Our Mission

Our Mission

 

To transform lives through ecumenism, capacity building, advocacy and service delivery.

 

Our Vision2

Our Vision

One Church; United in Faith and Mission Witnessing to Jesus Christ and Transforming Lives.

Our Values2

Our Values

In pursuing its Christian calling, the Council shall uphold:

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  • Servant-hood through fair and humble service.
Mission & Vision

 REMARKS BY THE REVEREND CANON PETER KARANJA,GENERAL SECRETARY, DURING THE REGIONAL WORKSHOP ON SMALL ARMS AND LIGHT WEAPONS,ON THURSDAY 19THFEBRUARY 2015, AT ALL AFRICA CONFERENCE OF CHURCHES (AACC) GUEST HOUSE NAIROBI

 A.     Preliminaries:

Hon. Major Rtd. Joseph ole Nkaissery, Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government,

Mrs. Elizabeth Kisiigha, Executive Director, FECCLAHA

All Protocols Observed,

Ladies and Gentlemen.

B.     Introduction:

Receive warm Christian greetings from the National Council of Churches of Kenya(NCCK). May I begin by thanking the Almighty God for according us this opportunity to converge and discuss this very important but complex subject of Small Arms and Light Weapons in theGreat Lakes and Horn of Africa Region. I also wish to recognize each one of you for your efforts over the years that have resulted in the enactment of relevant policies to deal with the menace of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the region. In this regard, I pay my special tribute to FECCLAHA for putting together such an elaborate programme to advance this discourse.I am confident that this form will present to us another to plug in and re-evaluate various policy frameworks with a view of finding concrete solutions that will enable us secure our region.

C.     The Impact of Small Arms:

Cabinet Secretary, Ladies and Gentlemen,

This workshop comes at a time when most countries in our region are reeling from the effects of small arms.Though governments and other stakeholders have long confronted the challenges of theproliferation of these arms, solutions are yet to be found. It is apparent that there are actors in the field of small and light weapons who do not wish the matter to be resolved, and so they set up and maintain stumbling blocks on the efforts of governments and peace loving people.

As a result, the ramifications of these weapons on social and economic wellbeing of communities is incredibly massive. I reckon, that the arms are arguably the primary instruments that accelerate deep rooted political conflicts that eventually transform into armed violence and war at an alarming rate. We have all witnessed the blood-letting in areas like Karamoja in Uganda, Jonglei in South Sudan and Baringo and Turkana in Kenya. Statistics indicate that these conflicts account for at least 10,000 deaths each week the world over.

Despite frequent disarmament exercises mounted by the government, it is estimated that in Kenya alone, there are about 680,000 small arms and light weapons in civilian hands. The circulation of these arms is facilitated by the fact they are easy to use and transport. It is disturbing to imagine how many people have so far lost their lives and continue to die in the countries in our region due to the proliferation of these weapons that not only exacerbate and prolong armed conflicts, but also defer economic and social development. The frontline images of dying and wounded women and children should be a constant reminder to us that the war is far from over and we must constantly remain steadfast in addressing this matter.  As we reflect over these issues, may I reiterate that the issue of small arms and light weapons remains the most urgent public responsibility that we have given the devastation we continue to witness.

Cabinet Secretary, Ladies and Gentlemen,

To fully resolve the problem of small arms and light weapons, we must address two primary factors that drive demand and supply.

The first is the question of the source. For sure, we can never have peaceful lives if we continue to allow the merchants of small arms and light weapons to infiltrate our societies. For many years, the presence of weapons in civilian hands has been blamed on perennial conflicts in Somalia, South Sudan, and some parts of Kenya and Uganda. But this analysis never goes deep enough to ask where the weapons come from before they get to these conflict zones.

May I posit that our advocacy and policy frameworks will never have any impact until we trace the weapons all the way back to the manufacturers! It has been postulated by some analysts that the small arms and light weapons menace is a direct result of the cold war tensions of 1950s and 1960s. At the time, counties in East and West Europe established arms manufacturing factories as a precaution against a war they were all expecting to break out. When the cold war fizzled out, they were left with huge caches of weapons they didn’t need, and a risk of rendering thousands of people jobless if these factories were shut down. Africa and otherunder-developed countries became the dumping ground for these stockpiled weapons.

