Stakeholders Advance Coordinated Efforts to Prevent Election Violence
Amid heightened political and tribal tensions leading into the 2017 Kenya general election, the Global Peace Foundation has rolled out the One Nation under God campaign as a platform for coordinated efforts to curtail violence and secure a peaceful election. The peace initiative was inaugurated in Nairobi on September 26 at a luncheon hosted by Global Peace Foundation Kenya patron and businessman Dr. Manu Chandaria.
Addressing leaders from various government agencies, CSO’s and international organizations—including Brand Kenya Board, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD-CEWARN), European Union, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, U.S. Embassy, DANIDA, Sweden Embassy, National Cohesion and Integration Commission and National Counter terrorism Unit, Administration Service Police—Dr. Chandaria called the One Nation under God campaign timely. “Elections do not just happen to be peaceful,” he said. “We have to plan and make the peaceful. We do not want to witness another ugly side similar to that of 2008.”
Violent outbreaks following the presidential election killed thousands, displaced hundreds of thousands and left millions of dollars of property damage in its wake. Global Peace Foundation was among first responders to counter identity-based conflict and build a culture of peace in hard-hit regions.
“In the year 2008 when Kenya was burning we worked with GPF and gave hope to Kenyans.” recalled Dr. Mark Leleruk from the Administration Service Police. “Elections are an opportunity for us to choose our leaders, not to kill each other and divide along ethnic lines.”
In 2012 and 2013 the Global Peace Foundation worked with partners including Brand Kenya and IGAD to promote peace during the election process through programs like the National Youth Summit. The efforts were later directly credited for contributing to a peaceful election.
The One Nation under God campaign is a nationwide peace initiative encouraging youth to be agents of peace who promote social cohesion and counter political incitement and violence. The Global Peace Foundation is reaching out to stakeholders to create a united front for national unity and peace as the political races scale up.
Executive Director for Global Peace Foundation Kenya Mr. Daniel Juma urged, “We need to mature as a country and stop killing each other because of elections. The One Nation under God campaign is a platform for our young to build resilience against political incitement. Elections will come and go, politicians will come and go, but this country will remain.”
Ms. Mary Luseka, Director at Brand Kenya Board, urged stakeholders to work together to secure a new precedent in Kenya’s elections. “We cannot rebuild after every other five years. Kenya has evolved in terms of hardware but there is still need to build our software. We appreciate below the line campaigns like GPF’s that correct us below the radar.”