East Africa: Building peace in the pursuit for Justice is colossal
Building peace in the pursuit for justice, is proportionately equal to climbing the world’s highest mountain; Everest. However, in the building blocks for a better tomorrow underlie a shared responsibility for everyone, and the ultimate; endless pursuit for peace and justice in the days to come. Despite the very fact that Mount Everest is the tallest mountain to climb, together as East Africa Peace Initiators, it will be possible reach to the top, and hang the flag of peace and justice that has eluded many for decades.
The disputed Kenya presidential election in 2007 that left over 1333 dead is still fresh in many Kenyans’ minds. The 2007 chaos is just a tip of the iceberg an indicator which conform the underlying tensions that have been assumed for far too long. Therefore, the root causes of these tensions among the communities in Kenya, remains a deep-rooted vendetta that needs to be unraveled. As Kenyans, peace and justice must be pursued together as one mission and vision. Hence, how can Kenyans converge their views on reconciliation, cohesion and reconstruction closer to the realization of a peace and justice world?
In 1964, the former South Africa (SA) president, Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life in prison at Robben Island after publicly denouncing Apartheid government. Robben Island (RI) by then was a place for imprisonment, isolation and banishment. However, today, RI is the world’s heritage site and museum in memory of the pursuit for peace, justice, democracy and freedom. Apartheid by then was a social and political segregation of the majority and indigenous non-white population by white minority government officials in SA. With Apartheid government, the non-whites; Africans were denied their deserved-equal governmental representation.
What are the lessons learnt from the by then Apartheid government in SA? More so, how about the 1994 Rwanda genocide? Before the 1994 Rwanda genocide, Rwanda used to be touted as ‘a tropical Switzerland in the heart of Africa’. I mean, what precisely triggered the genocide in Rwanda? President Paul Kagame, who is currently the president, said that ‘People can be changed’. Have the ordinary Kenyans been helped to change after the 2007 chaos or are they really ready to change? How about the ongoing fighting in Somalia? Yet it’s a one language and one religion country. Could there be a misery that an ordinary person doesn’t know about the onus chaos in Somalia?
All in all, the process of healing from the trauma of the past injustices isn’t a panacea. Therefore, settling deep-rooted conflicts requires a deeper and innovative approach. Peace and justice encapsulates new communication skills, new mutual relationship based on trust and a common vision for a better future in Kenya and East Africa at large in the days ahead. I strongly believe that, if all the communities can learn from the past and forge ahead and try building bridges of dialogue, recognizing their shared humanity and work mutually together to overcome injustices , then peace won’t only be a pipe dream; but an attainable reality. One question that one may not fail to ask is that, what are the new and effective mechanisms on conflicts dynamics that the East African Block need to emulate?
For years after years, communal conflicts in Kenya are like a growing cancer. To mention a few, the prevalent fights between Samburu, Turkana, Pokot, Somali, Rendille, Gabra and Borana are one search chronicle example that has gone unresolved for decades. Could this mean that the old ways of resolving conflicts aren’t working? I personally argue that, Change needs to be embraced in tackling these issues. With the promulgation of the new constitution, I think Kenyans need to realize that time has come, and building peace in the pursuit for justice is an obligation for all, and can’t anymore be buried into the sand. Despite that this call isn’t a cure-all-paradigm, but search and ululation for peace and justice remains a history in the making. Could this mean that the ongoing Kenya squabbles on Hague and Impunity issue as a result of the disputed presidential election in 2007; is a history in the making?
The author of the article is Lesiamito Malino John, from Oslo, Norway. This author is a postgraduate student in Information Systems and Computing, and can be reached on Lesiamito@gmail.com