Nairobi — The United Nations and the Sports Association in conjunction with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and Google Kenya, have launched The Sports for Peaceful Elections Campaign. The campaign is aimed at rallying Kenyans to participate peacefully in the March 4 General Elections.
The Campaign dubbed "Shabikia Amani Na Kura yako" seeks to break the post election violence cycle as witnessed in 1992, 1997 and 2007/08, and complement existing peace campaigns.
The campaign seeks collaboration between various sporting disciplines including athletics, rugby, football, basketball, volleyball, cricket and swimming.
The campaign that will run for 8 weeks, aims to encourage healthy competition as demonstrated through sports and urge Kenyans to maintain peace before and after the General Elections. It will also involve the social media to shape perceptions and to encourage Kenyans to uphold mature democracy, respect for human rights and personal freedom.
The United Nations Peace and Development Advisor, James Odong said that it is engaging in sustained peace messages with structure in the grassroots.
"We have district peace committees in all the 47 counties and also want to involve the youth through sports and preach peace through civic education," he said.
The Director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) , Nasser Ega-Musa, said "The UN is keen to promote a personal pledge amongst Kenyans to uphold peace during the ongoing electoral process."
He further urged Kenyans to embrace peace since Kenya has the potential to compete with leading countries.
"Let us not destroy the future of the young generation who have a long life ahead of them through violence," he said.
Speaking at the launch, the chairman of Kenya Football Federation (KFF) Sam Nyamweya expressed the federation's commitment in preaching peace through sports.
Nyamweya said the federation will organize tournaments to preach peace ahead of the elections.
Google Kenya is involved in the campaign to ensure that messages sent in the social media do not spread hate by monitoring communication online.
"We are going to use Harambee Stars players to give peace messages and ensure that in every match there will be peace slogans to preach peace," said Google Kenya country Manager, Joseph Mucheru adding that "when there is violence people suffer including sports men and women, children and the elderly."
In his closing remarks Ega-Musa said, "Let us do all we can to champion for peace."