Peace for All, Kenyans for Peace
Extreme violence following the previous national elections in Kenya (2007) saw over a 1000 people killed and hundreds of thousands left homeless and displaced. For several days, the premises of World Scout Bureau Africa Regional Office had turned into a refugee camp with slum dwellers scampering for safety in fear of their lives. This time around, the Scouts have done their best through Messengers of Peace to ensure a safe build up to the elections.
MoP Project by Kenyan Rover Scouts
Amongst several activities that were run by Kenyan Scouts to spread the message of peace in the lead up to the elections, Scouts in the town of Thika (45 kms from Nairobi) got together to organise a peace event. The Rover Scouts of Mount Kenya University came organized a Messengers of Peace event called “Youth for Peace Forum” in early February 2013, nearly a month before the elections in Kenya. The activity brought together other Scouts from different universities and colleges in Thika and beyond under the theme “Peace for All, Kenyans for Peace”. University staff, members of the public, high school students and other guests also attended the event. The National Youth Representatives of Kenya Scouts Nelson Opany and Grace Michuki, were also present to represent the Kenyan Scouting and the Messengers of Peace Network in Kenya. Other partners that supported the event included Brand Kenya Board, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Picha Mtaani-Heal the Nation Initiative, National Cohesion and Integration Commission, and the Kenya Forests Service.
With the General Elections due, every speaker emphasized the importance of maintaining peace and the critical role that young people have to play in ensuring that Kenyans live in peace before, during and after the election period. Rover Scout Nelson took time to explain to the gathering the Messengers of Peace concept and the position and contribution of Scouting in the work of peace. “The achievement of national peace requires the efforts of every one of us. Peace is a personal responsibility and each one has a role to play. As we go to cast our votes on March 4th -for those of us registered as voters; let us love one another, respect one another and vote wisely for those leaders who will offer selfless service to the people and promote peace-and not divide Kenyans along ethnic lines. Even as we do that, let us not forget our unending call to become Messengers of Peace. Lets us shun violence and work together to promote a more unified nation free from tribalism; a nation where each of us can live freely and happily.” he said.
The Chief Guest, Prof. Mbula emphasized on the role of young people in attainment of lasting peace. She encouraged the youth to give peace a fresh start by embracing a culture that values and sustains peace founded on mutual social responsibility, accountability and reciprocity-being there for one another. “Your name as a young person is Now and Today, not Tomorrow or the Future. You must develop a strong character that says no to violence and use your strength and intelligence for the good of the nation. You must be men and women of goodwill” she said.
Apart from the speeches and talks given by the guests, the participants also made presentations enhancing the theme of the event. These included poetry, songs, dances and games. Those who excelled received various awards such as umbrellas from the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, Messengers of Peace badges, ribbons and scarves among others. The event ended with the planting of commemorative peace trees by all the guests present.