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Hope as youth take over peace campaigns along volatile Kisumu-Kericho border

By Mactilda Mbenywe and Ignatius Odanga | Published Fri, November 10th 2017 at 00:00, Updated November 9th 2017 at 23:13 GMT +3

A group of youths, musicians, sports personalities and religious leaders have taken over peace campaigns along the volatile Kisumu-Kericho border, after attempts by politicians failed to bear fruit.

The move comes as the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) stepped up efforts to reconcile Kenyans while admitting that the country was divided along tribal lines.

The NCIC is currently holding reconciliation campaigns in cosmopolitan counties to encourage residents to live harmoniously after the controversial October 26 repeat presidential election.

Tension has been brewing on the Kisumu-Nandi border since the recent murder of a 62-year old man. Sugarcane plantations were torched during cross-border clashes between local communities last week that are being blamed on land ownership disputes and politics.

Politicians and Government officials from the two sides have been holding peace rallies but sporadic attacks and threats have persisted. For the past two days, a peace caravan has been criss-crossing parts of Muhoroni and Kericho as the groups preached peace and tolerance among the two warring sides.

Focus Youth Alive Kenya Director Moses Adaghala, who was co-ordinating the campaign, said they were targeting youths, especially boda boda riders, many of whom have been used to fan crime and hostilities across the border.

“The elections spurred hate and division among our people and our mission is to restore peace and unity,” said Mr Adaghala.

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He said boda boda operators had now embraced the peace initiative.

Commissioner Gitile Naituli of NCIC, who has been presiding over meetings attended by youths, women and leaders at a Busia hotel, said there was need for a peaceful society.

“Kenyans are divided because of politics but we cannot let things run out of control. That is why the commission is charged with the responsibility of bringing people together,” said Prof Naituli.

He said although the commission was committed to ensuring peaceful co-existence among Kenyans, dialogue between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga was the key to ending the stalemate.

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