REFLECTIONS ON CONFLICT SENSITIVE RECOVERY, RECONSTRUCTION AND RESETTLEMENT

An open statement by the Kenyan Civil Society Organisations working on peace and conflict resolution

To: The Chairman,

National Reconciliation and Dialogue Committee

Dated Tuesday, March, 11th 2008

REFLECTIONS ON CONFLICT SENSITIVE RECOVERY, RECONSTRUCTION AND RESETTLEMENT

INTRODUCTION

We, the community of Civil Society Organizations(CSOs) involved in peace building work throughout Kenya, coming together under the auspices of the Peace and Development Network (PeaceNet-Kenya), have decided to issue the following statement on the ongoing National Resettlement and

Dialogue processes.

Concerned about the wave of violence in Kenya since December 29th 2007, we teamed up to roll out a national assessment and response on the post election violence alongside several other intra-community dialogue interventions throughout the country under the Electoral Violence Response Initiative (EVRI. These interventions are geared towards preparing the communities for resettlement, recovery and reconciliation.

BACKGROUND

The National Reconciliation and Dialogue Committee that was formed after a successful national and international mediation has agreed on a number of resolutions to address the root-causes and the consequence of the 2007 post election crisis.

Kenya has gone through a traumatic experience characterised by the post electoral violence following the disputed 2007 presidential elections. The consequence of the violence has seen the loss of over 1000 lives, displacement of over three hundred thousand people and destruction of livelihoods of millions of Kenyans. Further consequences have been the growing tension in traditionally calm regions such as Central Kenya.

The challenge now is on the implementation of these resolutions and others that will follow in a conflict sensitive perspective.

RESETTLEMENT/REINTEGRATION

There are several recognisable categories of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Kenya today: The post 2007 electoral violence IDPs currently living in about 100 camps across the country or hosted by relatives and friends; IDPs as a result of the long-term conflicts in pastoral areas; IDPs as a result of the colonial displacements; IDPs as a result of the clashes in the 1990s ; IDPs caused by other disasters as well as those arising from forest, parks and other evictions. We anticipate another category of IDPs-those who could be displaced in the unlikely event that the peace accord fails to hold.

The IDPs are experiencing a life of indignity wherever they are. They are not able to access adequate basic services and find it difficult to continue with their “normal lives”. This makes reintegration/resettlement an urgent national priority. All stakeholders, local and international are currently pooling resources to facilitate this reintegration/resettlement process. As organisations involved in peace-building, we fully support such initiatives.

However, reintegration/resettlement shall only be successful if the following preconditions are met:

l A wholesome implementation of the “agreement on the principles of partnership of the coalition government”

l Definite peace processes and agreements between and within communities in conflict

l Confidence building to enable people voluntarily return to their farms and other places of occupation

l Respecting the rights of the displaced people to choose where to go

l A provision for settlement elsewhere should the need arise

l Security of persons especially the vulnerable groups and property

l Psycho-social support to individuals and communities

l Restoring inter-communal relationships and laying a foundation for sustaining livelihoods

l Recognising and understanding Kenyan ethnic and cultural diversity in relation to reintegration/resettlement.

l There is a need to formulate National Policies on IDPs; Peace, Security and Conflict Transformation.

RECONSTRUCTION

The post-electoral violence resulted into psychological trauma, broken social relationships, destruction of physical infrastructure and property. No value can be tagged to this great national loss.

In view of the realities of this destruction, reconstruction in Kenya shall succeed only if it takes various national and local level models.

In a bid to jump-start the process of national reconstruction, two mechanisms have so far been initiated: The President has launched a Fund on Resettlement and Reconstruction as well as the National Dialogue and Reconciliation Committee that has proposed the establishment of a Resettlement Programme. The first challenge in the development of these mechanisms is the agreement on the mandate of the Fund and the Resettlement Programme.

The second challenge is the coordination and harmonization of these important national mechanisms. There is need for establishment of clear guidelines on coordinating and implementing reintegration/resettlement programmes.

