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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House Help

I feel good being a mother but the challenges which come with it are many. I am very impressed with the house help in my house, something am experincing for the first time in life. She is a second mum to my son and a lady who deserves to treated with respect. Its a thought which came to my mind when I left home one day with everything under her care even my treasured baby. She is a mother, a nurse, a friend and a family to us. I believe this happens to all the families who employ a house help, treat them with care respect like a daughter, a sister, an aunt or someone close to you. If you do mistreat your house help then you are causing more harm than good to your family. Remember they are human too only that they didnt manage to get as a…

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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

House Help

I feel good being a mother but the challenges which come with it are many. I am very impressed with the house help in my house, something am experincing for the first time in life. She is a second mum to my son and a lady who deserves to treated with respect. Its a thought which came to my mind when I left home one day with everything under her care even my treasured baby. She is a mother, a nurse, a friend and a family to us. I believe this happens to all the families who employ a house help, treat them with care respect like a daughter, a sister, an aunt or someone close to you. If you do mistreat your house help then you are causing more harm than good to your family. Remember they are human too only that they didnt manage to get as a good job or a better earning than you do. Pls give them respect.

Costitution – Christian Leaders’ Fears are Unfounded

At this stage in the constitutional review process, many words are being thrown around. Fears, mostly unfounded, are catching up with some people. And still, many voices of reason are lacking, when we need reason the most. The recent statement by the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), expresses such fear. To an extent also, it shows plain ignorance of constitutional theory and Islam. And finally, the statement is written with vindictiveness towards Islam, as if Muslims are the enemy of the Kenyan State.

The statement titled Entrench Islamic Sharia Law in the Constitution at your Own Risk was simply uncalled for. It was needless grandstanding. Article 23(6) of the current Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) Draft, on the question of exempting persons professing Islam from the Bill of Rights, has been there in all previous drafts. It reads: “provisions of this Chapter on equality shall be qualified to the extent strictly necessary for the application of Muslim law before the Kadhi’s courts, to persons who profess the Muslim religion, in matters relating to personal status, marriage, divorce and inheritance.”

When I encountered that Clause in 2003, I went to a Muslim scholar to get explanation of what this means. He told me this story with regard to inheritance and marriage. Imagine that you have two children: a boy and a girl. When you want to give out your wealth, in Islam the boy is given more. Why? Because bride price is directly given to the Muslim girl rather than the parents as it happens in Christian weddings. It would be unfair to give both girl and son equally since the boy-child will be disadvantaged. There are explanations for each issue including when divorce happens. So why is NCCK castigating this Clause without knowing its foundation in Muslim Personal Law?

The NCCK goes further to state that Kadhis’ administer Sharia Law, which in English, is Muslim Criminal Law. This is untrue. Unlike in countries such as Sudan, Cote D’Ivoire or the State of Kaduna in Nigeria, Kadhis’ courts in Kenya have limited jurisdiction to only Muslim Personal Law. To quote the PSC Draft, Article 161(5): “The jurisdiction of a Kadhi’s court shall be limited to the determination of questions of Muslim law relating to personal status, marriage, divorce or inheritance”. So it baffles many, why NCCK should go ahead and lie in public!

On religion and the constitution, the NCCK commits serious blunders. In logic, it is said that when one gets the premises wrong, one is bound to come up with a wrong conclusion. NCCK argues: “despite the provision that there shall be no state religion in the constitution, the recognition of Islamic courts and their rules on matters of personal law in the constitution is tantamount to declaring it a state religion”. First, NCCK terms Kadhis’ courts as “Islamic Courts”. This is erroneous. As seen above, there is nothing religious that Kadhis’ administer. It is only personal matters; not those related to a person and Allah. Indeed, Kadhis’ are judicial officers unlike Imams or Sheikhs who are preachers of Islam. Second, NCCK argues that recognising personal law leads to stating Islam as the state religion. The founding principles of the most constitutions in the world are Anglo-Saxon in origin and further still emerge from the Judeo-Christian tradition. Therefore, despite the recognition of Muslim Personal Law in the largely Judeo-Christian PSC Draft, is NCCK’s folly or ignorance.

