19 February 2013

Kenya: Initiatives for Peaceful Electoral Process Continues

Nairobi — Group of Concerned Kenyans Initiative held a press conference at the Serena Hotel in Nairobi to appeal to Kenyans to uphold peace during and after the March 4 General elections.

The press conference was to have dialogue with different stakeholders so as to advocate for peace. Their initiative was informed by the background and context of the challenges that led to the Post Election Violence 2007/8, and the concern that the current political campaigns may once again polarize the nation with a possible resort to violence, a number of renowned personalities came together and formed the Group of Concerned Kenyans Initiative.

The initiative seeks to strengthen efforts towards peaceful, transparent and credible elections. Its primary objective is to maintain dialogue with high-level engagement and dialogue between key political actors, the Government, independent commissions, private sectors, CSOs and the Kenyan public.

The Group of Concerned Kenyans Initiative, convened by Lt General Daniel Opande, consists of Mr Abbas Gullet, Mr Wifred Kiboro, Mr Paul Gondi and Mr Joshua Kulei among others.

The panel was unanimous in citing that their main objective is to ensure peaceful elections and a future for Kenya after the March 4th General elections. They recognized the media as an important tool of communication that will contribute towards peace during and after the election.

"Starting with the media, peace will depend on how you report before and after the elections. Elections come and go and we need to have our country intact after the March 4 elections," said Wilfred Kiboro further added that, "The group is a convenor and it will get members as it goes along. We will be talking to other voices like church elders and business people."

Speaking at the same event the Secretary General of the Kenya Red Cross Abbas Gullet, revealed that, "Kenya Red Cross had started an initiative where we are asking all the eight presidential candidates to sign up a peace pledge."

He further revealed that, "It is a commitment to upholding themselves to best standards of election, accepting the results but also urging their supporters to primarily be violent free election and to accept the outcome of the result." He encouraged the politicians to seek legal redress as opposed to violence for any electoral dispute.

Lt General Daniel Opande further urged the public to cooperate in various initiatives aimed at ensuring peace, transparent and credible elections including the work of the Group of Concerned Kenyans.

The group seeks to supplement the efforts of other stakeholders, in particular District Peace Committees, Women groups in various districts, the Uwiano Platform for Peace, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, the Team of female eminent Persons and Mkenya Daima initiative, in preventing violence and ensuring peaceful elections.

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