Saba Saba 2014 Resolutions

R. Muko.

The Saba Saba day celebrations were finally held at the Uhuru Park. The celebrations were attended by thousands of Kenyans.

Speaker after speaker reminded the government to exercize a sense of justice in the allocation of resources and also in addressing the welfare of all its citizens.

The Saba Saba Celebrations had been given negative publicity by nearly all the media houses in the country. They had also been painted as a pretext for fuelling violence by the Jubilee Coalition.

Saba Saba is a day of great significance to Kenya. It is a day to be celebrated by both those in the echelons of power and those in the opposition. It symbolizes a great day of dialogue accross the political divide. The fact that the government opted not to dialogue by the opposition has painted it in bad light.

Well, as Kenyans we had been treated to tensions of how scary this day would be, only for it to turn to be very peaceful. Hongera CORD for such a grand day.

At the end of the celebrations the following list of resolutions were promulgated by the Coalition of Reform and Democracy (CORD):

1. We launch today OKOA KENYA, a people’s movement to defend our Constitution, support one another in good and bad times, protect the gains we have made in democratic governance, and rededicate ourselves to national unity and peaceful co-existence. See also: CORD leaders don’t have clean hands

2. Demand that the Jubilee administration addresses the escalating cost of living by reviewing the taxation regime; failing which we will boycott the consumption of goods and services whose prices are beyond the reach of the common Mwananchi and commence commercial sanctions against companies which continue to ignore our plight.

3. Convene an all-inclusive National Referendum Committee (NRC) for the purpose of preparing the people of Kenya for a national referendum on the critical challenges facing our Nation.

4. Mandate the National Referendum Committee to ensure the maximum participation of the people of Kenya in the referendum at the County, Sub-County and Ward levels all over Kenya; in formulating the referendum question(s), collecting and collating one million signatures to initiate the referendum.

5. Having lost all confidence in the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC); donow demand its immediate disbandment and the establishment of a new electoral body.

6. Demand the immediate end to corruption, wasteful spending, reckless borrowing within and by Jubilee Government. In this regard, we demand that the Jubilee administrationimmediately cancels the inflated security camera contract irregularly awarded to Safaricom and that Safaricom withdraws from the contracts and subjects itself to competitive bidding, failing which we will commence commercial sanctions on Safaricom and other companies abetting corruption or engaging in monopolistic practices.

7. Demand that the Jubilee administration takes immediate steps to withdraw our gallant soldiers from Somalia to join our forces in securing our nation from home.

8. Demand that the Jubilee administration takes visible, decisive action to deal with runaway insecurity, including holding the senior security officials accountable for hundreds of Kenyans who have been killed and maimed in the various attacks and conflicts across the country.

9. Reject attempts by the Executive through Parliament to bastardise the Report of the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC Report) and demand the immediate implementation of the original and unadulterated Report.

10. Demand that the Jubilee administration immediately addressesthe underlying land issues that are at the heart of some of the most enduring historical injustices and conflicts in our society.

11. Demand a National Audit and publication by the Public Service Commission of all appointments made in the public service by the Jubilee administration, with full details listing names, ethnic backgrounds and percentages.

12. Recognizing that the Jubilee administration has failed to apply national resources equitably across the country, we demand that 40 per centum of the projected ordinary revenue of the current fiscal year be allocated to the County Governments.

13. Demand that a National Audit on how resources at the disposal of the National Jubilee administration are applied across the country

Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2000127331/cord-s-resolutions-during-saba-saba-rally

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Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) Training

By Martin Ndichu

The training on Human Rights Based Approach was held on 26th June 2014 at Maisha Poa Centre in Kawangware. It was conducted by Consolation East Africa and was supported by Mensen met een Missie. In attendance were representatives of various institutions working in area of Governance and community organization. Institutions present were Community Based Organizations (CBOs), and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) based and working in the larger Nairobi County. These organizations address different community concerns including Gender Based Violence, Environmental conservation, Education, Peace and Justice among others.

In the training were government representatives, these included the Ministry of Planning and devolution, Uwezo Fund Dagorreti South and the Police Administration. For one reason or the other, some of the invited government institutions were unable to attend. The training was aimed at enhancing Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) in governance and community organization and also offer a platform for the members of the public to engage with the service providers. Millicent Agutu facilitated the introduction of the HRBA concept including the historical background of human rights and their characteristics. Bridged Faida facilitated the classification of Human Rights and Human Rights Instruments. Martin Ndichu led the participants to explore the Bill of Rights in the Kenyan Constitution while Josephat Khamasi highlighted the different commissions concerned with Human Rights and which are legislated by the parliament.

