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NCIC scales up peace campaigns in Kisumu-Nandi border

National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) has called upon communities along the borders to employ tactics that can aid in countering electoral violence and political intolerance ahead of August Election.

The commission which on Wednesday held a peace sensitisation meeting with the National Government Administration Officers (NGAO) and representatives from the two communities living along Kisumu-Nandi border at a hotel in Nandi Hills, urged them to act as peace ambassadors among their respective communities.

Nandi County is among those areas that have had election related conflicts in the past and therefore one of the areas targeted by NCIC in a bid to ensure peaceful coexistence before and after elections.

Speaking during the forum, NCIC Deputy Director KiIian Nyambu urged residents to refrain from ethnic balkanization as well as zoning of particular regions as exclusive for a specific political party before, during and after the coming polls to avert recurrence of ethnic flare-ups.

Nyambu said that managing election related violence is crucial in order to build a strong democratic and peaceful society for every citizen of this Country adding that residents should guard against election violence as well as report politicians spreading hate speech which is one of the triggers of violence.

“Preaching peace to fellow Kenyans is like doing a self favour. Boundaries are only created for administrative purposes. We are all Kenyans irrespective of our ethnic backgrounds. Let us not entertain politicians using vulgar language or spreading hate speech. As NCIC we want to ensure peace coexists in those areas with preexisting conflicts,” noted Nyambu.

Nyambu further urged residents to be open minded that any coalition can win or lose saying that with peace all Kenyans stand to benefit.

He also called upon church leaders, business community and boda boda riders to be at the forefront on preaching peace at the borders.

Nandi County Commissioner Herman Shambi pointed out that ethnicity and election violence have been a great jeopardy to peace, scaring away investors who greatly contribute to the growth and development of our society thus resulting to increased economic hardship.

Shambi warned residents against spreading baseless messages especially through the social media that can mislead Kenyans.

He also urged residents to build trust on Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) as well as all government institutions saying that this year’s elections will be free and fair.

“Let us gather trust in our government institutions, security task force and even IEBC. It is time we shun ideas and perceptions that are biased. Let us not consume or share everything in social media,” pointed out Shambi.

Nandi County Early Warning and Early Response Coordinator (EWERC), David Busienei who has been in a committee chosen to tackle the Nandi- Luo conflict since 2012, called upon all members present to be administrators of peace and break the cycle of fear that always arise when elections are around the corner.

Busienei added that the residents should be keen in choosing leaders who advocate for peace irrespective of ethnic background.

Other administrators present were Nandi East Deputy County Commissioner, Leonard Mgute, Tinderet Deputy County Commissioner Esther Oyugi and Nandi East Assistant County Commissioner Charity Ashioya.

By Ruth Mainye and Manasseh Mutugi

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