Amani Daily Update – 21 April 08

AMANI SASA UPDATE 21st APRIL 2008[1]

THE HUMAN COST: Over 1000 dead and over 350, 000 displaced

· The Godown Arts Centre on Dunga Road is organizing a photo exhibition. See images captured by amateur and professional photographers during Kenya’s elections, from the campaigns, voting, and ensuing violence and destruction. Come see remember and reflect. The exhibition runs from 19th April to 10th May 2008.

· Bunge La Mwananchi’s (People’s Parliament-Kenya) have taken the step to help you communicate with you Member of Parliament and keep them accountable. Go to http://www.bulamwa. co.ke//index. php?option=com_fabrik&Itemid=52 or visit www.bulamwa.co.ke for your Member of Parliament’s phone number and email address.

· The youth of Mathare, Kariobangi, Korogocho, Dandora and Baba-dogo under the umbrella of Collaboration for Peace and Development (COPAD) are organising a National Peace festival/walk which will start in Nairobi and go through Naivasha, Nakuru, Molo, Timboroa, Burnt Forest, Kisumu and other towns. There are so far 75 participants comprising both men and women under the age of thirty. Activities to be undertaken in each town include sports, beauty pageants, inspirational talks, Cultural shows etc. They are appealing for assistance either financial or in kind in the form of inspirational speakers, security, PA systems, food and water, publicity etc. Contact Joshua on +254721706717

· To receive an update on the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation process go to http://www.dialoguekenya.org. Here you will find information on the team, the agreements reached thus far and current updates on the process.

· Jesuit Hakimani Centre in collaboration with others is Launching an Ambassadors for Peace initiative that will take some prominent persons to the grassroots in various parts of the country to boost the continuing activities on national healing and reconciliation. They have invited the Retired Arch Bishop Nding Mwana Nzeki, Rev Timothy Njoya, Madam Dekha Ibrahim, Tecla Loroupe and Paul Tergat to the Launch in Korogocho on the 19th of April. All Concerned Citizens are invited to the event.

· If you are looking for information about the peace process and initiatives that have been established towards this, visit CCP’s communication hub on http://www.rescuekenya.org. They have now established a crisis victim registry, a missing person registry, a camp registry and organization / initiative registry. They are also registering victims, tracking IDPs and getting their personal information, their needs, skills, where they were from, which camps they were in, where they were taken and where they’d like to go. They are also carrying out situation mapping, which gives current information on the situation on the ground. Other activities include Supply Chain Management / Inventory Management, Volunteer Management, Communication Centre, Reporting System and Needs Assessment.

· There is a scholar in the field of conflict management and peace studies who is willing to give a talk on reconciliation the Kenyan perspective for free. She is also willing to share a talk on any other topic so long as she is informed about this prior. If interested contact William Nd’ungu on email wildleonnd@yahoo.com to facilitate the talk.

· Copies of the Amani Sasa update and Weekly can be accessed on various websites including www.peaceinkenya.net and on www.amanisasa.rescuekenya.org

QUOTE OF THE DAY

If you do not know where you are coming from, you will not know where you are going… Courtesy of Monthly African Proverb (MAP) at www.mymalaika.com

INSPIRATIONAL FEATURE

This weeks Inspirational feature is by Justin N Kimani a consultant on Conflict Transformation specialising on the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes Region. E-mail: justinkimani@yahoo.com

DELAYED RECONCILIATION AND RESETTLEMENT IS RECIPE FOR RENEWED CONFLICT AND CIVIL WAR.

In a conflict building process, both reconciliation and resettlement work precedes any national healing effort after signing of an agreement that lead to a ceasefire. This is necessary in order for the warring parties to take advantage of the goodwill that the agreement has created. Unfortunately no visible steps have so far been taken to give the Internally Displaced Persons [IDPs] hope and confidence that should flow from the symbolic signing of the agreement. Little wonder then, that the IDPs are reacting with anger and despair, wondering why they should suffer any more for no fault of theirs

The abhorring conditions the IDPs are suffering are traceable directly to the most proximate cause; the exercise of their democratic right to vote candidates of their choice into leadership. They did this of their own volition, ready to accept the verdict of their actions. Their commitment stems from their expectations of their leaders to represent their interests to the government through parliament, to ensure they are protected against the excesses of others, from human rights violations and from all other forms of injustices and to guide them in their development aspirations.. However, regrettably, the presidential aspect of the election results was disputed, triggering a countrywide conflict that has yet to be transformed.

