By Arnold Neliba
SONDU, SEPTEMBER 5, 2023 (CISA)-In its efforts to restore peaceful coexistence between communities along the border between Kisumu and Kericho counties, the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) has held a series of meetings to address the root causes of interethnic clashes that have in the last three weeks left 13 people dead.
Separate meetings were held at Onyuongo in Nyakach, Kisumu side and another at Sigowet, Kericho side before the two groups were brought together in a joint inter-ethnic peace forum at Thessalia in Muhoroni on Wednesday August 30.
“The forum was officiated by Bishop Prof David Kodia, the NCCK Chairman in Nyanza Region, alongside Assistant County Commissioners from Nyakach Upper, Nyakach Central and Soin-Sigowet,” reads a September 3 statement signed by Rev Canon Chris Kinyanjui, Secretary General of NCCK.
During their separate meetings on August 29 at the Onyuongo forum, in the presence of religious leaders, Nyumba Kumi leaders, village elders, cross-border peace committee members, community members, Anti Stock Theft Unit personnel and National Government Administration officials it was identified that theft of cattle and incitement by politicians are the key drivers of the crisis.
At Sondu in Soin-Sigowet, they identified issues around the boundary between Kisumu and Kericho counties, both sides claiming Soundu Town and persistent spreading of propaganda and false narratives. Peace actors, village elders, community members, and National Government Administration Officials (NGAO) led by the Deputy County Commissioner were part of the forum.
“The two communities listened to each other’s grievances and resolved to jointly and separately promote peaceful coexistence. Key activities agreed upon included speedy recovery of stolen cattle, community campaigns for peace and cohesion, and inter-ethnic exchange activities,” the statement reads.
During their engagement with the transport sector in the area consisting of bodaboda riders groups and matatu saccos from the two communities at Kapsorok, they committed to preaching peace, and peaceful coexistence and avoiding revenge attacks.