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Peace policy needed before 2012

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 11 – The civil society wants the government to speed up the preparation of the National Peace Policy as the country gears up for next year’s general elections.

Speaking after attending a stakeholders meeting on peace building in Nairobi, Kituo Cha Sheria programme officer Martin Onyango said that the government must accelerate the formation of a comprehensive policy addressing conflicts.

“The developing of a National Peace Policy has taken unnecessarily too long. In light of past conflicts and Kenya going to an election next year there should be a coordinated and comprehensive peace framework”

“The deficiency in Kenya today is that we work on ad hoc basis and conflict gets us as a surprise. We want a comprehensive framework so that peace building and conflict management becomes core in government planning and execution,” he reiterated.

Mr Onyango pointed out that despite the formation of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) and the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) coupled by many other initiatives by non-state actors in peace building, the government was best placed to have learnt from the 2008 post election violence to come up with policy to address conflict now and in the future.

“There have been initiatives by government agencies and by non-governmental organisations but there is no co-ordination and a focal point on these issues, a policy framework will guarantee government commitment to finance and coordinate these initiatives in one clear direction for greater impact,” he emphasised.

Mr Onyango also said that the civil society was in the process of collecting views of the public and other stakeholders based on the peace policy draft of 2003 and reiterated that as non-state actors in the processes of peace building they would not sit back, as government drags its feet.

“We are organising a stakeholders workshop to discuss the draft and to start a nationwide drive to demand a policy from the government; we cannot wait for government to give us a policy framework at its convenient time,” he affirmed noting that the process which began in 2003 ought to have been effectively completed.

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Monday’s breakfast meeting which was convened by the Kituo Cha Sheria brought together participants from the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission, National Cohesion and Integration Commission among other NGOs agencies like PeaceNet Kenya, the Usalama Forum and the Kenya Partners for peace and security.

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