The Government and Non-Governmental Organizations in Garissa have embarked on a sensitization campaign to the locals, on the importance of maintaining peace as the country heads towards the general election.
Garissa based NGOs Woman Kind Kenya and Kesho Alliance, the main organizers of the event, led peaceful processions in Garissa town, along Kismayu road that mostly consisted of the youth.
The procession also included Garissa Deputy County Commissioner Solomon Chesut, area police boss James Ngetich, senior county staff and civil society activist.
The team that started by cleaning up the town later held a football tournament at Garissa Primary School play grounds, between residents and police officers.
Speaking to the press after the football tournament, Chesut said that such interactions with members of the community were important since they go a long way in building mutual level of trust between the government and the citizens.
He said that for security to be at its best in the area, then the input of all stakeholders must be incorporated.
“As security apparatus, we cannot operate in isolation. We have to closely work with members of the public, but most important is that we must first see each other as partners and friends and not enemies,” Chesut said.
“It must also be remembered that we are a border county and as much as our eyes are focused on the threat of Al-Shabaab and external threat, having our youth preoccupied is important, since it reduces the issue of idleness, which often leads them into being lured to join this militia groups,” he added.
Locals have for a long time accused the security agents for being ‘unfriendly’, something they say has contributed to them not availing information on impending threats.
On his part, Osman Yahya from Woman Kind said that NGOs play an integral role in the society and appealed for more cooperation between them and the government agencies.
“We are all agents of peace and we are equally affected, where there is disruption of our normal activities. The youth, who are in most cases used to disrupt peace should be at the forefront in promoting peace. Let’s vote peacefully,” Yahya added.
Abdinoor Ole, the County Director of Special Programs noted that such programs are important in building cohesion and integration among the youth and the security forces.
“This program is so timely considering that we’re now going to the general election. We are requesting our youth that they should not be misused by politicians,” he said.
By Erick Kyalo