In welcoming the participants the project officer commended the gender representation which is one component provided for in the Kenyan Constitution and also a vital tenet in HRBA. She pointed out that the training would have a special focus on the Constitution as a governance instrument. She led the participants to understand the HRBA concept covering topics such the definition of HRBA, its importance and principles as well as the values of HRBA. She also explored Human rights definition, historical development, characteristics and their importance. Participants also discussed the responsibilities that come with different rights. The participants were made to understand that rights go hand in hand with responsibilities. Also noted is the fact that Human Rights have limitation and their validity may vary from one region to the other depending on the constitution, culture and practices.

Bridged Faida introduced the second session, this session dwelt on exploring the classification of Human Rights and the Human Rights Instruments. She led the participants to understand the classification of human rights which included Civic and Political Rights, Social, economic and Cultural Rights and Collective or group rights. The participants were made aware that all human rights are contained in the three categories of rights. She also led the participants to understand the Human Rights Instruments, this include the Regional and the International instruments. These instruments are also known as treaties and which are formal agreements between 2 or more states. Some of the treaties highlighted as international instruments include the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR, 1976), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR 1976).

Participants were led to understand that some treaties focus specifically on particular types of violations and these include; The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1951), the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD, 1969), The Convention Against Torture and other in human or degrading treatment or punishment (CAT 1987). Other treaties were particular groups of people such as The Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (CSR, 1954), The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC 1990), The UN Declaration on Rights of Older Persons (1991), The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC, 2002), The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their families (CPRMW, 2003), The UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous People (2007), Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD, 2008) and International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance (2010)
The participants were led to understand that we also have regional instruments or treaties that also seek to uphold human dignity. These treaties include; the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (African Charter, 1986, The African on the Rights and Welfare of the Child Charter (ACRWC, 1999), The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Human Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (African Women’s Protocol, 2005), the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (2006), the African Union Convention for Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Person in Africa (Kampala Convention, 2009) and The African Youth Charter (AYC, 2009)
The facilitator led the participants to understand that both the regional and international treaties are only applicable in those countries that are parties to them. This means that the provisions of a particular treaty are only effective in a country that has signed in agreement with the treaty. The participants were also made to understand that once a country signs such a treaty, the provisions contained herein are embraced as laws in that country and the state is required to submit reports to the supervisory committee on progress in domestic implementation of treaty obligations.

The third sessions sought to explore the fundamental rights and freedoms as outlined in the Constitution of Kenya 2010. Facilitated by Martin Ndichu, participants were led through the Bill of Rights that highlights the fundamental rights and freedoms. These rights and freedoms are contained in Article 29 to Article 57 of the Kenyan Constitution. It includes a definition of the rights and also defines limitations on the rights and freedoms. Participants discussed how successful the bill of rights was in terms of implementation, it emerged that some provision in the Bill of Rights were not clearly defined hence may have loop holes.

Article 59 of the constitution establishes the Kenya National Human Rights and Equality Commission to promote respect for human rights, gender equality and promote the protection and observance of human rights in public and private institutions. The facilitator, Josephat Khamasi led the participants to understand the role of Human Rights Commission. The participants were led to understand that these commissions are established by the constitution and that the parliament is empowered to restructure the Human Rights Commission into two or more commission. Consequent to this, the parliament enacted The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights Act, The National Gender and Equality Commission Act and The Commission on Administrative Justice Act as independent commissions to pursue different functions.
The participants were led to understand the functions of the different commissions and some of the accomplishment that have been made by individual commission. Though independent to each other, the participants were made aware that these commissions at some point undertake their functions together.

In earlier activities, Consolation East Africa had involved with some of the community organizations to pursue HRBA in community organizations. Representatives from these organizations were given chance to share on how they had applied HRBA in their activities. Mrs. Betty Hamud representing Westlands Peace, Gender and Development Organization reported that her organization had strived to exercise gender sensitivity in their programs. The organization has also led advocacy for protection of women from gender based violence, their efforts have seen them establish a gender violence response centre in Westlands. Their active participation has seen them receive recognition by the administration in the area.

