Thursday, November 02, 2017
To the SHALOM-SCCRR Administration and Project Officers,
REF: PEACEBUILDING INTERVENTION IN THE KISUMU-KERICHO BORDER AREA AND IN THE IMPOVERISHED URBAN SETTLEMENTS (SLUMS) OF KAWANGWARE AND KIBERA.
The aftermath of the 26th October repeat presidential elections in Kenya has been characterized by manifest violent clashes and life threatening tensions between rival ethnic communities in specific areas of Western Kenya and Nairobi. The border of Kisumu and Kericho counties in Western Kenya, Kawangware and Kibera slums in Nairobi are some of the areas that have been hardest hit by interethnic clashes and growing hostility in the context of the just concluded repeat presidential election in Kenya. However the clashes may have other historical underlying causal dimensions. In Kisumu and Kericho border, the Luo and the Kalenjin communities have been engaged in retaliatory attacks leading to loss of property and displacement of people, a situation which has affected both sides of the ethnic divide. In Kawangware and Kibera in Nairobi, the Luhya, Luo, Kisii and the Kikuyu have been involved in fighting which resulted in killing, maiming, displacement, the burning of shops and other property of people in these communities.
Further to the conversations and idea-sharing Rev. Dr. Patrick Devine (SCCRR’s Executive Chairman) Fr. Oliver Noonan, MA (SCCRR’s Country Director), Dr. Peterlinus Ouma (SCCRR’s Deputy Country Director) and the Program Management team had over the last few days, concerning the violent volatile situation in these environs, the SCCRR’s Program Management Team is moving strategically and prudently to immediately put in place, a judicious intervention whose aim is primarily to mitigate violence and reconcile the adversarial communities thus help to foster positive peace among these people that have, in general, lived as peaceful neighbors for many years.
The SCCRR’s Program Management Team has started a process for deliberations with relevant resourceful persons and key influential opinion shapers in these areas with a view of rolling out an elaborate conflict intervention program that will help curb the tensions, before situations can escalate to unmanageable levels. We are looking forward to a more preventive action that will limit the strain on peace and development which will remain grossly affected if the conflict dynamics persist. Moreover, the intervention will see these communities acquire conflict transformation skills and peacebuilding techniques so that going forward they can be empowered towards resolution and be the architects of their own peace and sustainable development. It is our commitment as the program management team on behalf of the larger SCCRR team that we are ready to mobilise this process, and engage belligerent actors in the actual conflict zones. Even as we engage with communities on the ground, I understand that Fr. Patrick Devine (Executive Chairman) has given further due consideration to this matter and had discussions with Prof. Peter
Wanyande about the resourceful contacts we need to be having on board especially in Kisumu and Kericho in order to fast track a successful Shalom-SCCRR’s insertion and project intervention in the affected areas. Professor would carry great progressive respect among the Luo community and indeed across the nation. In a similar vein, I wish to note that we are also consulting with Ms. Rosaline Serem (one of our Shalom-SCCRR’s directors) to help in establishing our entry point especially among the Kalenjin community of Kericho county. We have also put in place similar arrangements for Kawangware and Kibera where we are already in contact with the key influential leaders of the interreligious forums in the two slums as well as a diversity of other key community leaders and they have committed to support Shalom’s entry into the two slums and the peace work that we intend to undertake together with the resident ethnic communities.
The intervention will begin with professional analysis of the issues, the resilience of conflict memory and the windows of opportunity for conflict transformation process. It is our determination that the intervention will absolutely lead to holding problem solving workshops with the affected communities in order to pursue long term positive peace. With the problem solving workshops, the implementation of well-drawn action plans and strategies that are geared towards fostering sustainable peace will act as guiding tools in the long term towards conflict management and transformation, which needs urgent attention in the Kisumu-Kericho border location, Kibera and Kawangware impoverished urban areas.
Bearing in mind that sustainable development cannot take root in a violent environment; the Program Management team is seeking to fulfil the mentioned propositions that hold immense value in fostering sustainable peace in these regions that have experienced extreme volatility in the context of the just concluded presidential repeat elections in Kenya.
Your ongoing insights, diplomacy and support to engage will be highly appreciated. Indeed the goodwill, generosity and prayer of people around the world would be greatly appreciated.
Shalom (SCCRR) Program Management Team:
Mr. Godfrey Okoth Onyango, BA, MA, Program Manager
Ms. Joyce Wamae Kamau, BA, MA, Assistant Program Manager
Mr. Paulson Erot Tadeo, BA, MA, Assistant Program Manager