Hundreds of young Kenyans gathered on Monday to launch a campaign aimed at getting their peers to refrain from post-election violence that has so far claimed some 1,000 lives and displacing almost 300,000 people around the country.
At a colourful ceremony in Nairobi, they vowed not to be used by politicians to fight proxy wars that have wreaked havoc in the country. “We cannot talk about peace, without addressing the problems of thousands of youth living in camps for the internally displaced,” the activist, Mr. Ndungi Githuku told a cheering audience.
Song and dance marked the occasion as messages of non-violence were repeatedly hammered at the meeting.
Speaking of the virtue of non-violence campaigns, UN-HABITAT’s Executive Director, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, said: “Always remember that revolutions have no agenda and it is easy for ill-willed people to hijack such occasions.” This was why a peaceful, non-violent reform process is more successful at building a nation, she added.
Mrs. Tibaijuka recalled he names of some great 20th century figures who brought about major change by campaigning peacefully against injustice and discrimination – Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.
UN-HABITAT is one of the major promoters of the National Youth Violence Prevention Week, an activity of the "Safer Cities Kenya project" that is a joint collaboration of the Government of Kenya with the United Nations under United Nations Development Assistance Framework for Kenya initiated in 2001.
Local Government minister, Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta promised to take up the message of peace to his colleagues in the next cabinet meeting chaired by President Mwai Kibaki. “More leaders need to hear the voices of the youth whom we call the leaders of tomorrow,” he said.