Another beneficially of CEA trainings Mr. Timothy Odongo representing Riruta Environmental Group (REG) reported that his organization had strived to uphold the right of each individual to live in a clean environment. He emphasized on the need to conserve the environment and held that through their environmental conservation endeavors they have afforded the community a chance to live in dignity. Mr Richard Karanja of Kangemi Gender Based Violence and Peace Working Group reported that their participation and engagement with the administration Police in Kangemi area of Nairobi in addressing the issues affecting them has seen an improvement in the level of security and development.

Lillian Achieng’ a teacher at Vigil School was also a beneficiary of past activities by CEA. As a result of the lessons learnt through these activities, they have been able to adopt better management as well as humane practices in helping the children in education. For instance, as a school they have ensured that all their children enjoy their freedom of religion by setting aside time for prayers for the different religions that the children belong; these include Muslims, Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) and Christians. They have also included in their program home visits for their children who show signs of distress. This way they have maintained a close relationship with their children and parents and have also been involving them in setting the strategic plans for the school.

As part of program, there was a briefing from government representatives on the available government services. Mr. Kayaga from the Ministry of planning and Devolution and Mr. Nyaga from the Uwezo Fund Committee Ng’ando Ward briefed the participants on the services available. He pointed out the Kenya Youth Empowerment Program (KYEP) a project that is supported by World Bank and partners with the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) in a bid to empower mainly the young people age 18 to 29 years by equipping them with life skills, Co-business skills and internship opportunity to increase their employability. They also pointed out other financial supports including the Youth Enterprise Fund, Women Enterprise Fund and the Uwezo fund. They went ahead to explain the requirement to receive such funds.

Participants discussed other funds that were within their knowledge, from the discussion funds such as the Cash transfer for the aged, disability fund and the street children rehabilitation funds were identified. Participants working in areas funded by these funds or requiring such funds, were encouraged to find more information on the requirement for accessing such funds by visiting/consulting with institutions that are tasked to manage these funds.

There was an expectation that this session would offer more opportunity for the public to engage with their leaders but as noted earlier most of them were not able to attend hence other sectors of the administration were unrepresented. This include the police, the Chief, the Member of the County Assembly, Member of parliament Dagorreti, the District Commissioner among others.

After the training, participants expressed gratitude in the training and encouraged that each of the individual organizations represented should strive to incorporate HRBA in their activities. They also required that the participants present share the information they got with others not present and also in their organizations. By so doing the participants expressed confidence that they would popularize the practice and have better organizations.

Participants further suggested some activities that could be carried out in future on the same area. These activities include; Organize HBRA trainings for Community Based Organizations, Self help and youth groups existing in the different areas represented by the organizations present in the training. Organize exchange visits for organization for collective learning, organize training on Children Rights in schools, convene a forum for people with disability and also organize forums that analyze the underrepresented issue to be presented to the media and leaders.

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Riruta Community-Administration Forum

By

Millicent Agutu

Riruta sports fraternity is an association of youngsters, resident of Riruta Location in Dagoretti South sub-county. The youngsters draw from different outdoor and indoor sports in two levels; Provincial League and Academy. This association comprises of different sports groups including RISA, Amani Yassets, Makarios, Amazing Grace and Kianda. The association together with Dagoretti South administration held an open forum to deliberate on eminent societal issues affecting the young people. Two main agendas were highlighted, these being insecurity and development opportunities. There was a concern from the youths in attendance on the access of government funds and services such as Youth fund, Uwezo fund, Njaa Marufuku and Cash Transfers for OVC’s.

Among those in attendance were CBO’s, FBO’s and NGO’s like KARDS, Comprehensive Diverse Initiative (CDI) Kivuli Centre workshop, Plan International, Consolation East Africa, Maiden Hope, Kivuli Youth Group, DYSAE Youth Group and YEEP among other non-governmental actors.

The occasion was graced by government officials from Dagoretti Constituency i.e. Riruta Chief Mr. James Ndichu and his Assistant Mr. Rhuphas Mwangi, the Chief Kawangware Location Mr. Chege and his assistant and Assistant Chief Kabiro. Also in attendance was the Police Inspector Kawangware Mr. David Langat, police officers stationed at satellite police station, CDF County Youth Representative Officer Mr. Kabera, and Dagoretti Uwezo Fund Committee member Mr. Nyaga. Other institutions represented were; Ministry of Education, Ministry of Devolution and Planning and Dagoretti District Development Office.

