CENTRE FOR COMMUNITY DIALOGUE AND DEVELOPMENT
OWIRO KALENJIN COMMUNITY FORUM
ON 10TH APRIL, 2013
This program is supported by USAID and the people of Kenya. The report was prepared by the Centre for Community Dialogue and Development.
The meeting commenced at 2: 30 pm on 10th April 2013. The forum was attended by several members of the community who comprised Kalenjins only as was agreed in the previous meeting. The forum started by a word of prayer from Mr. Philip Kosgei a member of the community.
Mr. Bernard Kiptoo Birech , headmaster Ibois SDA primary school started by welcoming the facilitators and the members of Ibois community who had made it to the meeting followed by introducing all members who were present in the forum.
The purpose of the meeting was to engage in a peace dialogue so as to bring a long lasting solution to the underlying issues that are the cause of conflict between the Kalenjin and the Luo living in Owiro and it’s environs.
Rev. Rirei Maritim, the CCDD mediator started off the discussion by engaging the participants in the forum. He posed a question “what do you think is the main causes of conflict here?’’ The participants gave the following reasons:
- Cattle rustling
- Cultural differences
- Inequality in distribution of Government resources e.g. mosquito nets. The members gave an instance whereby their neighbors in Owiro once received mosquito nets while the neighboring community did not receive any.
- The Land problem. This issue surrounds the acquisition and the origin of the name OWIRO as stated by Arap siron. He claimed that the Kalenjins are unhappy with the name change under the circumstances they don’t understand.
- Election politics. Mr. John Maiyo, a participant in the forum said that the enmity between Kalenjin and Luo can be traced back to 1991, during election periods which cause conflicting interests on who to vote for, therefore heightening tension and thus political conflict.
- Hate and greed for resources.
- Lack of respect amongst the members of the two communities.
- Inadequate education amongst the youth and thus unemployment leading to idleness. This explains why cases of Cattle rustling are rampant.
Rev.Rirei appreciated the fact that the participants were open on the challenges they were facing as a community
The following were the reactions and recommendations from the participants;
- Mr. Philip Kosgei argued that there is need for Continuous civic education on the importance of Coexistence .He noted that Organizations only go there when there is a problem.
- Mr. Sing’oei, also said that, if the land issue could be resolved, peace will be achieved
- Mrs. Esther Rotich said that there is need for knowledge and understanding on the underlying issues of the conflict. Education, Christian values and hard work need to be inculcated in the youth mainly to avoid idleness.
(Remarks by Mr. Siron)
- Mr. Siron also a participant said that people need to respect one another.’’ We should understand one another, live together in peace and love to avoid unnecessary squabbles with our neighbors. They should learn to trust and respect us and we reciprocate by doing the same’’
Area assistant chief, Mr .Murei making a remark.
- ‘‘All parents need to encourage their children to embrace education and hard work . Let’s not incite hate among ourselves, we need peace to prevail in the land’’, Area assistant chief Mr. Murei said.
The participants concluded that there’s need to meet with the other party ‘Luo community’ in order to discuss all the issues on conflict. The issue of how to deal with the naming of the area should be concluded.
Mr. David Busienei asked the participants if changing the name of the place will bring peace and the participants agreed it is possible after reaching an understanding with the elders of both sides.
The participants were grateful for what the forum had done in championing for a lasting peace 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 were positive that peace will prevail once the elders from the Kalenjin and the Luo community, come together, and reach a lasting solution.
Rev. Rirei taking the participants through the session.