The leaders, cried out to their supporters who came out in droves, swearing and cursing with daggers drawn to salvage the course they were so committed to.

Using all manner of the weaponry they got hold of at the short emergency notice, they killed, injured tortured and raped each other, destroying and burning property with the same zeal as they had voted with, inspired and spurred on by their chosen leaders. The leaders watched it all on television, in the comforts of their posh residences, office and hotel boardrooms completely oblivious of the mayhem. Those who were lucky to escape with their lives, and with whatever little else, and with children at tender ages strapped on their weary backs, others heavy with pregnancies and the disabled, took refuge in churches and chiefs office compounds, ASK show grounds and other spaces least habitable in terms of shelter, food, water, and sanitation, not to say anything yet about first aid and health services.

The worst of it all, and what is most disappointing to all Kenyans of good will, is that up to now, after signing the power sharing deal, those leaders, for whom Kenyans have suffered so much putting them in those positions, have shown no real concern, even if only to lift the IDPs hopes. Had they been concerned at all, they would by now, after the ceasefire through Annans mediation effort, done something at least to console the sufferings the IDPs are going through. Instead, the leaders have concentrated attention on the details of power sharing, which involves only a few people at the top while the others are busy lobbying for posts. What if the conflict broke out again, God forbade, as can very likely happen, seeing what is happening at Kuresoi and Mt Elgon areas or the power sharing agreement experiences implementation difficulties.

Everything the government does should be for and in the national interest. Resettlement of IDPS should have taken first priority immediately after the peace deal was signed. The question of lack of budget should not feature since budgets are only plans which should be re-allocated according to the urgency of determined hierarchy of needs, and funds shared between budget items. Attention to IDPs should have been given simultaneously as the power sharing legislation process goes on and concrete plans to ease the victims’ sufferings announced.

With the arrival of the rains now, the bare grounds on which school children, for lack of better facilities, have been sitting while studying will now be wet, flooded and muddy. The makeshift pit latrines, where any existed, will now be full, and human waste swept into the few tarpaulin tents. Diseases will now increase and be epidemic to the already sickly and hungry persons.

The questions in the IDPs minds are: Are these the leaders we are suffering for? What are they worth to us? Do they have feelings for their supporters or only supporters have feelings for them? The consequences are that the victims of the conflict will harden their hearts. After all it can’t get worse for them, and even if it did, they have nobody but themselves to turn to and in fact to blame their leaders do not care why has the government not taken practical steps to ease the victims’ sufferings? The victims and their relatives and friends patience are fast wearing out. Their hearts as well as those of their attackers, and this is the whole point of this article, are hardened. Any calls for reconciliation, whose prerequisite is forgiveness, and which the victims of the violence and the perpetrators have been well disposed to since the signing of the agreement, will now be more difficult to heed.

The government should mobilise resources speedily to show real commitment for resettling of the IDPS immediately institute the reconciliation process critical to the much desired peace. In this connection religious leaders should take full advantage to reclaim their lost glory, as clearly the role of reconciliation is mainly in their domain. Remember Bishop Tutu’s words ‘No future Without Forgiveness’. Kenyans, including those leaders, need to forgive and to be forgiven for their acts of commissions and omissions, or they have no future. Any more delay in the reconciliation and resettlement puts this country in the abyss of renewed conflict that could escalate to civil war.


[1] Amani Sasa records the various independent initiatives currently underway to restore peace, assist the displaced and promote truth and justice. To contribute to Amani Sasa contact Linda Bore on citizenskenya@gmail.com or 0711269482

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