CENTRE FOR COMMUNITY DIALOGUE AND DEVELOPMENT
OWIRO CUMMUNITY FORUM
ON January 22, 2013
This program is supported by USAID and the people of Kenya. This report was compiled by the centre for community dialogue &development (CCDD
The meeting started at 10.00 am with a word of prayer from the area catechist, Mr. Emmanuel Tarbei then welcomed all the participants and appreciated them for turning up in large numbers to grace the very important event while introductory remarks.
Mr. Busienei began by welcoming all the participants to the forum then in agreement with the participants put in place the following rules in order to have a fully democratic session;
- That the participants use the shortest time possible.
- The participant contributions should be devoid of emotional attachment.
- That the session was not a court of law and therefore no one would be allowed to mention anyone’s name.
- That the participants contributions should be consistent relevant and should reflect the current state of affairs at Owiro.
Mr. Busienei then proceeded to set the climate of the session; he appreciated the opinion leaders who had earlier attended the meeting at the Nandi cottages, Kapsabet on 10th January 2013, for marshalling a good number of people from Owiro to grace the occasion. He further thanked the residence of Owiro for choosing peace and turning up in large numbers even beyond the anticipated figures because they understood the importance of peace.
He later briefed the audience about centre for community dialogue and developments activities what it stands for, what it had covered thus far and what it intends to achieve at the end of the program. He also thanked our main sponsor USAID for making it possible for centre for community dialogue and development to reach out to people of Owiro and its environs and seek to find avenues through which the entrenched culture of impunity can be defeated.
Remarks by the facilitator Mrs. Eunice Kerich
The facilitator appreciated the level of enthusiasm that the area residents had demonstrated by being punctual and active during the forum. “Are you ready for peace?” she asked.” It’s time we embrace the Israelites way of greeting, they say shalom which means peace that is the approach that we all need to emulate”.
She reminded them that peace is a collective responsibility because no one can achieve it in isolation,” I did not bring peace here, but peace will come from amongst you because that power rests with you” .She appealed to the participants to respect one another’s democratic rights, especially now when politicians are busy polarizing the country with statements that might jeopardize the process of healing and restoration of calm in the area.
She challenged the participants to initiate development oriented activities that would promote synergy and togetherness in the area, “we continue fighting and stealing from one another while other people continue progressing, when shall we ever catch up”?She wondered.
“Time for paradigm shift is now, we need a turnaround from this acts of lawlessness and give our best in our agricultural farms, God has blessed you with fertile lands, utilize those fields fully to educate your children and change their destiny for the better”.
She reason that fighting is majorly because of cattle rustling, which is orchestrated by poverty and joblessness among our able and energetic young people, Let’s all come on board and help our youth form community based organizations so that their potential can fully be tapped for the betterment of societal welfare.
Reaction by the local chief
The chief was indeed grateful for the program leadership for choosing to work in Owiro in looking for peace that has been elusive for a very long time. He asked the participants to be calm and collected reminding them that his presence was purely to be part of a peace process and not collect evidence to incriminate anyone.
He called on the participants to volunteer information that would make it possible for the restoration of calm and sanity in the area. “Because we are all here to stay let’s not be misled that some people will be leaving this village, therefore it’s time we concentrate on matters development as that’s the only tangible avenue through which we can liberate ourselves”.
We largely fought a few months ago, when the dust finally settled we had lost innocent lives and unknown value of property, investigation revealed that we fought because of the cattle rustling menace in Chepswerta, whatever the issues they were fighting for is completely beyond us, “Shall we be fighting because others are fighting, lets learn to respect the sanctity of live”.
He further reminded them about the fact the constitution respects and uphold the right of all to live and own property anywhere in this country, he further opined that the very constitution had made it possible for the formation of land commission that will look into the land historical injustices.
Reaction by area catechist
He began by challenging the participants to really eliminate the common stereotype that every time a Nandi steals, the entire community castigated as thieves and vice versa, “how can we continue to fight one another while thieves from both communities are collaborating?. We are the biggest losers lets treat thieves as thieves time for cover up is long gone”.
“Did anyone apply to be born a Luo or a Kalenjin? None of us did, therefore we are whatever we are because of Gods plan, its upon us as a community to respect his will .it’s unfortunate that we are always suspicious of one another that’s exactly the reason why we end up fighting over shenanigan gibberish, because we are being over protective”.
“If a Nandi steals anything from a fellow Nandi the due process of the law will be followed the same thing happens to the Luo why is it that when a Luo steals from Nandi it becomes a fully fletched war that you will be forgiven for thinking that it was perfectly planned and executed? These are double standards. Let the law take its course because we have a properly functioning government that has the capacity to deal with these issues impartially”.
Reaction by Mr.Onyango
“We have issues time and again in Owiro because our neighbors feel that we have occupied their land, it’s important for us to fathom the fact we have been living here from 1974 and we have the title deeds to prove that we are the legitimate owners of the land we occupy”.
He further revealed that boundaries remain a thorny issue; because he said that their neighbors continue to invade their land and any resistance will be faced with unnecessary conflicts. He reiterated the fact that they continue to live in fear because they don’t need a concrete reason to fight.
“We are leaving in an area where everyone, young or old is always ready for conflicts, this war like mentality should be eliminated through any means because that’s our greatest weakness as a people , because we have so many things to do and that can never be done in a tensed environment”.
Centre for community dialogue and development administered questionnaires randomly to fifteen participants, from their response the participants were categorical that,
- The government has not done enough in solving their problems because it has never issued title deeds for the land they occupy.
- That the community does not have the capacity to handle their problem because of the never ending suspicions.
Peace cell committee members
At the tail end of the day’s activities, the participants with the directions of the coordinator embarked on an important exercise of choosing the seven members of the peace cell. The procedure for election was established with every village represented.
The following were elected to represent their respective villages in the peace cell :
- Simion Koech Chepkwony.
- Richard Kimaiyo.
- Wilson Chepkwony.
- Esbond Omondi.
- John Odiero Odiero .
- Patrick otieno Aringo .
- James Abwas .
Mr. Busienei congratulated the seven committee members for being elected to join the Owiro peace cell, he asked them to exercise unmatched impartiality and most importantly be pro active to ensure the success of the peace cell.
- The area residents were of the opinion that in order to fully address the problem of negative ethnicity, there was need to engage the Luo and the Nandi communities separately then later on bring them together for a common meeting.
- The residents also asked the local administration to ensure equity in resource allocation including the grazing fields.
- They were also of the opinion that the local administration should take action to ensure that the young people of Owiro accesses basic education. Besides the government should develop institutions such as polytechnics to promote unity and a more interactive environment for both communities.
- The participants further requested for voice recorders to promote the veracity of information as aired by them.
- The area residence called on the land commission to expedite the process of settling land disputes especially regarding the boundary.
- The centre for community and development were of the opinion that there was need for a strong video recording machine during its forums to enhance authenticity of the reactions from the participants.
The participants were happy for what the forum had done in championing for a lasting peace and austerity in the area. They were also relieved that they had an opportunity to come together and open up the issues that have affected them all this while.They later collectively pledged that they will hold peaceful elections in march 4 as a way of passing their gratitude to USAID and Centre for Community Dialogue and Development.
A woman giving her remarks
CCDD members during the session
A Section of participants An elderly woman during the session
Members of CCDD