State urged to support peace efforts in Mt Elgon
By ROBERT WANYONYI
Efforts by the Church to rehabilitate former members of Sabaot Land Defence Force (SLDF) in Mt Elgon District have stalled.
Kalenjin elders who began a series of peace meetings aimed at bringing former protagonists together have urged the Government to participate in the peace process.
The elders who met at Mabanga Farmers Training Centre in Bungoma County said most youth who were members of the SLDF are willing to be rehabilitated but fear arrest and social rejection.
In a rare show of unity, two former MPs John Serut and Wilberforce Kisiero joined the elders and resolved to work together to promote peace.
However, Mr Serut suggested that the reconciliation efforts be done at the grassroots to involve locals.
"We will be wasting time if we come to congregate here on the pretext of promoting peace yet the real target group is still back in Mt Elgon. Let us hold such workshops in all the four divisions of the area," he said.
Kalenjin Council of Elders Chairman John Seii announced that the elders will partner with the Church, Government and other non-governmental organisations to spearhead peace efforts.
"We are urging for more funding of forums aimed at bringing peace and rehabilitation victims. We need to give the residents a fresh beginning," urged Seii. He said the three-day forum that brings together elders from the Sabiny, Koony, Bok, Somek, Bongomek and Ndorobo clans and the neighbouring Bukusu will listen to testimonies from 500 former SLDF members.
The convener, Peace and Rights Programme Co-ordinator Festus Mukoya, said the workshop is aimed at equipping participants with better conflict resolution skills to minimise human rights abuses.
Mr Mukoya said more than 450 former SLDF members have been rehabilitated.
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