“ONUG” Campaign sets the pace to build community resilience against political tensions in Kenya

The violence that followed the 2007 elections threatened Kenya’s social, economic and political stability. Further mediation by the African Union mediation team lead by Kofi Annan deterred the catastrophe giving Kenyans hope for the future.

The elections that followed in 2013 presented a more complex and challenging situation but were largely peaceful. This was mainly attributed by the efforts and support made by the government, private sector and NGO’s through peace initiatives like the 2013 National Youth Summit that was held in Nairobi. Organized by Brand Kenya Board in collaboration with IGAD and Global Peace Foundation and other partners the summit included a forum on peace and leadership development for 2000 youth from various parts of the country. It was preceded by 8 regional forums that brought young accountable leaders from all the 47 counties.

Consequently, in 2017 Global Peace Foundation has set the pace for other civil society organizations to come together and implement a national peace campaign through a collective impact approach to build resilience among youth against political incitement and violence ahead of the 2017 general elections.  The campaign dabbed “One Nation Under God” will inspire youth to be agents of change and remind them of their responsibility to build this nation. This was agreed during the Muthaiga Luncheon for stakeholders that was held on Monday 26th September, 2016 by Global Peace Foundation Kenya courtesy of Dr. Manu Chandaria. The meeting constituted participation of various government agencies, CSO’s and international organizations. Among them included Brand Kenya Board, IGAD-CEWARN, European Union, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), US Embassy, DANIDA, Sweden Embasy, National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), National Counter terrorism Unit, Administration Service Police and others.

Speaking during the luncheon Dr. Manu Chandaria, patron and chairman of Global Peace Foundation Kenya informed on the importance of running the campaign citing that political tension and negative ethnicity was highly rising in the country.

“We are heading to the 2017 general elections and the political fear is very high. Tribalism is also on the rise. The One Nation under God Campaign is timely and should avert this,” said Dr. Chandaria.

The Executive Director for Global Peace Foundation Kenya, Mr. Daniel Juma highlighted the unfortunate stereotype of tension among Kenyans during elections is passed by time.

It is our constitutional requirement to hold elections after every five years. We need to mature as a country and stop killing each other because of elections,” said Juma ”The One Nation under God Campaign is a platform for our young peace to build resilience against political incitement. Elections will come and go, politicians will come and go but this country will remain,” he added.

In her remarks Ms. Mary Luseka, Ag. Director at Brand Kenya Board emphasized on the need to protect our social fabric to attract investors for economic growth.

We cannot rebuild after every other five years. Kenya has evolved in terms of hardware but there is still need to build our software. We appreciate below the line campaigns like GPF’s that correct us below the raider,” said Ms. Mary Luseka.

Dr. Mark Leleruk from the Administration Service Police expressed his commitment to the program.

“We are ready to work with Civil Society Organizations, in the year 2008 when Kenya was burning we worked with GPF and gave hope to Kenyans,” said Dr. Leleruk, “Elections is an opportunity for us to choose our leaders not to kill each other and divide along ethnic lines” he concluded.

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