The representatives of the groups lamented on the issue of exploitation of young people in sports by individuals who only serve to satisfy their own interest through the talents of these young people. They requested the administration to provide an enabling environment for the youth and their coaches to fully exploit the potential existing in sports. They pointed out that getting the youth fully engage will reduce the chances of individuals in the society using them to cause chaos and commit crimes.

Drugs; This session started with one of the coaches sharing reason for man’s creation on the six day, which was to manage Gods issues. But because of identity, we create problem for ourselves and others; This was just to infuse the minds of the youth on reasons to why some of them engage in drug use. This brought about the questions of i) How do we address issue of identity ii) How will we do it? iii) How does the drug use help you?( As an individual, team and community). The topic will be fully discussed in a future date in order to come up with action plan.

Public amenities especially the in areas of sports which mainly incorporate playing grounds and sports academies lack in this area of Riruta and those available are in bad shape. In this area for example there are only two play grounds Kinyanjui Technical and Kawangware ground which are commonly used for football leaving no space for any other type of sport. There was therefore a proposal that the administration and well wishers to look into ways of providing space for other sports including; basket ball, tennis ball and other forms of talents i.e. music and arts.
These facilities should be safe enough to enable both male and female to participate in the trainings. The facilities should also assure security of the participants including the young children in the academy and thus should not expose them to bodily harm or material loss. The association representative urged the citizen and administration to further development of sports through the collaborative efforts.

On the issue of development opportunities available for the youth, it was noted that sports present valuable opportunities for the youth to engage meaningfully in the society. There also exist other government opportunities for the young people to further their innovative ideas for self sustainability. To access these funds however, the young people were advised to form groups either youthful or community based groups and come up with development and business ideas to assist themselves. The administration emphasized on the need to involve both gender in the groups as this was a requirement by the constitution. They also advised the young people to link the administration with members of the community who qualify for the cash transfer fund that is aimed at assisting the OVCs in care of poor guardians. The fund also supports old members in the society who do not have any immediate support from their children.

The forum also addressed the many cases emanating from insecurity in this area. It emerged that the young people are prone to engage in crime since they are mostly idle due to joblessness yet they need to provide themselves with the basic needs. It was argued that engaging the young people in sports would act to reduce the chances of these young people engaging in deviant acts. The forum highlighted factors contributing to insecurity and noted the following;

• Lighting system – The lighting system within Riruta is very poor and as such the thugs take advantage of the dark streets and corners to continue mugging citizen. It was therefore proposed that the administration provide street lighting to address this.
• Unemployment – Lack of employment has forced many young people to engage in crime in search for livelihoods and thus there is need to offer more opportunity to these young people.
• Poverty – Poverty levels in the society have risen thus calling for a need to put up more measures to help the young people make a living.
• Infrastructure – poor state of infrastructure especially the roads have left the citizen prone to highjack as the culprits take advantage of the fact that cars drive slowly in damaged roads and also during the rainy period. There was therefore a need to improve the state of the roads.
• Communication – There lacks a free and prompt communication between the citizen and the security providers hence delay in communicating emergency cases. It was suggested that there be employed a mechanism that the citizen can promptly contact the security personnel in case of such occurrences.
• Corruption – Corruption was highlighted as a major challenge both in the administration and the community which is a major block in getting justice. There is need therefore to institute measures to fight corruption cases.
• Distance from one police post to the other – Distance from police posts inhibit timely response to emergency situations. There is need therefore equip the police with facilities such as vehicles in good condition to enable them make to the scenes with ease.
• Relationship between the police and citizens – There is need to improve the relationship of the police and the citizen for there to be a free interaction and information sharing.
• Responsibilities and roles of citizens – There is a need for the Citizens to actively participate community forums that are geared towards addressing issues affecting them. It was noted that most strategies employed by the authority to curb insecurity were met with a negative reception despite the efforts by the authority to have the citizens involved in making the decisions.

Radicalization of Youth in Mombasa, Kenya – Quo Vadis?

