Shalom Center for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation (SCCRR) has been working with the Catholic Justice and Peace (CJPC) representatives in Nakuru County through the Diocese of Nakuru. Nakuru County is a bustling region with various ethnic groups living and working there. However, the majority ethnic groups present are the Kikuyu, Kalenjin and Kisii. The CJPC have extensive influence with the local people on the ground and therefore are best placed to target as Training of Trainers (ToTs). The trainings took place in in the towns of Kuresoi, Molo, Njoro, Nakuru town, Koibatek, Naivasha and Rongai over a period of two years. These towns in Nakuru County were significantly affected by 2007/2008 post-elections violence and therefore were key target points for SCCRR training on various peace-building techniques and election preparedness, especially towards our general elections.
The groups were trained on various peace building techniques primarily focusing on the prevention of electoral violence. Nakuru County was hard hit during the post-election violence that saw the death of many people, destruction of public and personal property, physical injuries and much more. Shalom-SCCRR was requested by the Diocese of Nakuru to place emphasis on the training on the prevention of electoral violence as it is relevant to the County and signs were being seen that could result into harm or violence if not addressed, as we draw nearer to the Kenyan General elections.
Shalom-SCCRR was able to conduct a quarterly evaluation with representatives from all project areas within Nakuru County. The evaluation activity focused on the efforts made by the CJPC members in promoting peace between inter-ethnic groups on the ground. The evaluation would collect and analyze information and outcomes received from the CJPC members.
This was intended not only to make conclusions about the process but also to empower them to further understand the importance of monitoring and evaluating every action plan that they commit themselves to do in order to maximize on the outcomes and contribute to positive peacebuilding in their community. during the evaluation, Shalom-SCCRR interviewed some participants and facilitated comprehensive focus group discussion (FGDs). Some of the information collected during a situational analysis can be summarized in the table below:
|CURRENT SITUATION IN NJORO, MOLO, NAIVASHA, RONGAI AND KOIBATEK||RISKS TO THE COMMUNITY|
|1. Frequent livestock theft that in some cases is incited by politicians
2. Heightened tension among ethnic groups and reduced interaction
3. Ethnic groupings frequently cited
4. People are moving away without being chased (self-displacement) due to fear of the unknown as we approach the election period
5. Disputed Nominations/primaries that have ethnic undertones
|1. Insecurity: when politicians incite youth to cause havoc then the community’s security is vulnerable
2. Ethnic groupings raises the tension and suspicion within an area as well as halt avenues or interaction and communication that can quickly deteriorate into violence
When the some participants were interviewed, they shed light into the disputes around various resources like water that cuts across county boundaries and stirs up ethnic tension as a result. One common subject that was central among the interviewees from different zones was the heightened ethnic tension. They also mentioned that for some the election period opened up old wounds. They also referenced the nominations as a prediction of the August general election. In many of the zones, there were scuffles and unrest during the nominations that saw man candidates become independent candidates. With the ethnic grouping and increased insecurity, they mentioned that rumors are spreading that have negative ethnic connotations.
The CJPC members in Nakuru have been engaging communities through civic and peace education. They utilize various forums such as Church groups, Chiefs’ Baraza, Nyumba Kumi (Clusters), women groups, youth groups and other organized public forums. Boda Boda riders (motorbike riders offering transport services) have been easy targets for politicians for spreading their campaign propaganda and inciting the locals especially along ethnic lines. The riders are easily bribed with money, cheap alcohol and campaign ‘promises.’ The CJPC members have made efforts to reach the Boda Boda riders and other youth groups especially from informal settlement areas. Peace in Nakuru County remains fragile. This highlights the need for investing more in peacebuilding to enhance and support efforts on socio, economic and cultural development within the County.
By Francis Mwangi; M&E Officer