Tuesday, August 7, 2012

CEC forum

 The desire for a peaceful country is what has motivated the Nakuru Initiatives of Change (IofC) team to volunteer their time and resources in pursuit of a better Kenya, especially now that we are headed to our elections early next year. Many of us know what happened after the 2007 General Elections in Kenya; violence that left over 1500 innocent people brutally killed, properties destroyed and hundreds of thousands displaced. No one in their right mind, would entertain a repeat of the violence meted out on innocent civilians. 

Some of the team members met to think through how best to run the Clean Elections Campaign (CEC) in the run up to the coming elections. The team agreed that the focus areas for the CEC will be the very volatile areas, based on past events, which are the Rift Valley, Western & Nyanza and Nairobi regions.   

A forum on CEC (Photo: Unknown)

The Nakuru team embarked on a one week Clean Elections Campaign around Molo town in the Rift Valley region – an epicenter of post-election violence for the last two decades. With the help of Rev. Jackson, a church pastor in the region, they were able to organize groups comprised of young people, from different ethnic groups, in particular the conflicting tribal groups. The team made the meetings more of a discussion forum where the residents could learn from each other and find their own solutions to their problems.  

The main questions that the team and the participants dwelt on were: why are the young people at the core of violence in Kenya and why were they being misled by malicious politicians to perpetrate violence? What is the role of the young people in peace building?  

Young people participating in CEC forum

The outcome was much better than anticipated. One thing that came out loud and clear was the fact that no one wanted war again and everyone was willing to do what it takes to avoid it. They all agreed on choosing leaders on the basis of leadership qualities and their values instead of tribal lines. As a way to affirm their commitments at the end of the session, all participants joined hands in a circle and sang the Kenyan National Anthem as a symbol of togetherness. 

Peace is the goal. It is the one destiny to which human kind must gravitate in order to find its true identity. It is that which will unite us, recreate us, challenge us, and humanize us. Indeed, it is the best part of who we are, who we can be, who we ought to be. Peace needs people who work to make it happen. And together we can hold hands and make it happen.  

Report written by: Samuel Muiruri.

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