, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 21 – The Trust for Indigenous Culture and Health (TICAH) has launched a peace initiative geared towards promoting peaceful existence among different ethnic communities in Kenya.
The initiative which was launched at the historic Uhuru Gardens Memorial Park is a joint partnership between TICAH and the National Museums of Kenya.
The launch bringing together people from over 18 ethnic backgrounds saw the unveiling of a symbolic ground dabbed “Mahali pa Umoja” which organisers say will be open to people from all walks of life.
Speaking during the launch on Friday, Kenya National Museums’ Director of Sites and Monuments Dr Purity Kiula urged Kenyans to embrace positive cultural practices in a bid to promote cohesion and unity.
“As Kenyans our heritage is the same, our origins are the same, so we are the same people,” said Kiula. She further said that the Kenya National Museums will explore partnerships with other agencies as well to push the peace agenda forward.
Kiula also noted that the initiative will work in harmony with the Francis ole Kaparo-led National Cohesion and Integration Commission in order to promote a peaceful, united and harmonious Kenyan society.
On her part TICAH’s Executive Director Mary Ann Burris said the initiative will focus on bringing people together through cultural activities in order to trigger conversations geared towards uniting Kenyans.
She further urged the nation to use culture as a progressive force and shun away from divisive ethnic mobilisations which have led to violence in the past.
“Over the years we have realized that if we invite in cultural leaders and elders we learn from them, they meet each other and create a network of peace builders,” said Burris.
Burris said the strides that have been made in the communications sector have further provided an opportunity for people to interact and open up to one another; something that has enhanced how different tribes view one another.
“If we invite in cultural leaders and elders we learn from them, they meet each other and they create a network of peace builders in Kenya,” explained Burris.
Participants were treated to a variety of cultural music from the ethnic groups present at the launch as elders led special prayers for the peace of the nation as they made the grand entry into the “Mahali pa Umoja” grounds. The crowd would then move around the grounds in coordinated circles as they danced to the tune of drums beats which had many lost in frenzy.
The peace initiative comes in a wake of rising political temperatures in a build up to the 2017 general elections which have seen politicians throw barbs at each other as the scramble for elective seats gains momentum.
The launch was also attended by the officer in-charge of operations at the Uhuru Gardens Memorial Park Joyce Kinyanjui.