By: Paul Adhoch – Trace Kenya*

The first cases of Kenyan youth radicalization, recruitment and trafficking for militia and Al-Shabaab fighting in Somalia was reported in 2006 by civil society organizations in Mombasa and Nairobi. Some places in Mombasa and Nairobi formed the foci of these activities. With time these radicalization activities took root in the country. At that time the government of Kenya took a dim view of the Civil Society Organizations reports and dismissed them as “mere propaganda and alarmist”. There were vehement denials across the country concerning such recruitments. Four years later, the government acknowledged the fact that youth were actually being recruited for terrorist activities generally; in Al-Shabaab and have also been convicted for partaking in the terrorist activities. A number of youth are now serving lengthy jail terms for being members of terrorist groups.

In October 2011, the government of Kenya sent the military (Kenya Defense Forces) to Somalia to fight Al-Shabaab and to support the international community on war on terror. Even then the government acknowledged that this was an uphill task with the assistant minister for internal security Mr. Orwa Ojode (RIP) claiming that the terror group had its tail in Somalia and its head in Eastleigh. A year later, Kismayu, an Al-Shabaab strongpoint was captured.
The military (KDF), is still in Somalia to-date with “no exit plan” according to the Cabinet Secretary on Defence Ms Rachel Omamo. The presence of the KDF in Somalia seemed to have increased local soft target terrorist activities in Kenya best witnessed in the Westgate Mall attack last year. There have been numerous soft target attacks including churches, restaurants, and public transport mainly in Nairobi, Mombasa, Garissa and Mandera cities. These are considered as revenge attacks as a result of KDF activities in Somalia. Other countries except Uganda with a similar military expedition in Somalia have not faced similar attacks. One may ask why the Al-Shabaab revenge attacks have been severe in Kenya? It is a fact too that Ethiopia has a large contingent of its defense forces in Somalia, yet they are not subject to same severity despite their proximity to Somalia.

Part of the answer lies in the fact that i. unlike her neighbours, Uganda, and Burundi except Ethiopia, Kenya has a large border with Somalia. ii. Kenyan and Somali citizens, have also intermarried and live mainly in the four cities in Kenya that have suffered the brunt of attacks. iii. There is a huge population of refugees. Urban refugees are resident mainly in Nairobi and Mombasa. iv. There are also indications that the terror group has its sympathizers in the country. v. Kenya is also seen as a strategic ally of the western countries hence attacking it sends a strong message globally.

In seeking to address the above concerns, the Kenya government has initiated a concerted effort to flush out illegal immigrants living in Mombasa and Nairobi. This effort was started in the early weeks of April 2014. The effort has elicited opposition by several citizens who see it as harassment of innocent citizens. The condemnation has been extended to the fact that house searches are undertaken without warrants and the fact that one ethnic group is being targeted. This has made the Kenyans of Somali origin to live in fear. On the other hand a number of citizens are supportive of these swoops – as a result of the recent terror activities. They also claim that criminals have also come to the limelight as a result of the swoops.

The government has also since March 2014 i. ordered the return of all Somali refugees from Daadab Camp – the largest of the camps, back to Somalia. This has equally met some resistance from some local and international humanitarian organizations who wish to have a structured and secure return for the refugees. ii. Some members of the Kenyan parliament have insisted that the camp be re-located into Somalia territory, from whence the refugees can find their way to their respective homes in Somalia.

While the above approaches may reach some success as far as dealing with external terrorists is concerned, dealing with home grown terrorism is more difficult. The philosophy of terror groups lies in promoting radical ways to address issues. These groups have also radicalized youth to violently eject Imams not buying into radical philosophies, destroy churches, actively and violently demonstrate against the state and display intolerance to “non-believers”. Terror activities have a potential of undermining the stability of Islam in the coastal region and Kenya in general. They also present a possible route to sectarian violence such as that witnessed in Nigeria through Boko Haram. Matters are not made any better by the fact that many youth in this category are of modest formal education.

