It is elections time and almost every town in Kenya is cluttered with campaign posters as political aspirants jostle for a slice of the estimated 19 million plus registered voters.
Incidents of violence have been reported in some parts of the country, a clear indication that the same may be repeated in the run up to the August 8 elections.
In a bid to build cohesion and avert potential violence ahead of the general elections, Act! in partnership with administration structures at the National and County levels, Uwiano Platform for Peace, and various peace actors from civil society led thousands of Kenyans in a walk in support of peaceful campaigns across the country.
In Nairobi County, a 23 km peace walk was flagged off by the County Commissioner Godfrey Kigochi. He called on the residents to shun acts of violence during and after the elections.
“The youth must not allow themselves to be used by politicians to cause violence. We are calling on people to report crimes and utterances that may breach peace in the country”, said Kigochi.
Carrying placards bearing peace messages, participants in the walk pledged to spread the message of peace in their neighborhoods.
“I want to assure you that the government is committed to peaceful elections. We have streamlined pathways for reporting crime to ensure that we create secure and stable environments for people to go about their businesses,” he said.
Meanwhile, in Meru County, the County Commissioner Wilfred Nyagwanga led more than 500 residents and conflict duty bearers in sensitizing the locals on the need to maintain peace during the electioneering period.
Addressing participants at Kaaga Primary School in Meru town after the peace walk, he urged the residents and in particular supporters of the different political parties to embrace peace by not interfering with activities of other political actors.
“Peace in the community is our collective responsibility. We must never be divided by elections that come and go. Let us endeavor for peace to build sustainable economies,” said the County Commissioner.
Nyagwanga further called on members of media especially those from local vernacular media stations to stop broadcasting issues which may incite people to violence.
“Local media stations is critical in promoting peace across board. Let us not give politicians who incite people to violence broadcast time,” said Nyagwanga.
He applauded Act! for continued support in the coordination of peace activities in the region.
Political aspirants present during the walks committed to uphold peace in their political campaigns.
Act! through the Electoral Conflict and Violence Mitigation Program, is enhancing the capacity of peace actors embedded within national, county and community structures to prevent and respond to electoral conflict for peaceful co-existence among communities in Kenya.