PEACE IT UP

While we are smelling the 2017 general elections, we must not forget the eruption of violence that followed 2007/8 election 10 years ago. More than 1300 people lost their lives, thousands had been injured and hundreds of thousands were forced to flee… It’s our duty and responsibility to remind us those tragic events and to learn from that past to ensure a better future for next generations.

Voluntary Youth Philanthropist was involved in breaking the silence and responding to humanitarian response. The roads were empty and people were speaking in whispers, the story of the shetani (devil) made us do what we did, kill, rape, steal, was the rhetoric in most of the areas we visited. let Devil not take control in our minds, let God be our guide and we shall come out victorious. This was possible due to previous engagement with the community through capacity building and peace caravans. VYP has so much learning from the previous intervention and networks and has been responding to conflict early warning through Peace march, peace caravans, capacity building and community dialogues. However, the drums of war are so loud and clear but we would like Kenyans not to be people who forget too fast.

I still feel concerned with areas like Kedong Naivasha, Langas Eldoret, Kuresoi and Luyangarani. Mathare, Kibera and Korogocho the areas which were greatly affect ten years ago and the areas i have visited of late and the tension is very high. If and I say if those people who are working on peace are doing so for financial gain and not for the good of the citizen, Kenya will burn with us all unless you are among the many who have their flights book for exit. Responding and not mitigating will be the worst this time round when everyone seems to be prepared for war. Let free, fare and credible election be determined by you and me through the ballot and make Kenya great or start a revolution which might be or not be timely.

Here are some pictures of the peace caravan which runs through the whole country after the post electoral violence of 2007/2008: The preparation of the mission, actions and exhibitions led in refugee camps, the peace and reconciliation, advocacy, the involvement of people during processions…

 

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Peace is You and Me

If I vote and go back home to wait for the winner, I will be at peace but am looking forward to a day when I will vote and run my business as usual. If its a public holiday use that time to take my family out without fear or favour after voting. Thats my world of  friends not strangers.

Its the high time we learn to trust and live with each other, your vote, your right and Kenya for us all. Keep it secret do not carry assumptions during elections, judging me according to my tribe, am a Kenyan am not a tribe and your assumption may be wrong.

I respect diversity and I want you to respect me so that we can live responsibly. Its only then we shall have sustainable peace and development.

As a peacemaker, I have learnt to build trust with all communities, I have been receiving sms with information from the ground but sometimes its tricky on how to relay the same to the public. however, many think that sms are working and they want people to report bottom up but what happens afterwards, repercussion, from the sender hence information does not get to the right channel.  Have you ever known that perpetrators share information too? topic for the next part.

Vote wisely and be in peace

Kenya Government- scratch my back

Its time the Kenyan government is realizing that, no matter how much the coalition government is trying to scratch each others back for own gain and to maintain the coalition, time is coming when some in the government feel that enough is enough. They prefer full full rather than half full or half empty, which one will the people follow?

The population is dying from hunger drought and the high cost of living, of which majority cannot afford a meal everyday. The food prices have gone up excessively, the mango season is over where people could boil the green mango to make them edible, free education is at its test time where one minister says no funds to finance the free education, and the other says we are just about to disberse resources to schools for free education, how far will this go? The truth then comes when student have to go home earlier than usual because funds havent been disbersed to keep them in school.

My earlier postings, I mentioned the administration(two government in one) of the current coalition government, the bitter pills is that the government is broke, it cannot finance itself anymore, most probably they will go to our colonial masters to request for funding, who will for heavenly sake fund search a large government, formed of the few millionaires and poverty is still killing the people in Kenya? Now that there is no more to corrupt probably, thus the scratch my back and I scratch your back coalition will now come to an end.

However, the common mwananchi has the key to the next government and with the new Electrol Commissioner, its that vote which counts, lets not be put into text by our politicians and go back to where we were in 2007-2008 but lets come out with somber mind and vote wisely, lets make the change we want to see through active non violence and let the vote decide.

In the next week and few weeks to come its interesting to watch the direction Kenyan politicians will move towards. Be warned and stand firm! Am optimistic, it will be a new dawn for Kenya, if only we Kenyans can make own decision without any influence, the wearer of the shoe knows where it hurts most.

