The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Loroupe, Athletes Root for Peace in Tana Delta

Kenyan world athletics champions took the peace campaigns to the Tana Delta. They aimed to help restore peace between the warring communities involved in the violence that left 120 people dead and displaced more than 30,000 others.

They were led by Tegla Loroupe, President of the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation. The athletes, including three times world record holder Daniel Komen and reformed warriors from the Rift Valley and Karamajong Uganda engaged the warring communities in dialogue and brought them together as a symbol of solidarity and unity.

They arrived in Garsen on Thursday and spent four days with the communities. The campaign included the Tegla Loroupe Tanadelta peace race, peace talks and dances.

The athletes distributed relief food to displaced people in Witu, Dide Waride, Tarasaa and other areas. Safaricom and National Bank sponsored the Tegla Tana Delta peace race while the Special Programmes ministry provided relief food.

More than 300 youths from the Wardei, Pokomo, Orma, and Giriama spent three nights at the Garsen Primary School eating, sleeping and interacting together to symbolise unity and coexistence of all.

During the violence, the Orma and Pokomo could not share the same platform or a meal. A Pokot, Loroupe comes from a region faced with constant conflicts.

"They should not accept to be incited by politicians into violence as it will hinder the development of the area and lead to more bloodshed," she said in an interview with journalists.

"Children should also go back to school to prevent marginalisation. Without education the region will lag behind," she said. Girls competed in a two kilometre race while boys and men ran for five kilometres on Saturday morning. Residents took part in a peaceful demonstration.

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