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Kenyan communities have been urged to frequently dialogue with each other with a view of resolving issues that oftenly create disharmony among them, thus hampering national cohesion and integration. Speaking in Kitale, Trans-Nzoia county the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) General Secretary Reverend Canon Peter Karanja, said that frequent community engagement was the only way of resolving Kenya’s problems.
While encouraging communities to find solutions to problems afflicting them, Canon Karanja regretted that some politicians had specialized in the politics of hate and balkanization. He emphasized the need for community leadership to identify their internal struggles aimed at building bridges with other communities.
He spoke during a meeting that brought together over 100 elders from Kalenjin, Luhya, Agikuyu and Abagusii Councils of elders as well as clergy drawn from Trans-Nzoia County. “The trouble with our narratives is that they are often not helpful and true. We cannot find a way to build bridges with other communities if they do not know the narratives we hold about them,” said Canon Karanja.
He added that: “Ethnic narratives are often not true. They stand in the way of national cohesion and integration. If we do not deal with them, Kenyans will fight”. The NCCK boss said that Kenya will only be liberated when the country’s engagement will be guided by interests other than bitterness, hate and anger.
Cannon Karanja called on communities to seek to understand their interests and collaborate with others based on the principle of enlightened self- interest and commit to contribute to national cohesion. “In enlightened self-interest, one community cannot resolve their issues, but must enter into a collaboration with others. The ability not just to understand your interests but in navigating to pursue them establish correctly how to pursue them,” he observed.
Canon Karanja’s sentiments were echoed by his deputy Dr. Nelson Makanda who reminded the elders that solutions to Kenya’s problems lie within them. On their part the elders acknowledged the importance of the meeting terming it as an eye opener.
Speaking on their behalf, County Coordinating Committee secretary Reuben Masengeli said: “We should do this for the sake of our grandchildren. We are the only people who will make Trans-Nzoia what we want it to be. Let us not rush to fix national issues at the expense of our county”.
Also present during the meeting were NCCK senior staff among them Programmes Director Susie Ibutu, Senior Programmes Officers Joseph Ng’etich and Grace Muthungu and various Regional Coordinators.
The meeting was part of a series of initiatives by the Council’s, whose main agenda is to foster national cohesion and integration among the Kenyan communities ahead of next year’s general election.