Residents of Tana River County have vowed to embrace peace and security in a bid to counter incidents that spark ethnic clashes in the County.
During a colorful ceremony held in Hola City hall to launch the Tana River County Peace Declaration between the various communities of the clash-prone region, communities resolved to embrace peace as a prerequisite for their own development.
Speaking while launching the County Peace Declaration, Governor Hussein Dado urged members of the various ethnic communities to live in harmony and avoid calls that lead to ethnic hatred and divisions. He also noted the security challenges facing the county as a result of the new wave of radicalization and violent extremism associated with terrorism groups such as Al Shabaab.
The County Commissioner, Isaiah Nakoru called on the communities to support government’s Nyumba Kumi Initiative, a community policing model, to ensure that the war on violent extremism and other security challenges is won. “We all know of how terrorism is detrimental to our society. Let us work together and ensure that all those perpetrate such acts are brought to book so that we can have lasting peace in our country”, he said.
The duo also urged the residents to cooperate with the police by volunteering information that would help apprehend members of Al-Shabaab and other illegal groups in the County.
During the presentations, members of the community attested that the declaration was a major step towards reducing conflicts in the County. The meeting also identified disputed use of land and ownership, disputed sharing of natural resources such as pasture and water, politics, negative ethnicity and proliferation of illegal firearms just to mention but a few as the main drivers of conflicts in the County.
The communities called for the creation of administrative units and resource management committees that will establish traditional grazing laws, rules and regulations to effectively reduce ethnic conflicts in the area.
The national and county government promised to support the realization and full operationalization of the Peace Declaration.
The development of the Tana River Peace Declaration by Tana River Peace, Reconciliation, and Development (TRPRD), an Act! partner was achieved through a series of consultative meetings involving members of the communities, peace committee members, county government and national government officials, members of the County Assembly and civil society.
TRPRD, is one of the many local civic organizations supported by Act! through USAID’s Strengthening Communities Resilience against Extremism (SCORE) to build the capacity of local communities to shun violent extremism and acts that lead to conflicts in the County of Tana River and its environs.