 officers
responsible for counterterrorism operations. The officers were drawn from government agencies including: The Ministry
of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, Ministry of Defence, National
Police Service, Kenya Prison Service, Judiciary, State Law Office, as well as Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). A
30% sample size (48 respondents) was used for the research. Stratified random sampling was applied to come up with a
proportionate number of respondents who were involved in handling terror suspects or in counterterrorism operations.
The study relied on primary data, which was collected using a semi-structured questionnaire containing both close-ended
and open-ended questions. An interview guide was also used to obtain qualitative data from the respondents. Piloting
was carried out using eight (8) respondents drawn from each of the agencies under study, with a view of improving
the data collection tools. The findings generally point to a positive effect of the various counterterrorism measures, while
a negative picture is painted regarding the context of challenges on counterterrorism. Subsequently, the researchers
recommended that more emphasis needs to be put on: addressing underlying historical questions among and within
communities; professionalism in counterterrorism undertakings; enhancing the multiagency approach; and ensuring
more community-oriented preventive processes.

Key Words | Constitution, Counterterrorism, De-radicalization, Radicalization, Terrorism, Violent Extremism


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