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Peace caravan unveiled ahead of 2017 polls

COUNTIES
By Graham Kajilwa | September 27th 2016

Industrialist Manu Chandaria Monday unveiled a peace initiative ahead of the 2017 General Election.

The initiative, under the auspices of Global Peace Foundation (GPF), of which Dr Chandaria is the country’s patron, aims at preaching peace in a bid to defuse and cool down political temperatures.

Such an initiative in 2012 is said to have led to a peaceful 2013 General Election.

Consequently, the players decided instead of having fragmented initiatives in different organisation settings, it would be better to have one caravan that will be the vehicle for a peaceful 2017 General Election.

“Elections do not just happen to be peaceful. We have to plan and make them peaceful. We do not want to witness another ugly side similar to that of 2008,” said Chandaria.

At the unveiling held in Nairobi Monday, public and private sector players resolved to come up with a clear road map that will incorporate both private and Government agencies responsible for advocating for peace in the country.

Some of the organisations taking part in the initiative are the National Police Service, National Cohesion and Integration Commission, National Counter-terrorism Centre, Brand Kenya, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and Kenya Private Sector Alliance, among others. The Standard Media Group is also a partner in the initiative and was represented by Head of Corporate Affairs Charles Kimathi.

Also, international leaders led by European Union Ambassador Stefano Dejak, German envoy Jutta Frasch, Danish Mette Knudsen and US represented by Randi Michel, pledged total support for the programme.

Michel said the US had already committed some Sh25 billion towards civic education ahead of the 2017 election. EU, on the other hand, has also allocated about Sh800 million to boost IEBC’s capacity to handle elections and advocate for a peaceful voting process among women and youth.

“Contribution must not remain just that but turned into action. If we are not prepared, then let us not get surprised when the time comes,” said Chandaria.

Unfortunate tradition

He added: “ElectionS come and go but we shall remain in this country. Let us think of ourselves as Kenyans first before branding us with any other identities. If we want peace, then all of us have to be responsible for it.”

GPF Executive Director Daniel Juma noted the unfortunate tradition where every time elections approach, the country has to be thrown into panic.

And this time around, he said, memories of 2008 seem to be too faded (compared to 2013) to remind the country of what could recur.

“It is a constitutional requirement that after every five years we hold elections. As a country, we have to grow up. You do not need to kill or get killed just because of an election,” he said.

Mr Juma said it is high time the country built resilient capacities to cushion itself against such unnecessary election fever:” Unfortunately most of the persons being used are young people and evidence is all over social media of the animosity among the main political sides.”

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