, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 19 – A four-day National Elders Cohesion Conference opened in Nairobi on Tuesday at the Bomas of Kenya.
The conference brings together over 300 selected elders from communities across the country seeking to discuss matters on national unity under the theme ‘One Nation, One People, One Destiny’ and is organised by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission.
Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka said leaders have been warned against abdicating their responsibilities to fight for power.
“Let us not lose sight of the fact that the world is watching how we will handle this process this time round. They are asking (whether) Kenyans are going to do the usual thing that they do whenever they hold a referendum on their constitution; where they engage in mudslinging, incitement and spreading hatred speech,” he said and stressed the importance of patriotism and tolerance among the diverse communities in the country.
Kenyans should, he added, identify and promote national symbols including the national and official languages in order to break the barriers that divide them.
At the same time, Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo called for the review of the law establishing the National Cohesion and Integration Commission to include elders.
He said elders played a key role in conflict resolution and national cohesion.
“The conference comes at a time when the country is in the process of formulating a policy on national value system for Kenya whose objective is to inculcate virtuous and ethical behavior among Kenyans.”
The policy was given the nod by the National Economic and Social Council.
The conference was recommended by a nine member committee of elders appointed last year to bring together community elders and leaders for dialogue following the deadly 2008 post election violence.
President Mwai Kibaki is expected to officially open the conference on Tuesday.