, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 10 – Inter-religious leaders and other stakeholders have vowed to push for all inclusive dialogue across the country in a bid to promote national cohesion and integration in the 47 counties.
The National Council of Churches of Kenya General Secretary Reverend Canon Peter Karanja says the country needs to use the framework of the Constitution to achieve meaningful national cohesion.
“How can we ensure there is a sense of inclusion in national processes? How can we break away from the yoke of ethnic based politics and political intolerance? These remain fundamental questions that we must seek to answers for,” he stated during the launch of the second phase of the Pamoja initiative.
The Pamoja initiative was launched this year to enhance national cohesion and integration.
Through the initiative, various stakeholders hope to, “provide safe spaces to various ethnic communities to undertake candid intra community and inter community dialogue with a view of building consensus on issues of conflict and mistrust.”
In order to adequately address cohesion and integration in the country, Karanja said all people must consolidate their efforts through an expanded partnership for concerted, “synergies and optimisation of resources available for greater impact.”
He also said there was need to institute a deliberate process of building the emotional connection between Kenyans and a sense of nationhood.
Inter-religious Council of Kenya Chairman Adan Wachu cautioned that people should distinguish terrorists who commit crime and Islam as a religion in a bid to avoid a situation where they may feel targeted.
He said the numerous attacks carried out by terrorists in the country were meant to create a division between Christians and Muslims.
“We have a formidable force to make sure that we do not do or go the way they want (terrorists),” he stated. “I applaud the Christian fraternity and the Muslims for making sure that what has been happening in this country did not bring a dispute between us.”
Wachu further challenged Kenyans to respect their leaders and the institutions they hold.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku who launched the initiative on his part called on all stakeholders to join the Government in enhancing unity across the country.
“Building social cohesion and promotion of national values is as much as building hope and aspiration as it is about confronting fears and prejudices,” he stated.
“It requires the support and input from all of us.”
The initiative now targets political leaders and students in its new phase of promoting national integration.
UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Nardos Bekele-Thomas asked Kenyans should to heed President Uhuru Kenyatta’s calls to shun tribalism and embrace nationhood.