The Rift Valley Peace Initiative was officially launched at the Nakuru Rift Valley Provincial Headquarters on April 13, 2012. Rift Valley was the epicenter of 2007/2008 post-election violence that led to the loss of many lives and destruction of property.
In remarks at the opening, Global Peace Foundation Africa Director Mr. Insu Choi said that the healing process has been a challenge and that “peace building remains a necessity for stability in Kenya, particularly in the Rift Valley where ethnic tension remains high even as the nation approaches the next general elections.”
The Rift Valley Peace Initiative is a pilot project initiated by the Global Peace Youth Corps Kenya (GPYC) in partnership with the Provincial Peace Forum, Global Peace Foundation (GPF), Peace Corp and other partners. The project is an education and service based program that provides young people in the Rift Valley with knowledge and social skills for sustainable peace and development.
The launch commenced with a peace procession which was flagged off at the Nakuru Railways Station by the Nakuru District Commissioner Mr. Kangethe Thuku, Mr. Choi, and award-winning musician Emmy Kosgey. The Procession led by the Administration Police band proceeded through Kenyatta Avenue and ended at the Plenary Hall of the Nakuru Provincial Headquarters, where the ceremony kicked off.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mr. Kang’ethe Thuku reflected that God was full of taste and colors, hence the diversity of the globe. “Diversity contributes in flavor,” he said. “We should appreciate one another and therefore should be able to forgive one another, love one another, sit and reconcile with each other for peace to flourish. Our mission should be partnering with each other to promote peace regardless of our religion, tribe or where you come from.”
Head of the Provisional Peace Forum Mr. Musumba told the gathering, “Enough is enough! We must change the image of Rift Valley. The time of election brings anxiety where all small issues become elevated and we want to resolve those using political excuses. Violence is triggered by politics. Never again are we allowed to get incited to be violent.”
Kenyan musician Eric Jarloque presented a song entitled “One Kenya,” which urged that this time round there should be no violence.
Mr. Daniel Juma Omondi, the Chief Executive Officer of Global Peace Youth Corps-Kenya, concluded by urging the government to address the issues affecting residents in the Rift Valley such as land, infrastructure and resettlement of the Internally Displaced Persons. He then invited District Commissioner Thuku to cut the tape to mark the official launch of the Rift Valley Peace Initiative.
Major TV stations, including KTN, K24, Citizen TV and NTV l, covered the event with prime time reports.