Be focused be the change you want to see. There can be justice without violence and face the future with confidence.

by Rachel

Peace Caravan – Mt Elgon

VYP has been following the on goings in Mt. Elgon district with a keen interest especially on the role played by the youth in the eruption and consequent involvement in the violence. We have noted that the youth are the main proponents of the violence / misunderstanding as they are the mostly affected age group by the issues of Land ownership and unemployment which are the main catalysts of the Mt. Elgon violence. They bore the brunt of the security forces during the operation okoa maisha that was launched by the government to bring back law and order into the region. As much as the youth were involved in the conflicts, and acts of unlawfulness orchestrated by the militia groups that ran terror in the region, it is also important to integrate the same youth back into the community and help them forge a way forward so that they can change their ways and get involved positively with the community. To pass this message effectively we feel that they would be more accepting and involved should this message be passed to them by fellow youth and by use of forums that identify best with the youth. We wish to do this by incorporating into our team youth from other conflict spots of our Nation who have been beneficiaries of similar initiatives by VYP as a testimony to the Mt. Elgon youth, that there is a future for the youth even from trouble spots but only if they themselves lead and own the process of transforming the region from a trouble spot into an environment fit for living and conducive for economic activities thus the theme Youth Leading Change – Mageuzi kutokana na vijana.

By

Rachel Wambui

Is it a SOLUTION?

I have been thinking of the latest strikes, killing and burning of schools and i am thinking of joint efforts to start PEACE CLUBS AND ART FOR PEACE in schools, for peace education. I see it as a base for dialogue among student and teachers to come up with solutions from the hidden conflict amongst them and also part which may be from parents back home. we have started several peace clubs and arts in schools both Primary and High Schools which are doing very well and can be shared example for best practise, but we do not have financial resources to multiply that to as many schools as possible but it is a solution. this  comes hand in hand with motivational talks and student teachers and parents meeting. I just visited one of the schools today where we have peace clubs and the challenge i have is to carry on the good work but i have the challenge of finances, but the will is there. it is one of the schools which will take part in the Peace Caravan in September, lets walk the talk support the initiative, and make a difference. Rachel

Louis Otieno Show-Peace Caravan

As the National Healing and Reconciliation of our beloved country Kenya is rolling, Voluntary Youth Philanthropists is planning for the 2nd caravan this year in September 9th -2st, we are on the move from 21st of July to mark the route in North Eastern Kenya starting from Nairobi – Loiyangarani in Turkana, then pre caravan trainings will follow in August september as we mobilise resources for caravan particpants. At the same time i had the priveledge to mobilise and attend the first show which took place in Nairobi on 3rd July, several other shows will take place every Thursday organise by National Response Initiative, where i represent youths in Kenya, as follows:

The Louis Otieno Live Show is on and the Nairobi one was aired on Thursday 3rd from 9.40pm to midnight. Broadcasted from Charter Hall. The topic wa Towards National Healing and Reconciliation”mainly to set an agenda for a national dialogue.

Below is a sequence of how the shows will air:

  1. Nairobi –  3rd July
  2. Eldoret – 10th July
  3. Nyeri – 17th July
  4. Nakuru – 24th July
  5. Kakamega – 31st July
  6. Garissa – 7th August
  7. Machakos – 14th August
  8. Kisumu – 21st August
  9. Meru – 28th August
  10. Kwale or Malindi – 4th September
  11. Kisii – 11th September
  12. Mombasa – 18th September
  13. Nairobi – 25th September
  14. This is an intiative of National RESPONSE Intitiative, if you are able to listen please do so and some may be in a position to attend if the are in your place, but attendance is by invitations only. Kindly contribute even through the same route, i will forwards your questions or contribution. Regards Rachel http://www.peace-caravan.org

Heard of the Peace Caravan?

Rachel runs a peace caravan and i have just finished a successful youth caravan in the Rift Valley

It was from the fact finding trips early January and February that we Voluntary Youth Philanthropists managed to have the caravan and a successful one. The report will be available soon.

However, the issue of Repatriation of IDPs is still alarming, i will briefly say that it was a rushed repatriation and the returnees have no choice since they are returning in order to be considered for compensation. Even though it is the case Kuresoi in Molo Distrist and Kipkelion in Kericho was a vacated place and the IDPS have not taken risk of going back despite the conditions. Kuresoi was said by the victims to have been the pilot project for other areas and the violence did not start after the elections but way back.  Some are willing to go back of which should be encouraged but we would like the government to consider dialogue between the IDPs and receiving community, peace building & reconciliation, to run parallel with the repatriation, thus sustainable peace, confidence and trust building will be possible and repatriation and reconstruction will be easier that it is currently.

The receiving community should be given a chance to speak out on the way forward for the victim since they were the perpetrators. They are supposed to be their neighbours security, since the security provided at the moment will not be there forever. If the government feels it is safe for the IDPs to return home, why then are they providing security, if all is well? Let the people speak, Kuresoi and Kipkelion is not only one community which was sent away but all as long as you were reffered to madoadoa (spots). The effort is welcome but the lasting solution will come from the communities.

bye for now