Statement from the Community of Just Peace Practitioners - Kenya19 October 2017
The joint statement below outlines recommendations from the Community of Just Peace Practitioners - Kenya regarding the upcoming presidential elections to be held on October 26.
Thursday, 19 October 2017
We, representatives of a broad range of social change practitioners and scholars in peacebuilding and social justice in Kenya whose work is inspired by the lyrics of the first stanza of the national anthem, come together in the spirit of partnership as key actors under the umbrella of Community of Just Peace - Kenya (CJP-K).
Recalling that in the year 2007/2008, Kenya was salvaged from the “brink of the precipice” through a combination of concerted efforts by local and international peace actors.
Recalling that the issues raised in Agenda 4 including the TJRC report have thus far not been conclusively addressed;
Acknowledging that Kenya is currently not in a good place; in particular:
. We, the CJP - Kenya, note from our critical reflections on our research and practice that the current crisis in Kenya surpasses that of the election season of 2007/2008 in spite of the reduced scale of direct violence. In addition to the information on mainstream media and social media, the research and reflections we have undertaken during this election season, as well as the conversations we continue to hold everyday with wananchi in different parts of the country, indicate a nation, a people and a land in deep anguish, pain, fear and sorrow.
. When we consider the 'best case' scenario, 'realistic case' scenario and 'worst case' scenario against the backdrop of the forthcoming fresh presidential elections (scheduled for 26thOctober 2017) all options point to the need for both immediate measures and long-term work to heal the collective anguish, pain, fear and sorrow of Kenyans.
. From various parts of the country, we discern the following indicators that are disturbingly similar to other countries that have experienced protracted internal violent conflict key of which include but are not limited to:
- A nation extremely divided over political issues that largely splits the population along geographical or tribal lines accompanied by sporadic acts of violence;
- An increasingly militarized population where ordinary citizens normalize regular talk of the need to deploy armed violence as the “final solution” to political or social issues;
- A progressive instrumentalization of the security sector to resolve political problems – use of excessive force on ongoing demonstrations causing an increased anger, anguish and a ripened mood for retaliation amongst the presumed targeted populations;
- Talk and speculation of secession that usually lays the foundation for acts of violence or counter-violence as well as victimization of particular communities;
- Slowed down economic growth; a slow but steady decline of economic growth that has impoverished the masses leading to frustration;
- An increased use of terms like “we versus them” or use of dehumanizing and derogatory terms.
- A retreat to ethnic territories for security, or sense of security by communities.
- A general opposition, intimidation and ridicule of people who promote alternative peaceful visions (this may include religious leaders, peace workers and external actors).
- Increased mistrust, disrespect, suspicion and hatred characterising the interactions among citizens.
- De-legitimatization and undermining independent institutions in the execution of their mandate
- The perceived biased interpretation of the law to suit political interests, hardened positions or affiliations leading to antagonistic discourse and intolerance in both public and private spaces.
Our passionate call
. In these prevailing circumstances, we therefore call upon the IEBC to consider postponing the election until such a time that a political solution is agreed upon by presidential contenders. We consider this to be the best option, given both the limited timeframe and the highly polarised political environment which does not nurture a conducive environment for a country pulling together. All this confounded by the resignation of one commissioner and the subsequent revelations in her statement leaves the country at a bigger loss than previously envisaged.
We encourage IEBC to seek legal advice from the Supreme Court on the way forward following legal, political and technical developments e.g. the withdrawal of candidates and the timeline to hold the fresh election
. We call upon both Jubilee and NASA presidential candidates and their close aides to pause for a moment and acknowledge that 37 Kenyans have lost their lives during this election season and hundreds are nursing serious injuries. Further, the country is now approaching the threshold of crimes against humanity which can result in the prosecution of those with command and control, with emphasis on individual responsibility.
. We call upon the police to exercise restraint in dealing with street demonstrations and uphold dignity and the rights of all Kenyans that they are called upon to protect in accordance to article 238 of the constitution (2010).
. We urge both sides of political formation to jointly condemn the violence and criminal acts by demonstrators while exercising their right to picketing as this should not be used to violate the rights of others.
. We call and encourage an inclusive structured dialogue on securing a credible, free and fair election, this dialogue should be multi-sectored and broad based.
 We call upon ALL KENYANS to remain steadfast, to exercise restraint, as we all strive to work for a just and peaceful society. We all have a role to stop this insanity.
Naivasha on Thursday, 19th October 2017
[Original Text in English]
- Tecla Namachanja Wanjala
- Mutuku Nguli
- Christopher Wakube
- Peter Maruga
- Millicent Otieno
- Emily Chweya
- Roselyn Amadi
- Rebecca Wangui
- Alice Ankur
- Linus Odhiambo
- Daniel Kiptugen
- Jillo Abarufa
- Louis MuuwoMutuku
- Antony Ng’ang’a
- Amina Hassan Ahmed
- Stephen B. Biko