Commemorating the International Day of Peace in Kenya
21 Sept 2013: Promoting peaceful coexistence amongst divided communities
Kenya has seen increased sensitization, awareness creation and education on the need and importance of nurturing peace in the country to enhance social political and economic stability. There is also a consistent call to citizens to take individual responsibility to maintain peace in the country, necessitated by the March 2013 general elections and the continued spate of attacks and tribal conflicts that have been witnessed in various parts of the country since the beginning of this year.
ACORD in Kenya, has been enabling and facilitating communities to become peace agents for peaceful coexistence with neighbouring populations and to take responsibility in early warning alerts and initiating early responses to avert any conflict which may arise. We are currently working with communities in Tana Delta, Mt. Elgon, Marsabit, Uasin Gishu and Isiolo towards mobilizing communities for a peaceful coexistence and nurturing lasting peace. We facilitate community dialogue and conversations among the conflicting communities and more so educate them on the importance of public/community involvement in decision making processes and development agenda as a means of preventing conflict escalation and minimizing spaces of misunderstanding due to lack of engagement.
Women peace actors and community leaders after peace building training in Marsabit, August 2013.
On 21 September 2013, International Day of Peace, ACORD is organising a public forum in Uasin Gishu. Uasin Gishu has experienced tribal crashes every electioneering year since 1992 with 2007 being worst hit by the violence. The objective of the meeting will be: i) to commemorate the International Day of Peace in UASIN Gishu County; ii) to remind and sensitise communities in Uasin Gishu on the importance of taking individual and collective responsibility in maintaining peace; and iii) to mobilise communities to nuture lasting peace and peaceful relations with their neighbours. ACORD works in partnership with local peace actors and District Peace Committee members who have been sensitizing and educating the communities on the importance of peaceful coexistence and non-violent communication for the resolution of disputes. In addition, our work has involved creating linkages between sustainable peace and other intrinsic aspects affecting the communities (directly or indirectly) such as sustainable development, good governance and citizen participation in decision making processes. The event will seek to bring together communities from Uasin Gishu county for one agenda: Sustainable Peace.
Results: peaceful coexistence is possible!
In Mt.Elgon, community dialogues to foster sustainable peace led to the signing of the Mabanga agreement; this became a reference point through which the Bukusu, Sabaot and Ateso communities living in Mt. Elgon engage with each other. During the election period, the communities agreed to nurture peace by negotiating their local democracy and therefore put into consideration even the minority communities ‘which did not enjoy the tyranny of numbers' meaning on their own they would not have won even a single elective position. This culminated with the elders blessing a Sabaot candidate to vie for the senate position in Transzoia and also blessed a governor who had appointed a deputy governor from the Sabaot community. As a result the Sabaot community has now two members of their community who occupy strong leadership positions, thanks to their Bukusu neighbours' support, who voted for these two candidates.
In Tana Delta, community conversations between the Pokomo and Orma have been ongoing since April 2013 and the communities in separate meetings have identified the issues that affect the communities' livelihoods and that have often been used to trigger the conflict between the two major communities. The dialogues and conversations are seeking lasting solutions to their perennial problem which is land, and we are hoping the communities will agree on peaceful means of coexistence and will share the resources they are endowed with.