Using Creative Art for Peace Building in Moyale

The drive to Moyale was extremely scenic. The stretch from Marsabit to Moyale was a beautiful stretch of well tarmacked roads and beautiful landscapes. The trip had several police checks which gave a lot of confidence about the security within this region. It was my first time at Moyale and I was looking forward to interacting with the different youths and the general community.

Kenya needs more acceptance, tolerance and coexistence for dialogues to successful happen across the country. For a place like Moyale this is a big step in the right direction.

Moyale sits at the border of Ethiopia. A border that has experienced clashes between different communities in that area. As recent as in March 2018, nine civilians were killed by the Ethiopian National Defense Forces near Moyale after being misidentified. Tensions among the communities is a common occurrence. Driving in to Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Moyale it’s hard to miss the mosque next to it, painting a picture of religious tolerance. Kenya needs more acceptance, tolerance and coexistence for dialogues to successful happen across the country. For a place like Moyale it is taking a big step in the right direction. Moyale is a small and not so small sub county; the town is vibrant with a lot of activity as traders are set up in all corners of the town. Fr. Raymond Muchuka welcomes us to Moyale.

Over 30 interfaith youth gather in a hall at the Catholic Church. The youth talk of ways to enhance their livelihoods, ways that will enable them to be productive members of the society. Being people of a young age they need something that will keep them united and at the same time be able to build them up financially. The youth of Moyale have found a way to tackle the issue of peaceful coexistence between the different religions. They have found the creative art of acting and are using this to engage themselves and at the same time advocate for peace. The youth have come up with a play that talks about living peacefully among the youth community in Moyale.

Sheikh Ahamed Muhidin, interfaith chairman of Moyale talks to the younger generation how religious leaders came together and played a key role in maintaining peace and coexistence in the area. He urged them to emulate the actions of the older generation and congratulated them for the initiative to start an interfaith youth in the area. “Conflicts often raise in Moyale and it is religious leaders who come together to mitigate and hold dialogues to help calm the situations”, said Sheikh Ahamed. One of the aims of interfaith in the community is to maintain peace; they pride themselves as ambassadors of peace building in the community. The interfaith chairman further explains how they move from different mosques and gatherings speaking against radicalization. He asks the young men to find legal ways to progress in life and sustain themselves instead of looking for short cuts to propel them in life. The Sheikh claims that this is what creates avenues for young men to be recruited in to illegal activities.

Among the issues that the youth addressed was lack of opportunities for the young generation, finding ways of working together with different religions to maintain peace and lack of ways or platforms that will keep them busy and engaged. The youth talked about activities that would unite them such as football tournaments, singing, acting and exploring their different talents.

By Mary N. Ndulili

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