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Organization advocates for promotion of dialogue to entrench peace

A Non-Governmental Organisation in Kisumu County is advocating for adoption of dialogue to enhance peaceful coexistence among Kenyan communities.

This way voices of the youth, women and children drowned amidst deafening noise especially during electioneering period could be amplified from the grassroots to the national platform.

The Uhuru Community Development Programme (UCDP) Executive Director, Bishop Davies Okombo said such vulnerable groups’ voices have been excluded from the process of peace building yet numerous partners pooled resources for their sensitization.

Bishop Okombo asked development partners including national and county governments to collaborate with the Civil Society in championing the interest and rights of the less privileged in society.

He called for inclusion of all Kenyan communities in order to inculcate a sense of belonging in the two levels of governments where claims of nepotism, tribalism and open biases in recruitment of public servants have persisted.

“It’s ironic for people to feel excluded and so choose to vent their anger through street demonstrations due to inequalities where we have dollar millionaires while others throw their weight around after amassing millions of Kenya shillings yet the citizens go hungry,” he said during a community leaders’ forum held in a Kisumu hotel.

He revealed that UCDP consortium brings together 11 partners working in Western, North Rift and Nyanza region with focus on those who suffered post-election violence since 1992, 2007 and lately 2022.

“We have brought together more than 30 community leaders drawn from Kondele considered to be the epicenter of violence and its environs who have converged at this hotel in Kisumu to promote dialogue and peaceful coexistence with their neighbors within and across borders”, he stated.

Although the National Cohesion Integration Commission (NCIC) and other partners have made huge progress in driving the peace agenda, they still lack the mandate and the wherewithal to deal firmly with conflicts, he argued.

Dr. Okombo said the police on the other hand caused further damage by failing to act on time when such conflicts flared up or watched on the sidelines when the incidents escalated into full scale skirmishes.

He disclosed that the 3rd phase of the Peace Initiative spearheaded by UCDP began in 2008 and after having done technical evaluation of its activities, they can confidently state that the impact has been felt in the violent hotspots like Kondele which has since been transformed into a peace zone.

However, he admitted that the last General Elections rolled back the several positive gains made in relation to promoting peaceful co-existence among local communities, noting that there was still room for more efforts and programs that should be implemented to boost the fight for peace.

“We have different partners who belong to our consortium but each of them has varied approaches. However, we agree on the principle of promoting peace among our people”, he explained.

UCDP has projected that in the next 5 years, the organization will continue working together with local communities to promote peaceful coexistence among the people by working closely with other like-minded stakeholders.

By Joseph Ouma

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