Radicalism poisons young people who are later trafficked to be trained to undertake terrorist activities. Some leading Islamic scholars have called for re-education of the youthful terrorist returnees. They have also called for deepening of scholarship to Imams so as to counsel and guide the youth on the true meaning of the term “jihad”. In 2013, 160 Muslims scholars declared a fatwa (decree) on Al-Shabaab in Mogadishu. They will congregate again later in 2014 to evaluate the progress of the decree. It would also be important for these leaders to think of different measures to dissolve radicalization and start a gradual process of rehabilitating, reintegrating and educating those finding themselves in terror acts. They should also think of permanent preventative activities.
In the meantime, the government of Kenya must of necessity, ensure that population harmed by terror activities do not grow their own fundamentalists’ groups as a result of anger. Continuous prevention is a must. The police and all concerned should continue strengthening security at all times. It is important however that human rights are respected in all process. Secondly, there is need for proper reintegration and reabsorption of the former terrorist youth through trauma and psychological accompaniment be they in the prisons or elsewhere.

*The writer is the Director of Trace Kenya. Trace Kenya is a counter trafficking in persons NGO based in Mombasa, Kenya.

Mediation between two farmers having a border dispute (Alternative Dispute Resolution)

R. Muko.
True stories of successful alternative dispute resolutions in the Abyei Community collected from AHRS in Sudan. Difficult environments such as Abyei in most cases have undeveloped justice systems hence the local structures (family, church, friends etc) do play a great role in conflict situations. A case of a land dispute is presented below.

Two farming neighbours Fadi and Adamo bordering each other were involved in land border dispute. According to Fadi, Adamo had encroached in to the side of Fadi as a result of his farming activities. Fadi in order to find a solution to the problem approached Adamo to discuss this issue. Adamo on his part was insistent that he had farmed on what was rightfully his farm.
Fadi and Adamo in time experienced a stalemate in their discussions. Fadi then decided to seek the assistance of Jose to help them sort out their stalemate. The first thing after listening to them, Jose advised them to pursue non-violent means to solving their issue. He then accompanied them to their farm and found that it was true that the border had truly been interfered with and it was not there.
Jose then asked Fadi “up to which point does your land extend?”
Fadi pointed to a place that was immediately disputed by Adamo. “That is inside my farm!” claimed Adamo.
Jose then asked Adamo the same question he also pointed saying “my farm extends from here to there”. Fadi on his part retorted “lier, your farm does not extend that far. You are trying to steal my farm! Please desist from pointing inside my farm.”
At this point Jose realized that that the issue was becoming very complex, as both disputants were claiming a right on what could have been rightfully someone else’s farm. At this point he decided to adjourn the meeting promising the two parties that he would communicate with them after he had consulted.
Jose decided to seek for advice from his church. It also happened that Fadi and Adamo were also congregants at this church. After deep consultations, he was advised to call both Fadi and Adamo. They obliged and narrated their stories infront of a church committee created to help them solve their dispute. The committee then chose a member of their church Nekesa to assist Jose in finding a solution to among Fadi and Adamo.
The two representative church committee members after this first sitting decided to visit the farm under dispute. They examined the two farms and truly found out that there was no clear demarcation. Both Fadi and Adamo were claiming that the other had encroached into his farm.
After some long discussion it became apparent that both Fadi and Adamo had planted sorghum but they separately had planted breeds of different colors. With this information in mind the two mediators Jose and Nekesa suggested that it was not possible to solve the dispute until the sorghum matures. This suggestion was agreed by the two disputants. After the sorghum had matured, the two disputants Fadi and Adamo approached their mediators Nekesa and Jose and converged to solve the border problem.
Nekesa told Jose “Hey Jose look here there is a mixture of red and yellow sorghum in this section of the land.”
“Yes, yes, I see and I think that the solution to our problem lies in this section.” Said Jose. Turning to the disputants he told them “This is the portion where the mixture of sorghums is. Having listened to your submissions, and according to our observations let us work on finding a solution.”
The two disputants Fadi and Adamo also agreed unanimously that the border was passing around that area. The four both the disputants and the mediators then determined the rightful border to the satisfaction of all. They erected beacons or clear marks to separate the two farms. They also took pictures, an agreement was then drafted and the disputing parties signed it. Fadi and Adamo signed it to signal their agreement while Jose and Nekesa signed it as witnesses. The agreement deed was made in four copies for the two disputants and also for the witnesses.

Ushirikiano wa Wanakiambiu

Virginia Ngina Kisavi

 

Kiambiu Slum  is located near Moi Air Force Base Eastleigh South location. The place is inhabited by several Kenyan tribes. These tribes are a source of diversity bringing about a mixture of different cultures and values. At times too, spots of tension could be felt amongst them.

