AMANI SASA DAILY UPDATE: 8th February 2008

AMANI SASA DAILY UPDATE: 8th February 2008[1]

                                                                                                                                                                                

THE HUMAN COST: Over 1000 dead and over 300, 000 displaced

Upcoming Activities

  • CCP is preparing a write-up/ review of its activities during the month of January. Kindly fill in one of the available forms or write a note detailing what your memorable moments are or any other information that you would like to see in the report. Hand over the note to Jerry Okungu.
  • We have obtained free meeting space in Upper Hill, Landmark building for those who may have upcoming activities. The meeting room can accommodate 22 persons.
  • Blood donation-Blood supplies are running low in the country and persons are therefore urged to kindly donate blood between the 7th and 10th February. In Nairobi go to Kenyatta National Hospital, Bomb blast site, Mama Ngina Street and Kencom bus stop. In Mombasa, Kisumu, Embu, Nakuru and Eldoret, go to all national blood transfusion centres next to provincial general hospitals.
  • Concerned youth for Peace is hosting leaders from poor urban settlements together with media practitioners at a meeting to discuss various activities being undertaken in the poor urban settlements and how these can be publicised. The meeting will be at the KEPSA boardroom, shelter Afrique House (Mamlaka road), 2nd Floor between 2 and 4 p.m. on Saturday 9th February.

Religious Groups Initiative

·         Today is the National prayer day organised by the inter-religious forum with leaders from all faith communities. The prayers will be held at KICC main hall from 10 a.m. -12.30 p.m. if unable to attend kindly spend some time today praying for our nation.

·         CASAM- Come and See a Man would like to partner with other organisations and volunteers in the valentines peace march at Gatundu on the 14th February 2008. CASAM would like to appeal for flowers and logistical assistance towards this event. Kindly contact Joyce Kariuki on 0723-111083 and Benjamin Wagudi on 0721-281693.

TODAY’S MEETINGS

08.00 The Peace Makers Update, Caana Room, Serena Hotel,                              OPEN

11.00 PEACENET offices, Maalim Juma road Opp Royal media, Hurlingham       OPEN

 

IN THE NEWS-DAILY NATION

·         The Government has announced that 995 people have died in the post-election violence. The Government put the figure at 269, 195 for displaced people, adding that this figure fluctuated.

·         Outlawed gangs are re-emerging and spreading violence. This is especially so in Kiambu district and parts of Rift Valley Province, where young men have armed themselves to evict outsiders.

·         Service in many public hospitals will be paralysed following displacement if over 1,000 nurses. The Kenya Medical Association has also said that medical services are in crisis.

·         More than 90 children have been treated at the Nairobi Women’s Hospital after being attacked and raped. The hospital has so far attended to over 200 survivors of sexual abuse.

·         Government and ODM MP’s on Wednesday attended peace prayers at Freedom corner Uhuru Park, with Kajiado central MP Joseph Nkaissery and Maragwa’s Elias Mbau, present.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

When Spider webs unite they can tie up a lion.

Ethiopian Proverb from African Wisdom on War and Peace, a compilation by Annetta Miller.

 

INSPIRATIONAL FEATURE

 

Today’s Feature is a letter from Brian Williams (Consultant) who was in Nairobi in January 2008 at the Invitation of CCP

 

February 2008 – Brian Williams (Fr)

 

It was great visiting Kenya again and being asked to participate in restoring peace to that beautiful country, especially since I had been working there on and off since 1992. I basically acted in a strategic advisory capacity for the Concerned Citizens for Peace (initiated with support from Nairobi Peace Initiative, Oxfam GB, Saferworld) under the leadership of Ambassador Bethuel Kiplagat who had contracted my services.


It was just really great to be with good friends again, visit places of emotional significance.  What was sad was the impact of the elections on the country. People who had been living in peace with one another had suddenly turned violent on each other. The slums went up in flames, as did two significant areas: central and western Kenya. 

 

The ethnic trump card was completely overplayed and blown out of proportion by genocide protagonists. Many naïve analysts outside Kenya compared the Kenyan situation to that of Rwanda. In Kenya you have a multiplicity of ethnic identities compared to the two major groups in Rwanda. Also, the extermination of almost a million Tutsi (some Hutu were also killed in the process) by Hutu extremists was premeditated. The sporadic reciprocal attacks - not planned - on communities in Kenya was in no way organised as could be seen by the patterns of the conflict. Also the Kenyan communal violence was not widespread, countrywide. Most of Northern and Eastern Kenya did not witness any incidence of violence – very interesting given the fact those two regions border Somalia and Somaliland where the porous borders lend itself to the cross border movement of small arms and light weapons so easily.

It's all a bit removed from South Africa and other places because of distance, but there is one very important lesson we can learn. The main reason (or at least one of them) for the mayhem in Kenya lies in how the political process, i.e. political governance, has become dislocated or detached from the civil process, i.e. the people's relationship with the political process and their role in the governance equation. When this happens you create a chronic condition for what I call political lack of accountability. The moment politicians do not feel accountable to the citizenry, that's when the political process is hijacked. The moment citizens lose interest in the political process through apathy, scepticism, politicians hijack the job of governance, appropriating it to themselves. We in SA are walking the fine line: on the one hand we are developing a more or less sinister attitude to corruption, political intrigue, putting it down to power struggles in the ruling party. This results in a citizen's attitude: them versus us. The other worrying aspect is the threat of a group like the ANC youth league threatening to make the country ungovernable should Zuma be prosecuted, which smacks of holding the country to ransom by their threatening disregard for the rule of law. True, we are all innocent until proven guilty. The conclusion: we cannot leave politics to politicians only, if we want to avert another Kenyan scenario here.


On a more general level, an important instruction for peace builders. The struggle of well meaning Kenyan peace builders has been articulated in their inability to construct an adequate peace building response to the situation in Kenya, even after years of peace building. What do I mean? Peace building, in its obsession to define and assert itself as an independent discipline produced well meaning peace activists who have been accused of having their heads in the clouds, oblivious of the
real-politik of the day. I have always been uneasy with an almost shying away of peace builders from engaging developmental politics (as opposed to politics of development assistance), i.e. political processing like elections as an example. Now we are confirmed in our unease and I glad to see there are real-time efforts underway at framing peace building with reference to political institutional building. But we have still a long way to go.


[1] This daily update is a service to all working for peace. It records the various independent initiatives currently underway to restore peace, assist the displaced and promote truth and justice. It does suggest that these actions are being centrally coordinated.

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