At all levels, CSOs with requisite capacity, experience and expertise should actively participate in the ongoing national dialogue to reconstruct Kenya. At the community level, efforts should be made to facilitate intra and inter-community dialogues among Kenyans.

A comprehensive needs assessment should be undertaken before any reconstruction initiative is rolled out.

RECOVERY

Kenya has recently faced its worst crisis since independence. One of the major consequences of the crisis is the erosion of public trust in the institutions of governance, which have come under intense criticism. For instance, Kenyans in various neighbourhoods have resorted to self-help mechanisms to provide for their own security issues.

The need for national recovery is urgent. Transitional mechanisms need to be enacted and coordinated to comprehensively restore the integrity of our public institutions through constitutional, legal and policy transformation.

At the community level, recovery efforts should focus on psycho-social support, reconciliation, recovery of livelihoods and bringing perpetrators of crime to justice.

SPECIFIC RESOLUTIONS

l Establish a Ministry of Peace-building and Conflict Resolution to oversee all processes leading to sustainable peace

l All the processes relating to peace-building, be they Committees, Commissions or Acts of Parliament need to be coordinated under the proposed Ministry of Peace-building and Conflict Resolution.

l The Peace, Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Act should be broad enough to address the community level reconciliation needs. This Act should provide mechanisms for intra and inter-community dialogue

l The reintegration/resettlement of IDPs should be an integral part of the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) Act.

l The reintegration/resettlement process in Kenya must understand that people shall be returning to communities, not farms. The process must be sensitive to the needs and concerns of the returnees as well as those who were not displaced. Construction of police posts, stations and increased deployment of security forces in itself shall not be a guarantee of peace to returnees

l Forced resettlement and disbandment of IDP camps should be outlawed.

l All reintegration/resettlement and reconstruction programmes should have a clear monitoring and evaluation mechanism.

l All the reintegration/resettlement, reconstruction, and recovery programmes must be conflict sensitive

l All programmes targeting the IDPs should look at the situation in the camps and in the communities in which they are hosted.

Statement developed by:

PeaceNet Kenya

World Vision Kenya

PACT Kenya

Kenya Human Rights Commissions (KHRC)

Coalition for Peace in Africa (COPA)

Centre for Minority Rights Development (CEMIRIDE)

Practical Action

Institute of Security Studies (ISS)

Release Political Prisoners Trust

Concerned Citizens for Peace (CCP)

Nairobi Peace Initiatives (NPI)

East Africa Peace Institute (EAPI)

Non Violent Peace Force

Youth for Peace and Development

Chemichemi ya Ukweli

Kenya veterans for Peace

Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation

Sam Kona, an independent Conflict Resolution Consultant

Dekha Ibrahim

Daniel Kiptugen

C.c.

l H.E. President Mwai Kibaki

l Hon. Raila Odinga

l Chairman, African Union

l IGAD Secretariat

l Chairman, EAC

l Head of Delegation, EU

l Foreign Missions

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1 Comment

  1. I appreciate the statement by the Kenya Civil Society Organizations.

    Indeed they are on point when noting that “At the community level, recovery efforts should focus on psycho-social support, reconciliation, recovery of livelihoods and bringing perpetrators of crime to justice.”

    Now, I have been part of an effort of Peace Restoration in Nyanza and has had good experiences in REINTEGRATION specifically on the item ‘Psycho-social support to individuals and communities.”

    Noteworthy is the strategy to use the media, especially radio, to communicate peace messages to communities. Remember, it’s more often argued that the media contributed close to 45% in the skirshes. It is only fair that it be part of the re-integration plots.

    I noted that Radio reaches more people compared to other media, and ostensibly tasked it in my initiatve.

    Psycho-social counseling is very possible and reaches more people through radio than the convetional means. In the time of crisis, it worked well for us implementers and maybe its a model other like-minded implementers would want to adopt.

    Through radio, its possible to do counseling on the issues and also have an interactive session with the listener(s)/communities. This makes interaction easier and people open up and share their concerns.

    Good work Civil Society.

    Deo


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