BY JOHN HARRINGTON NDETA
Friday September 21st, the world marks International Day of Peace. World Peace Day has been set aside by the United Nations to provide an opportunity for individuals, organisations and nations to create practical acts of peace on a shared date.
The International Day of Peace was first established by the UN General Assembly in 1981 as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence.
In 2002, the General Assembly officially declared September 21 as the permanent date for the International Day of Peace. Part of the UN General Assembly 2002 resolution read; “Peace Day should be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples. This day will serve as a reminder to all peoples that our organisation, with all its limitations, is a living instrument in the service of peace and should serve all of us here within the organisation as a constantly pealing bell reminding us that our permanent commitment, above all interests or differences of any kind, is to peace.”
On this day mankind is reminded of the need for peaceful coexistence for a sustainable future. Differences of tribe, language, colour, religion, ideology or even political afficiliations should all melt-down whenever we commemorate World Peace Day.
Without peace, the future is endangered and that is why this year; all and sundry are invited to think peace; think the future.
In Kenya, culture which has been fronted as the fourth dimension of sustainable development other than the triple-bottom-line dimensions of economic, environmental and social-political issues come to play a lot more when we talk of sustainable peace. With elections around the corner and spiraling internal conflicts on the rise, every Kenyan needs to reflect on the dangers conflicts portend to our future.
Kenyans may be lucky to have one of the most progressive constitutions on earth but unless rights are enjoined to responsibilities and all enjoyed in an atmosphere of peace, the future looks bleak.
Ethnicity and tribalism seems to be the curse for Kenya. Yet diversity is a necessary component for sustainable development. Kenyans need to be proud of our diversity and seek to harness this diversity for sustainable development. If conflicts persists, chances are that all mankind could be decimated and thus, a gloom future. But every, tribe, religion and political grouping can purpose to engender peace with the other. Strife leads to anarchy and that is a constant danger not just to the present generation but the future one too.Hence the theme for this year’s World Peace day is “Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future”.
Sustainable future is hinged on growth in all sectors of the society. This talks of sustainable development. Sustainable development has been defined as a pattern of economic growth in which resource use aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come. It is a deliberate attempt at meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
In peace building; it means deliberately ending war, ceasing fire, ending the war drums by signing of pacts and peace agreements to ensure that the future is secured.
Every Kenyan on this day needs to think of the future. Whether young or old, politician or electorate, Christian or Muslim; we all need to preserve Kenya not just for ourselves but for the future generation.
Every Kenyan should determine in his/her heart to meet his/her present needs while contributing to the future generations needs. It is the responsibility of the present generations to improve the future generations. This seems to be the reverse in Kenya where the present generation is busy amassing everything for themselves in total disregard of the interests of the future.
On the Socio-political paradigm of sustainable development, elections; a major conflict trigger in the country is around the corner in Kenya. With this hindsight, it is my sincere appeal to all political elites and their supporters to wary of the dangers political violence herald for the future generations. Leadership is not about the politicians but the present and future electorates who put them in positions of power to represent them.
To the voting public, parochial and self-serving interests should not prevail when it comes to choosing leaders and those who exhibit such tendencies should be shunned for the sake of our future.
Let us vet all those who desire to lead and if they have traits of war mongers, we should never at all entrust them with positions of leadership. This is a solemn decision I invite every Kenyan should take even as we look at the future of Kenya beyond March 4, 2013 elections.
(The writer is knowledge management officer at PeaceNet Kenya)