Sometimes back 2000 there were strong tribal sentiments among the residents of Kiambiu. These sentiments were especially strong among the Kikuyu who were the land owners and the Luos who were tenants. The people were therefore divided and could not associate positively, work or stay together. It even became difficult for Landlords to rent their houses to members of a tribe they did not have any positive regard towards preferring loosing rental income. This meant that no Kikuyu would rent a Luo his/her house.

After post election violence in 2007, some NGOs started civic education to improve the community trust levels, community members were empowered with skills which could help them come together. Self help groups were hence formed with the aim of promoting healing and generating income through “merry go rounds”. These small acts of healing helped in cementing relationships among different tribes and in time they started relating well with each other.

Ushirikiano wa Wanakiambiu was formed as the aftermath of all the associative and cooperation activities. It included several self help groups who came together with the ideas of forming an umbrella organization in the Kiambiu community. Implementing the idea initially was a challenge as people still mistrusted each other. The mistrust extended to the governance structures of the new collaborative endeavor. During organizational committee elections; every group fronted an official as they felt that if they did not do so, their interests would not be effectively represented. This mistrust was quite a challenge nearly bringing the governance process of the new initiative to a standstill and threatened its existence.

The initiative was able to address the so called teething problems of “mistrust”. It in time developed clear objectives and a set of activities. The group started to clean drainages every Saturday, collecting garbage. At the end of the activity each member to contribute 20 shillings for banking. These activities in the long run cemented the relationship amongst the residents of Kiambiu and they started talking about their common problem. Everyone agreed that there was a great need for a toilet in Kiambiu. Once this need was identified, the next step was to look for a site to put up the toilet. A member from the group decided to sell his plot to enable the toilet project to proceed. Once a site was found members went on with their usual contribution meanwhile officials searched for sponsors to help in the construction of the latrine. They later found a sponsor.

After one and a half month the toilet was complete and ready for use by the Kiambiu residents. This gave Ushirikiano wa Wanakiambiu job opportunities like fetching some water for the construction, , transporting the materials from the security base to the working area, digging of the sewer line to connect the main one and also guarding the building. During the time of use also the youth got employed as toilet attendants.

The new toilet project has changed the condition of Kiambiu which was  uncouth when there was no toilet. You could find flying toilets all over the streets and even along the houses. People never knew the importance of unity and cooperation but for now we have strong groups in Kiambiu. Three other toilets serving the community which are affordable by the residents with adults paying 3/= while children enjoy the services freely. The new toilets created new jobs. Apart from the toilets, members started other activities  which generate money for the group. This has developed Kiambiu as a slum with 220 members hence recruiting many more members every year regardless of ethnic groups. They get dividends every year and monthly allowance.

The story of Muungano wa Wanakiambiu is a story of Social Innovation. Social innovation occurs in situations where people think of developing simple solutions to community problems. The endervor started to unite the Kiambiu Residents not only achieved its aim but has also contributed immensely to improving their living conditions. There is a great need for integration of Kenyans not only in Kiambiu but in the entire country. The fact that there is prejudice makes us not being able to address our development needs.

A process of deliberate integration could lead us to  experience a change in social relations especially with regard to influencing the governance while increasing participation in social political process. This happens because the once excluded person feels that he or she has been integrated in the societal structures that alienated him or her in the past.

Decreasing social exclusion has many positive outcomes such as increasing integration independence and participation in various dimensions of life that helps people like their life respectively.

 

Abyei Referendum Pictures

Here are some pictures of the Abyei referendum vote counting process

Residents of Abyei awaiting patiently for the vote counting process to be complete

Residents of Abyei awaiting patiently for the vote counting process to be complete

Foreign journalists and observers follow keenly the counting process

Foreign journalists and observers follow keenly the counting process

Journalists taking pictures of the counting process.

Journalists taking pictures of the counting process.

An open ballot box after the voting process.

An open ballot box after the voting process.

The vote tallying process.

The vote tallying process.

A t-shirt bearing a campaign message on the Abyei Referendum

A t-shirt bearing a campaign message on the Abyei Referendum

The Abyei referendum vote tallying process

The Abyei referendum vote tallying process

The information, educational and communication material on the Abyei referendum

The information, educational and communication material on the Abyei referendum

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