More than 30 women leaders drum up support for peace

A section of Embrace Kenya women in a dance when they toured Kisumu. (Collins Oduor, Standard)
More than 30 women political leaders landed in Kisumu yesterday with a message of peace and reconciliation as they told Kenyans to embrace the handshake pact between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga.

The women legislators under the umbrella initiative 'Team Embrace Kenya', an outfit geared towards healing the rift in Kenya’s political landscape, said the peace pact was the road to change that will restore Kenya on the path to development.

The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) is on a counties’ tour with the agenda of pushing for peace, the President’s Big Four agenda, fight against graft, push for equitable distribution of national resources and development, as well as women and youth empowerment.

Led by Kisumu Woman Representative Rosa Buyu and her Homa Bay counterpart Gladys Wanga, the leaders preached peace as the vehicle through which the country would weather its way out of retrogressive politics.

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The leaders said besides peace and political tranquility, Western Kenya, and especially Kisumu has benefited from the handshake.

In a rally at Kisumu’s Jomo Kenyatta grounds, the leaders said the movement crafted out of the BBI was out to bring Kenyans together for healing and reconciliation as part of wider BBI efforts to end ethnic and political divisions that have in past elections plunged the country into chaos, property destruction, violence, bloodbath and deaths.

Buyu said the visit to Kisumu was significant because the lakeside county was one of the hardest hit during election violence and had gained reputation as a violence hotspot, making it unattractive to new investments and government-sponsored development.

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“We want to make all Kenyans feel they are part of government because that was the aim of Uhuru and Raila when they set aside their differences and shook hands at Harambee House,” Murang'a Woman Representative Sabina Chege said.

The team made earnest pleas to the youth to shun being used by politicians to cause mayhem.

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“I am excited to be in Kisumu and today and I am thrilled to have visited Nyalenda courtesy of the handshake; I would not have been comfortable coming here before the two leaders came together," said Ms Chege.

“We have had political instability characterised by police brutality and crippling protests and this has held us back as a nation. Even the Big Four agenda can only be realised in an environment of stability,” said Isiolo’s Rehema Jaldesa.

Youth and Gender Affairs Administrative Secretary Rachel Shebesh said the initiative was giving flesh to the handshake and the BBI.

“As Jubilee Party and government we are convinced more than ever that we need the handshake and we will not allow anything to scuttle effects of the handshake. We as Team Embrace will ensure we push the agenda,” she said.

Nominated Senator Zipporah Kittony lauded the women initiative saying it was a vehicle towards peace and unity. “We want our country to be admired and with initiatives like this I see light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.

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President Uhuru KenyattaRaila Odingaeam Embrace Kenya