A group of retired soldiers has called upon the government and Azimio la Umoja teams to lower their guard and give dialogue a chance to solve the current political impasse.
Under the umbrella of Kenya Veterans for Peace, the ex-soldiers said the current toxic environment created by the government the opposition might plunge the country into an unnecessary bloodbath.
“What we are appealing is for the two sides to lower their expectations by dropping the so called irreducible minimums. As much as we are calling for dialogue, the same cannot happen in a toxic environment,” said Dr Nelson Sechere, the Executive Director KVP.
The association comprises of retired soldiers drawn from the Kenya Army, Navy and the Kenya Air Force.
According to the association, the current political hard lines if not dealt with immediately, they can spark a fire that will take the country so many days to put off.
The Kenya Veterans for Peace was founded and registered in 2008 through a cabinet resolution following the post election violence that almost sank the country.
In 2022, the association was made part of the Department of Defence (DoD) through the Military Veterans Act 2022.
Their main objective is to compliment government’s efforts with a focus on peace, security and development.
Since then, KVP has a membership of 15,000 retired officers from across the 47 county governments with offices at Nyayo House and DoD.
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What the public should understand is that we are inclined to any political side, we are doing all we can to bring both the president and the former prime minister on the table so that they can talk and listen to one another,” said Sechere.
Speaking on KTN News interview, Sechere said the KVP has secured appointments with both Ruto and Raila next week.
Bishop Robert Bukwa who said with the current situation every Kenyan must purpose to remain peaceful echoed Sechere’s sentiments.
“We are reaching out to all our members to use their expertise and experience to sensitize and create awareness among members of the public on why they must remain peaceful,” Bukwa also an exe-soldier said.
According to him, the government should move swiftly and come up with youthful projects that will the many youth on the streets turn their energy to things that will positively impact the economy.
Samuel Ouko, the national treasurer said the current antigovernment protests will only spark more animosity if not well handled.
“Our policy has always been that the more we sweet in peace, the less we bleed in war and this is why we are making deliberate efforts to bring the two leaders to the table,” said Ouko.
According to him, political allies within the Raila-Ruto circles must be reminded that not everyone can be involved in the process and thus they must stop piling undue pressure on the duo.
“Handshake does not mean that everything will be taken from you, it is just one way of saying come and let us reason together. As we call on a multiagency approach we also reach out to all political players to exercise restraint,” he said.
In a statement last week, KVP said whereas it acknowledges the need to safeguard the right of the opposition to associate, it reads ulterior motive on the part of the weekly protests especially when with the demands against which the demonstrations are organised.
“It is true the cost of living has gone up and life is unbearable for most of Kenyans. It is true most parents are struggling to provide basic needs to their children. It is true many of our businesses are affected and many jobs have been lost and many other employees are on the verge of losing their source of income. But it is also true that this is the time, more than ever before, when the voice of reason must prevail to ensure no further damage is caused to the fragile economy,” Sechere said.
He said Azimio team led by Raila Odinga should instead explore other avenues to air their grievances.