Mombasa governor Hassan Ali Joho on Friday held talks with USA administration officials ranging from White house advisers,department of homeland security and department of state.
The talks centred around security issues. The governor reiterated Kenya’s willingness to work with US partners to improve public administration at the county level and curb terrorism.
The talks with US Bureau of African Affairs deputy assistant secretary Eric Whitaker centred on the progress of devolution in Kenya since its start in 2013, giving priority to the agenda of counties’ critical role in ending violent extremism.
“We also shared the progress of the various initiatives towards countering violent extremism,” Joho said in a statement to the media.
Joho also held talks with directors of the Bureau of Counter Terrorism and Countering Violent Extremism Ifran Saeed and Mike Duffin. Global Engagement Center’s Wes Carrington and Abdulhalim Rijaal also attended.
The role of enhanced networks especially within Africa was explored during the discussions.
Joho briefed the senior US government officials of progress made in redeeming the image of Mombasa County as a destination for tourism after the scare caused by terrorism threats.
“It was encouraging to hear that that Mombasa is one of the preferred destinations of American tourists in 2017 due to our increased promotional efforts,” Joho said.
“We agreed to create a “Think and Act Tank” in Mombasa to consistently research messaging to counter violent extremists.”
Joho also discussed the progress of the Strong Cities Network and the critical role of governors in ensuring the network remains vibrant.
The governor left the country for the week-long tour on Tuesday, ending speculation that he was wanted in the United States for links to drug trafficking.
Here is Governor’s triumphatic post on his Facebook page confirming the red carpet talks in Washingiton DC.
“Earlier today I held a Round table Meeting with a multi-agency team convened by Nabeela Barbari, a Senior Advisor within the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL). The meeting brought together Erin Wilson from the White House CVE task force, Marlene Sallo from the Department of Justice and Michael Duffin from the State Department; which supports the DHS’s mission to secure the US while preserving individual liberties, fairness, and equality under the law.
This multi-sectoral round table integrates civil rights and civil liberties into all of the Department and the entire Executive activities.
During the meeting I shared with them the history and legacy of Mombasa as a destination that for a century has been an example of a metropolitan that has embraced cultural diversity as its strength.
I am marketing Mombasa as a port city that has people drawn from every nation, religion, tongue and tribe and why it is critical to appreciate the sensitivities of these peoples in every counter-extremism initiative by both local and global partners in combating terrorism and its other derivatives.
The “Mombasa Story” we are pushing is the need for cities and nations to rethink the global war on violent extremism and terrorism beyond the gun with new emphasis on socio-economic and political inclusion that in the end starves terror groups of the single largest captive Constituency for ready recruitment: the jobless, dispossessed and economically excluded youth.