The run up to the 2022 general elections was a time of great apprehension and anxiety in different quarters, many were concerned that the previous patterns of violence and disruption of normal life would characterise the process. However, the elections turned out to be the most peaceful in Kenyan history.
LCPI was instrumental in coordinating the UWIANO platform initiatives in collaboration with the Lake Region Economic Block Secretariat and in partnership with both national and local strategic partners. Elections Bila Noma campaigns was one of such events spearheaded by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), the initiatives provided safe enough spaces for different stakeholders to support peaceful, fair and nonviolent elections. This was carried out through collaborative engagement and participation of peace ambassadors, women and youth leaders, Community Based Organisations (CBO), organised groups (e.g., women, youth self-help groups), law enforcement authorities and political institutions to spread peace message while educating the community on the importance of stability for economic growth banking on the lessons learned from the past pre and post electoral happenings. In contributing to the rallying call, LCPI worked with the LREB summit to develop and disseminate a peace charter that was signed by all the 14 Governors and together they brought on board various stakeholders from the community policing, peace committees, media practitioners and religious leaders/institutions to agree on peaceful campaigns interventions while mobilising political parties and interested bodies to agree on responsible violence deterrence and risk mitigation actions.
After the elections we had a post-election healing conference in Kisumu where the community representatives shared their experiences and how they coped after elections and we came to realise that we had a calm election but most of the people still hurt and had emotional trauma from the elections and with that most people from the region had lost faith in both the electoral process and the judicial process.
The Elections Bila Noma campaigns worked to bring a calm election but from the meeting it was evident that most of the community still was not at peace emotionally and mentally over the results and openly admitted that were it not for the exercises before the elections and the acceptance by the leaders to follow the legal process to dispute any results, it would have been a different story.
The takeaway from the week-long engagements was that the community had accepted that the elections had been as they were, but most had concerns about the public utterances by the new leaders that divided the country and requested that they should at least speak in a manner that unites the nation and not bring more division.
We thank the Kenyan electorate for a calm election and the NCIC for the chance to work together to foster peace in the community and hope to keep building a peaceful nation.