Finally, NCCK states that “the Muslim community is basically carving for itself and Islamic state within a state”. This is distasteful and lack of respect and tolerance for other people. According to recent data, and hoping that the 2009 Housing and Population Census vindicates this, for every 10 people in Kenya you will usually find 6 Christians, 2 Muslims, 1 Hindu and the other 1 are agnostics or atheists. So who actually is occupying the state of Kenya?

In conclusion, there are so many holes within NCCK statement, which any sober Christian should see. We are humbly requesting more sober Christians to emerge. Indeed, we wish NCCK were true to their opening statement, which they quote from the book of Leviticus 19:15, that reads: “do not pervert justice…but judge your neighbour fairly”. If NCCK would live to this dictum, then they would sober up from their Christian extremism and radicalism that perverts Islam. Any Christian who heeds NCCK’s call to reject the Draft in the referendum, because of Kadhis’ courts, will end up with the current Constitution that entrenches them anyway. So, what would you wager on?

E debate on costitution by Tom Kagwe

A Roof over my head

Voluntary Youth Philanthropists works to ensure that the youth take responsibility for a positive future. We encourage them to enhance talents and skills for career and also utilizing available local resources at their disposal for income generating activities. This has been successful through the Peace Caravan best practices outreach across the country by challenging the youth to think outside the box for growth and development.

VYP is encouraging the youth to build connection with the adult and peers in order to have community acceptance through ONE STOP COMMUNITY RESOURCE CENTER. We are currently trying a pilot project in the rural area of Mukurweini with young people who are carrying out community education through theatre and sports as we continue putting in place the center. They have also started voluntary work in the community to take care of the old and the disadvantaged, this started when we went to distribute food to the hungry in the area, identified by the same young people.

However, one of the beneficiaries (from relief food) stays in a sample of a house not even chicken can spend a night in. The young people decided to build a house for him, which they organized themselves and made bricks, they dried and then started the house which is now ready for roofing. Since they do not have finances to buy iron sheet (7 pieces), a window (wooden) and door (wooden) and for sure a bed, a mattress and a blanket), I am writing to request your personal contribution to support me in buying the materials stated to give hope to the person. The cost may be about Kshs.15,000, please consider some little contribution to make the project a success. It is raining at the moment and we would not like the effort of the young people to go to waste, if the house is carried by water and also for the person to have shelter and have reason for existence.

This activities are making the young people more responsible in the community and helps them learn and gain social skills for problem solving and compromises with others, they affect the attitude of the community and increase community involvement through volunteer work.

Looking forward to your support.

Thanks in advance

Rachel

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

Youth its our turn!

We have watched and witnessed Barak Obama take presidency in the United States, and history has been written. A young ambitious, focused … man. If he made it then youth its the high time we came out of the slumber land and take over leadership. Instead of complaining and mourning the bad governance, lack of inclusion and involvement in key leadership positions, we should wake up and take action in a peaceful way. The peacebuilding practitioners call it active non violence, I would refer to Mahatma Gandhi movement and the the grain of rice campaign. Kenyan youth we need to set an example for the world that good governance is coming to Kenya through the leadership of young people. We are all experiencing the struggle of the common person, and the marginalised “youth” to be precise, we also compose the largest population in Kenya and the world, why not then be able to demonstrate the leadership we want?

I have talked of volunteerism for a cause, and thats the only way we young people, we shall be able to liberate ourselves. We all need a plate of food on the table but lets not be like Esau for those who read the Bible who sold his birth right just for a meal, I will not elaborate more, I am sure we have the point.

The 2007-8 post election violence should have been an eye opener for us all, and especially after the coalition government, thanks to Koffi Annan for saving soles. However, 2012 is just around the corner, the romour has it and I quote “we are all prepared” and Kregler said if … “It will be like a christmas party.” Where is our stand, what are you as a young person doing to ensure that we build the Nation -Kenya we want? The campaigns are high only after an year, what development are we getting if the politicians are teaming up for 2012, why cant they work for “us” and campaign in 2012 itself, lets wake up and be focused, its our time. Nothing comes easily and we need to network for a common purpose with underlying factor that we are all youth and unemployed, its not the tribes which we are identified with but the fact that we face same challenges/ issues in our country Kenya, lets set an example for active non violence and the world will follow. The time is now!!!

By Rachel