NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 19 – A group of influential Kenyan citizens including the Secretary General of Kenya Red Cross Abbas Gullet and Family Bank chairman Wilfred Kiboro have launched a peace initiative as the election approaches.
Given their place in society, Kiboro says they will be able to engage the presidential candidates directly and bolster existing peace efforts in that way.
“The people that we have are respected people so if they lift a phone…they can talk to just about anybody including the key political players. We feel that we have that kind of contact. We can help in that dialogue and that’s what makes us different.”
Kiboro was quick to explain that their aim is not to undermine other peace efforts but to support them: “The more voices that we can get to preach the message the better because some of these groups have been here for a long time and you may not get to hear about many of them but the messenger is not important the message is.”
The personalities under the Group of Concerned Kenyans are also appealing to the presidential candidates to sign an agreement assuring Kenyans of their commitment to accept the results.
The agreement will also include a declaration that the candidates will use legal channels to contest any electoral-related dispute as opposed to violent protests.
“They are on camera saying I commit to ensuring a peaceful election… I am committing to ensure my supporters are not going to engage in acts of violence. That’s what we are telling them to commit to in writing, to commit to on tape so that if it’s Raila, Uhuru, Mudavadi, millions of people will see them saying I commit to the peace and that is a very powerful tool.”
The group also called on the political elite not to undermine the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and while lauding the Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo for his efforts, expressed concern at the violence experienced in the Tana River region and in Baringo.
“While we note with concern the heightened political activities and campaigns and the mounting tensions and outright insecurity in some parts of the country resulting to sporadic and low scale violent clashes in Tana River, Muhoroni and Baringo, we also acknowledge the efforts by the government and the peace committees in resolving some of these conflicts and providing security to those affected,” the convener of the group Lt. General Daniel Opande said reading a statement at Tuesday’s press briefing.
The Group of Concerned Kenyans has planned a peace rally for February 28 at Uhuru Park and have invited all the presidential aspirants, President Kibaki and retired President Moi.