It has therefore been argued that the manufacturers of these weapons, or at least their marketers, are directly responsible for instigating and perpetuating conflicts in our region so as to have a market for their products.

It is therefore my hope that this forum will come up with strategies of reaching out to nations where non-military use weapons are manufactured with a view to installing strict controls on the sale of the same in our region.

Cabinet Secretary, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The second factor we need to consider and address is the use the small arms and light weapons are put into. This is more so in reference to the unwillingness by some community members to seek peaceful and viable conflict resolution mechanisms and instead resort to violence. These persons drive aggrieved communities to ‘solve’ their problems by using readily available weapons so as to achieve their perceived self-interests. I am convinced that these are the individuals who also take it upon themselves to ensure there is a constant supply of the weapons to these communities. In short, ladies and gentlemen, small arms and light weapons are a money making business for some people, who can only be referred to as Merchants of Death. This is what we have witnessed in Kenya in places such as Turkana, West Pokot, Baringo and Wajir counties.

It is for this reason that the past disarmament efforts in Kenya and Uganda have not borne fruit. In reality, attempts to disarm a community drives them to flee across the border into the other country, and the few weapons mopped up only drive up the demand for more.

To really address the factor of demand for the small arms and light weapons, we must develop strategies for helping our communities identify and adopt non-violence solutions to their disputes.

D.     Role of the Church in Conflict Resolution.

Cabinet Secretary, Ladies and Gentlemen,

In Mt: 18:15, and Mt 5:13, Jesus talks of forgiveness and reconciliation among believers and insists on Christians being the salt of the earth. These biblical scriptures and many others set a foundation for the churches’ intervention on issues that orchestrate conflict among communities. It is imperative that churches must play a central role in addressing the complexities surrounding the proliferation of small arms given their deep-root in society and understanding of the issues that force communities rise against each other.

Quite notably, church ministers preach to communities from diverse cultures  across the world,  and it is my conviction that the fundamental role played by churches in policy formulation that takes into account theological insights as well as moral and ethical perspectives must be reinforced to compliment the fight against small arms and light weapons in our region. Though a lot has been achieved towards this end through ecumenical movements like the World Council of Churches and FECCLAHA, we must seek to deepen this engagement and quicken its implementation putting into consideration the multi-faceted approaches already developed.

Remember the church too has been a victim of the proliferation of small arms with some of its members being murdered in cold blood.

E.     National Cohesion and Integration- The NCCK Story

Cabinet Secretary, Ladies and Gentlemen,

National cohesion and reconciliation remains a key ingredient in mitigating the effects of small arms. In this regard, allow me to share with you the NCCK story on building cohesion and reconciliation in Kenya.

The NCCK in 2008 made a decisionand strategically intervened among communities living in the Rift Valley following the Post Election Violence. Through the programme dubbed the ‘Pamoja Initiative’, we reached out to the Kalenjins and Kikuyus living in the region and provided them with safe spaces for engagement. This enabled them to address the root causes of their conflicts in a peaceful and non-threatening environment. We also engaged the Kisii, Luhya and Luo communities through these comprehensive and candid interactions that led to mutual understanding, trust and resilient social ties. ‘The Pamoja Initiative’ was based on the premise that leaders of ethnic communities need to see collaboration with other communities not as an abstract idea, or an act of altruism, but rather as a matter of enlightened self-interest, thus building cohesion and integration.

The outcome of this approach was quite tremendous. We were able to pacify the hotspots in the Rift Valley, thus leading to the peace and tranquility that was witnessed during the elections last year.

We have since sought to deepen this engagement under Phase II of the Pamoja Initiative by bringing on board more stakeholders including;

  • The National Cohesion and Integration Commission
  • The Inter Religious Council of Kenya
  • The National Steering Committee on Peace Building and Conflict Management

The Pamoja Initiative II is aimed at enhancing national cohesion and integration by broadening the inter and intra- ethnic engagements across the country through the counties.

 F.     Conclusion

In conclusion, I encourage this forum to strategically use this workshop to advance the churches’ contribution and ensure our region is secure.This workshop must not be allowed to be another talk-shop whose brilliant ideas remain on paper. We must confront this issue of small arms and light weapons once and for all. On its part, church must continue to play an integral role in finding solutions to challenges of small arms and light weapons especially by developing strategies that address both supply and demand for the small arms and light weapons. I wish you all a fruitful engagement. God bless you all.

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