Monday, February 11, 2008

Follow-up To Naivasha Negotiations

More good news!
The Nairobi team headed to Naivasha on a follow-up trip which yielded positive results and those involved have agreed to take more giant steps towards a peaceful coexistence and expeditiously get the IDPs back home.
There is a definite commitment to solving the immediate problems and that can only lead to a final resolution. It's hoped that the obviously absent local and national leaders will cease their squabbling and serve their employers i.e. wananchi. They must follow Rachel and her team's lead and deal with the looming health crisis at the IDP camps.

Rachel reports as follows.

Trip To Naivasha

The Naivasha meeting was very positive with a team of 5 visiting the area, the acknowledgement and confirmation of all the promises were done after the introduction of the group which was gender sensitive. (unblocking the roads and the press release)\

Team from Nairobi
  1. Rachel Wambui Kungu 0721626389
  2. Kennedy Owino 0723568251
  3. Lawrence Wachira 0727416042
  4. Perpetua Warutere 0720737693
  5. David Mutua 0720462559

the issues were
  • Repatriation of the idps to their home area
  • discussion with the landlords for house renovation and acceptance of the other communities.
  • unemployment
  • youth empowerment
  • formation of a grassroot peace intiative for the youth.
It was noted with concern that the youth in Naivasha wish the idps in the prison to be taken back to there home area which is also the case to the community at the prisons. thay proposed that a fundraising to be organised in order to ferry the affected to there homes, and those in the prison to also contribute as a sign they are open to go back home and the Naivasha youth will organise for there transport. they also requested that those who are concerned opposition and the government to also look into it.

Reason for repatriation
  • The IDPS wish to go back to there homes now
  • the camps sanitaion are at risk and causing health hazard and they fear there might disease outbreak which could also spread to the community
  • that they go and be educated that owning a property is a right to all Kenyans and that it is owned through hardwork and not b taking it by force
  • that they go home where they will find justice since they say they want justice which is not available in Naivasha etc
The youth said they will in return be preparing the landlords to receive the community when they come back to Naivasha after education, and the landlords will have time to renovate there houses which were either burnt or windows broken or doors removed.

They also spoke of youth empowerment and in that regard requested for Naivasha youth for peace identity which is tshirts with the messages they are goingto develop for peace to be printed by one of the youth group in Naivasha which does that for an income generating activities.

the youth agreed to form a Naivasha youth peace initiative group and they selected the people who will take care of the registration of the same group and come up with a name. That is good achievement as a campaign we always carry through of group formation at the grassroot level.

The Naivasha youth agreed for a dialogue and we proposed a teleconferencing which will not be expensive and the team agreed that we send a proposal to Safaricom limited with the request for airtime and some financial assistance to make the teleconferencing a reality soon. then we shall contact Safaricom Foundation for the Peace Caravan which will be an evaluation and monitoring tool for the grassroot peace initiatives taking place in different areas.


The Naivasha Youth agreed on the idea of a peace centre and said the group they are registering would like to have a meeting point where they can be using as peace advocates in Naivasha and youth empowerment. the two or their representatives will avail there email addresses so that they can be available for online discussions. they are:
1. Sammy
2. Ciru 0721 332528 also a victim of the violence but this time a leader

Again, Rachel and her team are on the ground taking risks and working tirelessly towards patching together our torn nation. Readers, please help in any way you can and you can be sure that your gifts will be reciprocated with blessings.
The most important thing is to give them any kind of encouragement to keep up the good fight through phone calls and emails plus any kind of financial support will not hurt either.
Communication between team members and with the Naivasha youth is paramount so airtime donations are invaluable to the peace initiative and it's sustenance.

Thank you and I will post updates as they come.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Rachel Kungu - Guardian of Peace

I was directed to where I found a great story about a Kenyan lady who has shown remarkable bravery, gallant effort and commitment to bringing an end to the violence where elected officials have failed. Her name is Rachel Wambui Kungu; our inaugural guardian of peace. Please read on as reported by Andrius Kulikauskas on January 30th.

Rachel Wambui Kungu +254 721 626 389 is back in Nairobi, Kenya after a day that transformed the name Mungikis from a curse to a blessing. Her team met with key leaders of the Mungikis in Naivasha. They have given their names and phone numbers to participate in the Pyramid of Peace and to engage the violent Mungikis who have moved onward to Nairobi. They agreed to remove the road blocks for the next seven days. They will organize a large meeting in two days or so to meet with leaders from the Catholic church and with the local head of the police.

