CEOs in Sh400m pre-election peace campaign

January 30, 2012
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Kenyan CEOs line up at launch of My Kenya/CFM

, Kenya’s business fraternity has launched a Sh400 million media campaign ahead of the election period, as part of a proactive effort to avert the events of the 2008 post-poll violence.

The cross-sectoral campaign dubbed My Kenya will unite representatives from the private sector, civil society, faith-based organisations, media and business leaders.

Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) chairman Patrick Obath said the campaign aims to mobilise Kenyans to take responsibility and own the electoral process while promoting peace.

“The main message we are trying to get across is that it’s a Kenyan issue. It is not an issue that belongs to a specific sector of society. The quicker we think about it as a Kenyan issue the easier it will be to solve it,” he said.

KEPSA was instrumental in rallying business leaders, politicians and foreign envoys to end the unrest in 2008 that saw the business community lose up to Sh10 billion.

In an earlier interview with Capital News, Obath said this time around the elections will be driven by the issue of finance, highlighting the widening gap between the haves and the have-nots.

“It is important that we talk to people about the issues that they need to see their politicians address and focus on rather than saying; I’m a poor person give me money to say… I am a poor person, I need to be able to raise my own money these are the things I need for this to happen,” he said.

Obath added that the campaign will get the public, politicians and the private sector together to not only start talking about issues but de-tribalise the electoral process.

General Electric chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt, who was present at the launch, said the campaign is timely in creating a stable business environment especially with several multinationals setting their sights on investing in Africa.

“Companies really want to invest in Africa right now and for the business community in Kenya we need you to want to partner to drive transparency and good governance. The more stability there is the faster we can go,” he said.

Corporate companies have already pledged Sh37 million in cash and in kind commitments, which included billboards promoting the message, branded products, and airtime, as well as advisory and audit services.

“There is need to restore hope and peaceful co-existence among Kenyans as majority of Kenyans already have the goodwill and do not want a repeat of the post election violence” KEPSA CEO Carole Kariuki said.

The campaign will run over several mediums including television, radio as well as road shows and town hall meetings over the next 12 months.

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