, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 12 – Newly appointed National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) chairman Francis Ole Kaparo says it will take concerted efforts from the public to overcome national divisiveness and negative ethnicity.
Kaparo who was appointed to the post by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday said Kenyans must not leave the task of national reconciliation to his Commission.
“Kenyans must be told that it is not sports to kill each other and government should also play a big role in this, they should take very serious punitive action on people who organise Kenyans to kill one another,” said the NCIC chairman.
He said he was concerned by the recurring clashes in various parts of the country such as Mandera, Wajir, Marsabit and the Tana delta which are sometimes blamed on inter clan disputes, scarcity of resources and political incitement.
“The day that we will subject ourselves to the rule of law, that will be the beginning of a civilized and stable society… It is not a one man show, a one commission show it is a national task everybody in Kenya should do it,” Kaparo emphasised.
The former National Assembly Speaker has also dismissed critics who have cited his age and association to the ruling Jubilee Coalition as a hindrance to the delivery of his mandate.
“It is not a crime to be mature, in fact I think it is an advantage for me,” stated the 64-year-old who served as Speaker for three Parliaments, from 1993 to 2008. “Those people who want to criminalize age I don’t know whether they aspire to mature or die young.”
Kaparo said he had relinquished the chairman’s post at the United Republican Party (which was formed by the Deputy President William Ruto) when he was applying for the job.
“I will do what I have done in the past; serve my country without being influence by any extraneous factors. By the way I am passionate about bringing cohesion, sanity and order to my country,” he stressed.
Kaparo was appointed alongside seven commissioners, including former Cabinet Minister Morris Dzoro, Commission on Administration of Justice Director Belinda Ochiel as well as Roba Sharamo of UNDP.
They were appointed from a list of 15 nominees, who were approved by the National Assembly in July after 32 applicants were interviewed.
The NCIC is mandated with promoting and advising the government on equal opportunities, good relations, harmony and peaceful co-existence among communities.