In a dim, mud-walled hall in a Nairobi slum, about 50 people from the local community have come to meet their new chief; a demure, petite lady in a white jacket with black piping.
Around the edges of the room, young men, some wearing caps at rakish angles, stand silently. These are the men Selline Korir, a peace activist, has come to see. But first Korir, 49, who works for non-profit Global Communities, will speak to the audience.
“Let us deal with our tribalism, our negative ethnicity, hapa [here, in Swahili], hapa, hapa,” she says, before rallying the crowd to chant, “Tuna Uwezo” (We have the power).
For more on this story, visit: Kenya peace project puts focus on talk and trust ahead of elections | Clar Ni Chonghaile | Global development | guardian.co.uk.
If we are to move forward we must do so as one Kenyan nation serving one Kenyan people. Tribe in and of itself is not a bad thing. Each of Kenya’s tribes should be celebrated as a source of rich cultural traditions which enrich our nation. What is a bad thing is the manipulation of ethnic identity for political gain. That is the root of much of our conflict. As Kenyans we must continue to ask ourselves what role we play in that manipulation and what each of us can do to help forge one cohesive and inclusive identity for all Kenyans.
Peter Kimeu is a senior technical advisor for Catholic Relief Services in Nairobi, Kenya.
For more on this story, visit: Catholic Relief Services: Kenyans need to make peace.