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Religious Leaders Lead Political Parties, CSOs and Security Agencies in Signing Of a Peace Accord in Nakuru County

As the country battles to regain a sense of normality from the effects of the pandemic, it is faced with social, economic and political issues particularly as the 2022 General Election approaches. It is the divine mandate of faith leaders to protect the sanctity of life thus calling out for fair, free elections, peace and cohesion among the political class. Religious Leaders are concerned that the political elite has sometimes resorted to hate speech, ethnic polarization and ethnic political mobilization to attain their agenda. The faith leaders in the County of Nakuru like their counterparts in other counties understand well the adverse effects of conflicts and violence.

The constitution of Kenya guarantees everyone the right to live, work and visit any part of the country; and as we approach August 2022 a right to campaign in any part of the country. It is with that Religious Leaders in Nakuru County held a peace caravan. District County Commissioner (DCC) of Nakuru West did the flagging off, of the march at Nakuru Railway Station. Different stakeholders including Religious Leaders, Media, CSOs, Security agencies and political leaders marched through the streets of Nakuru calling for peace before, during and after elections. The march culminated at Nyayo Gardens.

Inter-Religious Council of Kenya through its national and grassroots structures has been calling out for peace and cohesion even as part of the UWIANO Platform. UWIANO Platform for Peace is a conflict preventive strategy that provides space for a wide range of partners, actors, and stakeholders to build synergy and leverage their efforts for conflict prevention and peacebuilding in Kenya. The UWIANO Platform for Peace was established in May 2010 to provide a coordination framework for Electoral Violence Reduction Initiatives in the run-up to the 4th August 2010 constitutional referendum. Alongside other initiatives, it was instrumental in delivering relatively free, credible, inclusive, and peaceful 2013 and 2017 General Elections.

At Nyayo gardens the Nakuru County Governor H.E Lee Kinyanjui and Women Representative Hon. Liza Chelule graced the interfaith led ceremony. Other people who attended included political parties’ representatives, media, Religious Leaders, and security agencies. They all called for peaceful elections in the county.

“Our county is a small Kenya. We have people from diverse backgrounds doing business and coexisting peacefully and this forthcoming election will not interrupt our peace,” – said Hon. Liza Chelule, Women Rep as she addressed the crowds.

“We know some politicians are using gangs to advance interests. Nakuru is cosmopolitan and we will ensure peace prevails during the electioneering period. The signing of the peace accord today is a step towards co-existence of all communities,” noted the DCC Nakuru West.

“A peaceful election is the cornerstone of a sustainable democracy and we must participate in the most fundamental ways,” said Sunguti, Chairperson of Nakuru Interfaith Network.

Religious Leaders including the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya, Executive Director Abdirahman Ismail and the Chairman Nakuru Interfaith network Ronald Sunguti called for peace as people practised their democratic rights.

“A peaceful election is the cornerstone of a sustainable democracy and we must participate in the most fundamental ways,” said Sunguti, Chairperson of Nakuru Interfaith Network.

“This country belongs to all of us and we must remain peaceful even after the elections. We may differ in opinion but let the politicians persuade the electorates peacefully,” urged Abdirahman Ismail

The stakeholders signed a Peace Accord between Religious Leaders, Political Party Leaders, Security Actors, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and the Media; in achieving peaceful coexistence before, during and after the August 9th 2022 General Elections.

The Accord was read by Ronald Sunguti and Abdirahman Ismail:

“We, the undersigned commit to the following:

  1. That no leader or entity will be allowed to incite communities along ethnic lines in Nakuru County;
  2. That grievance of any kind; including during political party primaries and over the outcome of elections, must be addressed through institutions of government, including:
  3. Internal Party Dispute Resolution Mechanisms
  4. Political Parties Disputes Tribunals
  5. Office of the Registrar of Political Parties
  6. The Courts
  7. That any leader or entity who incites violence must be arrested and prosecuted irrespective of their standing in society.
The Charter as presented to the security actors

The stakeholders showed their commitment by signing the charter, which was presented to the security agencies to enforce and hold the leaders accountable.

By Mary Ndulili

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