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Kikwete Calls for United Stand Against Extremism

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by X-PASTER, Jul 12, 2011.


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    Kikwete Calls for United Stand Against Extremism

    Orton Kiishweko

    AS the 9th Annual Langkawi International Dialogue (LID) in Malaysia recently illustrated, more leaders are eager to support the call for a global movement of moderates.

    Leaders taking part in plenary session on 'Sharing and Learning' argued that societies could not allow extremists and terrorists to hijack societal discourse and determine the direction of their respective national conversations as reason and common sense must prevail.
    As the host, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak led colleagues said that the moderates, should be the dominant voice, whereas cooperation and negotiation must always be the preferred path over that of enmity and confrontation.

    President Jakaya Kikwete,who attended and participated in the three- day conference, among other activities of meeting investors, also joined the rest of the leaders in calling for a united stand against extremism and asked world leaders to support the restoration of sanity in any community which may be polarized.

    This, it was added, was not just at the leadership level, but right down to the grassroots. Mr Kikwete was speaking during the session dubbed 'Sharing and Learning.' Panelists included Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili and Namibia Deputy Prime Minister Marco Hausiku.

    The leaders argued that whatever their causes may be, political parties must refrain from taking the extreme path, noting that there are always peaceful means of conflict resolution and no short-term political gains are worth sacrificing national and indeed, regional peace and harmony.

    It was strongly encouraged that all political parties build and strengthen their relationship with each other, exchanging knowledge and experiences and subsequently transmitting this common message of hope back to their people. "All of you here are leaders in your community and are therefore uniquely positioned to spread the word that moderation is the key, Mr Kikwete said.

    The leaders agreed that if they are able to drive this message home, to their people and their communities and it becomes a creed by which they live, then extremism will have truly been debilitated. President Kikwete emphasized that extremists should not be allowed to take centre stage as that would enable them to silence the moderate voice.

    His call echoed that of the concept espoused by the Malaysian prime minister last year in his address to the United Nations General Assembly, where he called for the global movement of moderates that would see governments, intellectuals, religious scholars and business leaders across the world take a united stand against extremism. The president also noted that although extremists were a minority, they always tend to be noisy thus making the world uncomfortable.

    "So we support the idea that the Dialogue is advancing so that all people of all backgrounds have the courage of speaking out and nullify the voice of a small group of extremists," he observed. Mr Kikwete noted that allowing extremists to dictate policies and principles of governments would slowly slide society into conflicts, the positive interaction and synergy between the various communities.

    He said that for the world to increase understanding among the people, communities need to understand the ties that connects them. President Kikwete also shared his country's experience in which the government was in the midst of identifying moderates to solve the conflict between the Hutu and Tutsi tribes in Burundi. In his contribution, Mr Razak said that it can turn into complex situations if the world would become prisoner to extremist view.

    Such discussions would help in creating a deeper understanding as well as appreciation and respect of each other in our conviction to create a better future for all citizens of the world.
    Leaders were united in noting that extremism does not build sustainable prosperity, peace, stability and democracy.

    "It only promotes conflicts," said Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe They underscored that Africa, struggling to be burgeoning economic zones and probable lynchpins of global trade, the continent cannot afford any disruption or destruction caused by extremism or terror.

    "We have a vested interest in ensuring that this region remained free and safe from ideologies espousing conflict, destruction, disunity and hostility in the name of their unholy cause," he said. Mr Razak also said he had called for a global movement of the moderates to reclaim the centre and the moral high-ground that had been usurped from them.

    He had called for moderates to marginalise the extremists and terrorists who had held the world hostage with their bigotry and bias. He said the proponents of extremism would always attempt to draw lines in the sand, dividing one side against the other, creating the spectre of a nemesis when in fact there was none. "I have said repeatedly that the real issue is not between Muslims and non- Muslims, but rather between extremists and moderates of all faiths whether it is Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism or any other faith," he said.

    The prime minister said that ultimately what was important was the well-being of their people and the preservation of their values, culture and way of life. Indeed, political parties need not resort to extremist posturing to remain relevant and popular, he said. Razak said that, on the contrary, in this enlightened age of information and technology, the most popular political parties would be the ones most visibly responding to changing times and adapting to the wants and needs of the people they served.

    He said extremists preyed on the fearful and the seemingly threatened and if the moderators made it clear that there was no cause for fear and no looming threat, then extremists became irrelevant. In calling for a global movement of the moderates, he emphasised the importance of linkages and networks in furthering the ideals of moderation. Apart from bilateral and multilateral government ties, it was said that informal networks such as the forum would be essential in conveying the right message to specific audiences.

    "Across all religions we have inadvertently allowed the ugly voices of the periphery to drown out the many voices of reason and common sense. I therefore urge you to embark on building a "Global Movement of the Moderates" from all faiths who are committed to work together to combat and marginalize extremists who have held the world hostage with their bigotry and bias."

    We must and I repeat, we must urgently reclaim the centre and the moral high ground that has been usurped from us. We must choose moderation over extremism. We must choose negotiations over confrontation. We must choose to work together and not against each other. And we must give this effort utmost priority for time is not on our side," he said.

    As the session ended, the leaders concluded that it was time for moderates of all countries, of all religions to take back the centre, to reclaim the agenda for peace and pragmatism and to marginalise the extremists and said it was an opportunity to provide the much needed leadership to bring hope and build a more peaceful, secure and equitable world. Dar es Salaam will host the next smart partnership dialogue -- the Southern African International Dialogue in 2013, where more diverse ideas will be put to light.