By Epajjar Ojulu
There is no doubt that terrorism is today the number one threat to world security. No nation can afford to ignore the threat because terrorism is so nefarious that it victimises even children.
Some of the victims of the recent Nairobi terrorist attack were Chinese, Ghanaians and Peruvians. It is very unlikely that the terrorists aimed at them. It is inconceivable, for instance, that the Ghanaian poet was a target of the attack.
The world must find new ways of fighting terrorism.
And the approach should be global because the crime can no longer be considered a matter for the United States and other countries perceived by extreme Islamist groups to be roadblocks to their ill intentions of imposing social, political and religious systems which are consistent with their lopsided interpretation of the Islamic doctrine.
It is high time the United Nations took on the issue of terrorism to galvanise global consensus. It is the only way the world can act and speak with one voice against terrorism.
The lack of global approach to fighting terrorism has made it possible for lethal weapons to get into the hands of these deranged people. If some leaders could unleash chemicals weapons onto their own people, I do not think it is farfetched to imagine that terrorists such as Al Qaeda and Al Shabaab could hesitate to unleash weapons of mass destruction against their perceived enemies.
Terrorism, albeit on a smaller scale, has been fought and defeated before. The Red Brigade in Italy terrorised the country for close to two decades but was eliminated after the network of its perpetrators was tracked down and the leaders arrested or killed.
In Germany, the Red Army terrorists were eliminated through concerted efforts of the citizens of that country. Of course it may be correctly argued that terrorism was on a smaller scale and less sophisticated. But it is also true that society is now sophisticated enough to devise ways of crushing terrorism.
I propose that the United Nations Commission against Terrorism, a body that should galvanise international efforts to fight the crime, should be established urgently. And this should begin with an international conference attended by all member countries of the United Nations where ways and means of dealing with the crime could be charted out.
The United Nations should look into a number of options including the right to withdraw sovereignty of an errant country. It is also high time that the issue of sovereignty is redefined to deny some countries such as Somalia, Afghanistan and other terrorist breeding grounds the right to self- determination in the interest of world peace and international security.
World peace can only exist in an environment of shared universal political, social and cultural ideals and values.
The proposed international conference could be used to commit every nation to fight terrorism. The same forum could define the nature of sanctions against those who violate the anti- terrorism protocol. This would have the effect of isolating countries which abet terrorism or sponsor it.
It would also put to test the resolve of some countries such as Russia and China whose anti-terrorism stance has been lukewarm. Other than being attacked by Chechnya separatists, Russia, for example, has not been attacked by terrorists. I do not think it is a coincidence.
Member countries of the proposed United Nations Commission on Terrorism would be helped to fight terrorism in their countries. Countries like Uganda would need expertise in intelligence gathering to identify terrorist cells.
We need to put in place pre-emptive measures to ward off possible attacks. The usual saber-rattling by our security agencies soon after attacks should be replaced by a more sustainable system of surveillance and public education on terrorism.
The writer is a publications editor at Uganda Christian University