Afterwards, they wish to meet with the Kalenjins for dialogue. They are ready for a permanent peace upon three reasonable conditions:
1) that Kalenjins and others stop fighting and free the roads as well,
2) that the opposition leaders tell their people to stop fighting,
3) that the youth be involved in the decisions affecting them.

Rachel and her team of Kikuyu peacemakers from Nairobi arrived in Naivasha at 11:30 am by public transportation. The morning was tense, but all went well in Naivasha. Their local contacts told the women not to wear their jeans, but rather to buy some scarfs and kangas (dresses), which they did. This is so that they would not be confused with men from a distance, and not be perceived as a threat. Soon they were talking with the local youth, and afterwards with the real Mungikis, a clique known for their violentness.
They had a very productive conversation as I described above. They spoke with more than thirty people, many of whom were key Mungiki leaders, and received excellent cooperation. They agreed that they would each speak further with five or ten people and invite them all for the great public meeting they will organize in the next two days along with Rachel and her team. They do not want to deal yet with the police in the area because they accuse them of much harm to their people, including their women, but at the meeting they will invite the local head of the police. They have confirmed their intent by providing their names and numbers to post publicly in our Pyramid of Peace.

Should the seven day calm hold,[WE HOPE IT WILL] they are very keen to work for peace. They want education on how the youth of different tribes can live together. They will engage those who have been displaced and give them hope that they may come back and live in harmony. They ask for counseling for their trauma. They wish for economic development so they might start their own businesses, for unemployed they are vulnerable to recruitment as thugs.

Donations are very helpful now because Rachel's team and others in our Pyramid of Peace can buy airtime which the Naivasha Mungikis agree is not to call their friends, but rather to engage the violent Mungikis who have moved on to Nairobi. Certainly, they can be that much more effective if they have their own cell phones ($100 each) rather than using their mother's. Likewise, Rachel needs a laptop (new $800 or used $500) so that she can write reports. A newspaper advertisement declaring the agreement would have national impact for a few hundred dollars. Our giving hearts will bind us together in ways that can't be undone.
Visitors, have your say and join in honoring Rachel.
I think this lady [and others like her] is a godsend and I hope that the Mungiki 'ceasefire' will hold up. All the best.

Rachel, we all honor you for your efforts in guarding the peace.

Thank you

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Second Heart Still Beats...

Each day that passes with Kenya in it's current state is a day too many for Kenyan's to endure.
Kenyan's who believe in and have enjoyed the relative peace, who harbored no ill will against their neighbors have been betrayed by their government, friends, neighbors and even family.

The government remains broken as the country fragments further; their questionably received mandate has been put to absolutely no use. The opposition is not saying or doing much either. Calls of peace are few and are simply formalities that don't resonate far enough to be heard. It would seem as if there's nothing good to report out of Kenya because 'bad news tv' makes sure of it. If we believe that peace is newsworthy, we must make it so.

The way information filters from Kenya through the international outlets has delivered mostly a pervading state of death, destruction, gloom and doom. There's no denying that the aforementioned is true, but we also have to acknowledge the humanity amid all of it. The whole truth needs to be told as it is on a day to day basis.

People need to hear of all the good deeds of ordinary Kenyans; people who have been expected to be engage in senseless murder and destruction along with equally gruesome counteroffensives due to their different tribes.
It's time to get an affirmation from all media outlets, that an uncounted many have maintained their sanity at this critical juncture and defied the perceived truism in the Kenyan situation.
Most news stories and footage to date have depicted scenes of destruction and truly hateful activity.
Everybody is not killing everybody; it's not that black and white. I'd like to have a repository for information about people who love Kenya and have done nothing to destroy it or the lives of fellow citizens.

Where are the stories of selfless Kenyans who have risked it all to save others? Where are the stories of sacrifice and brotherhood? How can we get the media to provide a sustained stream of Kenya's peaceful side and what they've achieved during this madness? Shouldn't we do it ourselves?

Many internet blogs hosted by Kenyans have been allowed to become disgusting cesspools where hatemongers, bigots and the rest of the bottom-feeding crowd have found each other to celebrate the demise of fellow Kenyans as they spew their venomous rhetoric.

Kenyans on the ground should share their stories [via email, sms, blogs, word of mouth and unbiased news outlets] of how they've risen above the insanity or tell stories of others who have done the same. Kenya's other heart, the good heart, still beats and we would like to feel it's pulse.
Thank you and be safe.