, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 15– National Commission and Integration Commission (NCIC) and the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) on Saturday urged the government to set up peace initiatives to handle any violence likely to occur ahead of the International Criminal Court (ICC) ruling on the six Kenyans facing charges.
Addressing a public gallery at the Ufungamano hall in Nairobi NCIC Chairman Mzalendo Kibunjia expressed concerns that the outcome of the ICC was likely to spur emotions in Kenya.
“We are worried that the six suspects come from two of the largest communities. For a very long time when these two ethnic groups are fighting or united, it has implications,” he asserted.
He said Kenyans are still largely divided along their ethnic lines and still view the six suspects not as individuals but their communities being targeted.
He asked Kenyans to more importantly view The Hague process as a justice mechanism that was not targeting any group of people but individuals suspected of masterminding the 2008 post election violence.
Kibunjia advised Kenyans to choose peace no matter how the outcome will be.
In view of a heated political year, he also felt that the country has more reasons to seriously keep a close watch to ensure violence does not rear its head again.
TJRC Director and Researcher Japheth Biegon said it was crucial for the government to have instigated peace and security programs just in case violence follows the ICC announcement.
He said vulnerable areas for violence should be considered in the plans.
“One cannot over rule that if the charges are confirmed can cause tension in the country, particularly in hot spots, the government should look at these scenarios and put mechanisms to ensure that peace is there at that particular time,” he said.
Catholic Justice and Peace Commission Program Officer Martin Omwange appealed to religious groups across the country to re-double their efforts in the peace missions to ensure violence does not escalate in the manner it did in 2008.
Together with TJRC, the Catholic peace mission and NCIC, African Centre for International Legal and Policy Research (CILPRA) will conduct civic education about the possible outcomes during the ICC ruling in Nairobi, Eldoret and Kisumu.
After the ruling, they will roll out another programme in Kiambu, Thika, Naivasha, Nakuru and Kiambu.
The group led by CILPRA Director Dr Godfrey Musila intends to inform the public the likely scenarios in which the judges will rule.
They are also interested in ensuring that Kenyans maintain peace no matter how the ruling takes shape.