CENTRE FOR COMMUNITY DIALOGUE AND DEVELOPMENT
COMMUNITY FORUM AT CHEMELIL
HELD ON 12TH February 2013
This program is supported by USAID and the people of Kenya. This report was compiled by the Centre for Community Dialogue &Development.
The meeting commenced with a word of prayer from pastor Amos, the area acting chief then opened the session officially. He introduced his counterparts from different sub locations. He then acknowledged and appreciated the efforts by the Centre for Community Dialogue and Development for giving Chemelil a priority in peace matters.
The chief then presided over the introductory session where he gave a brief opportunity to all participants to introduce themselves; he appreciated them for finding time to come for the meeting, noting that the beginning of a lasting peace process was the coming together of the members of both communities.
“we cannot afford to water down any peace initiatives in this area because the consequences are way too costly for us to bear. I strongly believe that we have suffered enough, it’s time we rise up and say enough is enough for how long shall we continue fighting over issues that are beyond us?. Am happy because we have Non-Governmental organizations that have found it necessary to bring all of us on the negotiating table as this is the road we ought to have travelled long time ago”.
“For those who have been pledging their loyalty to the so many political despots in this area, i want to remind you that the era of imperial political godfathers is long gone. We shall never sit and watch anyone polarize and goad our communities into fighting again. I refuse to believe that we are poor students of history, that we shall always clash year after year and learn nothing from it! Are we corroborating warlike mentality as part our culture, our bargaining identity?”
“It’s not lost with us that those few individuals who have perfected the art of terrorizing the area residents are individuals who have for a long time been hiding under the cover of their respective communities, then make it look like the entire community is under siege. It’s unfortunate you have fallen to this ugly bait way too long”.
“We don’t have the luxury of time to just regret these careless acts of impunity. Time is ripe for all of us to stand out and be counted for campaigning for a peaceful co- existence for all and sundry, because I assure you there is no way to peace, peace is the way”.
Remarks by Elder Otiato
The elder began by appreciating the Centre for Community Dialogue and Development for being in the forefront in championing for togetherness among the members of the two communities. He also appreciated every effort by the local administration in trying to restore peace in the region.
He called on the participants to make informed decisions about those things that matter the most especially during this electioneering period ” Let’s not be coerced or duped into supporting an agenda that we don’t subscribe to just because we make those decisions out of unmatched trepidation”.
“It’s not a favor that we are living in this part of the country. We are citizens of this country and our rights to own property and reside here are provided for in the constitution. Let’s learn to respect even the most extreme of opinions, because time has come for us to learn to agree to disagree objectively”.
Remarks by the facilitator Eunice Kerich.
The facilitator appreciated the area residents led by their chief for turning up in large numbers to attend the meeting. She reasoned that their commitment for peace was obdurate and totally unmatched. “Our presence here today is to rubber stamp these efforts and reminds you that we are ready to walk with you every step of the way”.
She reminded them that peace and stability was squarely within their power and asked them to remember their future generations and make rational decisions that will ensure that their young ones will be born to a tolerant society complete with the basic necessities that one needs to lead a good live.
“We are not going to pronounce a blanket judgment to the people of Chemelil as engaging in outdated avenues in seeking solutions to the so many problems, but we are here to condemn with the strongest terms possible those few extremist who have serve to taint the image of this region at large. We strongly believe that the hottest places in hell are reserved for them”.
Mr. Busienei later introduced the short message service to the people, he asked them to send the message and respond to all the questions therein. He encouraged them to share the same with others who were not technology savvy and comprehensively fill in all the necessary answers.
Centre for Community Dialogue and Development staff administered several questionnaires to the participants randomly, from their response it was clear that.
- It was evident that the Government has not done enough in dealing with the cattle rustling menace for the last twenty years which is a major contributing factor to the perennial conflicts in the region.
- The truth justice and reconciliation commission which was put in place by the Government to look into historical injustices in all parts of the country never visited the area hence they literally lost an opportunity to have their issues put under consideration.
- The failure by the Government to issue land title deeds to the people in this region continue to be one of the major reasons for the ever opportunistic conflicts.
- Illiteracy levels have continued to promote the number of unwaged young people who have resorted to archaic ways as a means to an end.
Several media houses graced the occasion this included;
- Sayare television
- Kass FM
- Kitwek FM
- Kass FM
These media houses interviewed the participants about the courses of conflicts in the area and the possible solutions. Their views were captured during their evening news bulletins with Sayare television running the video footage the next day.
The Centre for Community Dialogue and Development invited the participants to their face book page called; CENTRE FOR COMMUNITY DIALOGUE AND DEVELOPMENT. They challenged the participants to engage the CCDD personnel through their face book page in every issue that concerns peace, especially those who had been selected for training.
The participants called on the Government to increase police presence in the area especially during the coming elections.
The participants requested for more meetings ahead of the coming elections to sensitize the locals to uphold peace and unity.
The participants reasoned that the number selected for training was too small and requested for the addition of more people.
The forum offered a good opportunity for the members of both communities to forge a common destiny guided by peace and respect for all. The members further promised to accept the verdict of the coming elections.
Pictorial view of the meeting
A participant giving his views cross section of participants
KTI personnel Mr Ken Onyango following the proceedings.