CENTRE FOR COMMUNITY DIALOGUE AND DEVELOPMENT
COMMUNITY FORUM AT CHEPSWERTA
HELD ON 05 FEBRUARY 2013
This program is supported by USAID and the people of Kenya. This report was compiled by the Centre for Community Dialogue &Development.
Mr. Busienei called the meeting to order at 10.00 am, he began by introducing the Centre for Community Dialogue and Development members and then appreciated the area residents of Chepswerta for turning up in large numbers for the all important occasion.
REMARKS BY PAULINE CHELAGAT
Mrs. Chelagat who is the area district peace committee member began by appreciating the efforts of the people of Chepwerta for finding time to attend the meeting. She then pass the apologies of the area chief who she said was not able to attend the meeting as he is recuperating in the hospital after suffering from malaria.
She then introduced all the participants beginning with the members of district peace committee members who were present and then gave all the participants an opportunity to momentarily introduce themselves.
“Restoration of peace in an area like Chepswerta which is prone to violence is not a walk in the park, it requires unmatched sacrifices and the contribution from all the stakeholders who happen to be you the people who are the direct beneficiary of calm and tranquility in this area. Your presence here today is a milestone in jumpstarting the process of cohesion.
We have always prayed and hoped for peace but unfortunately we don’t have the courage and humility to walk that path. We cannot allow this process to be subdued by the enemies of development guided by ulterior motives. We don’t want blood to be shed again neither that of Nandi nor of Luo we want to live as partners, neighbors’ brothers and sisters.”
Remarks by John kipkoech
The elder began by appreciating the participants for turning up in large numbers for the occasion,” I am happy because we are all here today because we have understood that we all belong here and therefore we must learn how to accommodate each other. Whatever happened in February is untoward but we have swept that under the carpet and forgotten about it. We have a collective responsibility as a people guided by serenity to learn from those mistakes and acts of impunity”.
“The fighting that took place here should make us come together and cement our unity as a God fearing people that we have always been. There are lessons that we have drawn from those conflicts and it will be appropriate that we bury the hatchet once and for all”.
“We might have been misled into fighting once, but we are here now to rubberstamp our blue print on this sensitive issue of peace and we cannot afford to be relegated to the shackles of his history as violent people that has not been our identity and we must stand firm against violence at all times, because we are all living witnesses to the fact that no amount of fighting can solve our problems this issues can only be fully addressed by the government through its Judicial arm”.
“Several Non-Governmental organizations have been calling on the president to fast track the formation of the Land Commission. We as a common Citizens affected directly by this land problem should be on the forefront in calling for the Government to expedite the process. That is our glimpse of hope in the coming days that all the historical injustices associated with land will finally be dealt with conclusively”.
“We have been on the brink of precipice way too long. Our unity has time and again been threatened by dark forces that are out to ruin our achievements over the years and it will be a double tragedy to allow them more airtime to continue sowing seeds of discord, deceit and treachery. Therefore we must make sacrifices on behalf of our future generations that our children will get along well irrespective of their ethnic background. We must begin moving in that direction because there is no way to peace, peace is the way”.
Remarks by the facilitator MR. ELLY KURGAT
He began by taking the participants through the possible causes of violence in the region which included the following;
- Hatred .
- Political incitement.
- Disputes over boundary.
He appealed to the participants to come out strongly and condemn these issues that have over the years threaten to tear apart the very fabric of our unity. He challenged the participants to consider the direct consequences of violence and make a decision on what is really good for them. He outlined the following as the consequences of conflicts;
- Destruction of property.
- Scaring away investors.
- Crippled health care system
- Promotes illiteracy
- Mass displacement of people
“This is the reality that we have been putting in place every time we fight. Therefore before you group up again and castigate a particular community as traitors let’s stop for a while to consider the damage that will have in our society and beyond”. He went ahead to run several video clips on the Centre for Community Dialogue and Development website, www.ccddkenya.org courtesy of Nation Media group which was taken during the aftermath of the violence in February this year. He called on the people to reconsider their stance on the peace issues and make the appropriate decisions.
The forum randomly administered several questionnaires to the 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 problems on their own because of the never ending suspicions.
- The government through the provincial administration should declare the area as a hotspot area especially during the coming elections to ensure that peace reigns supreme.
Several media houses graced the occasion this included;
- Sayare Television
- Kass FM
- Kass Television
- Sayare Radio
- Standard news paper
These media houses moved with speed to relay the issues that were deliberated on during the meeting in their seven o’clock and nine o’clock news bulletins.
The participants however took a swipe on the media houses present, lamenting that their impartiality was questionable. Some debates that take place in some of the radio stations can serve to polarize and promote negative ethnicity, considering that both the luo and the Nandi communities both decipher the two languages therefore if someone calls Ramogi FM or Kass FM today and register a particular concern its upon the journalists to moderate and have sober discussions devoid of a subtle aloof of whatever nature.
The participants were of the opinion that there is need for more intense workshops to capacity built the area residents on avenues through which lasting peace process can be championed.
The participants called on the forum leadership to have projectors in order to promote the effectiveness of the future meetings.
They also called on the Central Government to consider the region as a hotspot area especially during the coming elections to ensure peace prevails.
The area residents from both communities were grateful to CCDD for giving them an opportunity to come together and discuss the way forward. They together pledged that the future elections will indeed be peaceful.
A lady giving her remarks CCDD staff during the session
A cross section of the participants pastor LEL giving his remarks