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Kibigori Luo Community Forum
26th April 2013

This program is supported by USAID and the people of Kenya. This report was compiled by the Centre for Community Dialogue &Development (CCDD).
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The peace forum was held at Kibigori polytechnic with a good number of participants in attendance. The forum started at 1:30 pm, the area assistant chief Walter Abiero introduced the participants and welcomed everybody to the session emphasizing that the event had come in handy at a time they needed peace in their region.
David Busienei, CCDD coordinator then introduced CCDD officials present while appreciating the role played by the local Administration in the area for supporting  peace initiatives and promoting harmony in the region. He added that conflicts in the area are no secret. “CCDD is well conversant with what has been going on in the region and we are here with the help of USAID to mitigate these conflicts and ensure lasting peace in the area”. He also gave an outline of the previous peace forums in Owiro, Songhor, and Potopoto and mentioned that the main reason for this is to get to know the sources of these conflicts then explore avenues to solve them and forge a way forward in rebuilding the good relationship that the two communities have enjoyed once again. David then welcomed the District officer Mr. Ken Nyamboga who also was in the meeting.
The D.O thanked the participants for their efforts in advocating for peace and avoiding violence. He promised tireless support to Centre for Community Dialogue and Development in their activities and he encouraged the participants to uphold peace and forge ahead in their development activities.
D.O giving his remark
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Rev. Rirei the day’s speaker took a considerable amount of time to set the climate for the day’s event and made the participants ready for the session. He then went straight to the day’s agenda and asked the participants what were the sources of conflicts in the region, the following were their comments.

 

Rev. Rirei and David Busienei during the session

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Samuel Abuto and Dorcas, said that cattle rustling is a serious problem in this area.The Kalenjin and the Luo Communities steal from each other. He blamed politicians from both sides for inciting hate in the region which bring about serious confrontations. 

Dorcas and Samuel Abuto giving their remarks
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Mr. Bakari, the in charge of community policing in the area added that lazy and idle youth is also a root cause of conflicts, because it makes them vulnerable to mischief and thus engage in activities like cattle rustling. Meshack Ochieng also added that the youth are jobless and they take advantage of the situation to steal.
Participants also agreed that poverty is rampant in the region. Collins Akeyo added that when women from their community go in search of casual jobs on the other side, the Kalenjin think their women are stooping low and are desperate. He also blamed it on the unfair employment patterns which he traced back to Moi’s regime where he said Kalenjins had an upper hand in getting employed and that they have good schools, good roads and electricity unlike them. He said these disparities have caused enmity which also causes conflicts.
Collins Akeyo giving his remark
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Joshua, also a participant added that water is the cause of conflict in the area. He said there are individuals who stop water at the source and therefore causing insufficient water supply for the people on the Luo side. Participants also blamed it on lack of pipes and poor drainage which needs to be enhanced to ensure easy flow of water. They also asked the elders to come in and give a hand on this issue and ensure the right thing is done.
“Land is also a major root cause of all violence in the region”, Collins Akeyo said. He emphasized that squabbles on land boundary should be left to the  administration. Participants added that they had been allocated the land they are living in and letters of allocation have been given to them but they have not been issued with title deeds.
Participants also added that cultural difference is another cause of conflict here.
Mr. Ochieng’  said that stereotypes to a large extend have stirred up hate and unnecessary conflicts. Stereotypes like ‘Luo’s anger is short lived’ and ‘Luo’s are not circumcised’ are commonly used to provoke them.
Ochieng’ during the session
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Barrack blamed it on tribalism and ethnicity saying that it had taken root in the society. “People in our region are partisan”. He gave an example where Boda boda operators transport people from their community only.
Barrack giving his remark
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Challenges  

  • Few women attended the forum thus issues affecting them could not be fully represented.

Recommendations

  • Participants collectively agreed that issues with cattle rustling should be dealt with by the administrative police who should be non partisan and ensure that justice prevails.
  • The youth were advised to form youth development groups to enable them source for funds to improve on their livelihoods. They also mentioned that the youth should be involved in peace dialogue meetings so that their views are also taken into consideration as the dynamic environment they live in has many issues affecting them and need to be solved.
  • The area chief Mr. Maurice Otieno Opiyo added that issue on the land boundary should be left to the land commission and IEBC. Collins Akeyo also opined that title deeds should be given to the residents since the land has already been allocated to them.
  • Participants also advocated for joint cross border development projects in order to avoid ethnicity and tribalism. They also asked parents to teach their children from their childhood to shun tribalism and ethnicity. They advocated for intermarriages between the Luos and Kalenjins in the region.
  • The District Officer advised the participants on the need for an exchange program with other communities who once faced such conflicts so as to learn from them how they resolved their issues. He said that it was necessary to look for a platform to engage in reconciliation which he admitted it would be a process upon which to bring the two communities together.

Conclusion
David Busienei appreciated contributions by the participants, the area chief and the D.O. He emphasized that the main aim of these forums is to seek peace with the participants taking the lead.
Mr. Tenai also thanked the participants for being patient throughout the forum and Rev. Rirei for his expertise in handling the session.
The participants were happy to have a platform from where they engaged in sober debates on the way forward for their region guided by peaceful coexistence. They collectively pledged to up hold peace and use the right path in search for justice so as to avoid conflicts which lead to loss of life and property.

Photo view of the day’s events
CCDD facilitators
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