Statement on the Occasion of the First Anniversary of the National Peace and Reconciliation Accord


This statement is issued by the Concerned Citizens for Peace (CCP) on the occasion of the first anniversary of the post-election crisis and the subsequent National Peace and Reconciliation Accord.

CCP is a coalition of organisations that worked together and separately after the announcement of the disputed election results and the subsequent violence to rally for dialogue and resolution of the crisis, becoming the rallying point for the voice of dialogue at a time when the country was on the edge of total collapse.

On the occasion of the first anniversary of the Accord, we wish to express our relief that the country survived the crisis - and register our concerns and suggestions about the state of our country one year later:


1. We acknowledge and appreciate the courage and dedication of President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga in signing the Accord, and for their commitment to ensuring that the coalition government holds. We also sincerely thank Dr. Kofi Annan and the African Union Panel of Eminent Personalities for brokering the agreement, and for their continued interest and support in ensuring the success of the Accord. We recognise that the Coalition Government is the basis of our current peace, however tentative.

2. We acknowledge the numerous and commendable efforts of ordinary Kenyans, faith communities, private sector and civil society organizations to advocate on behalf of the afflicted and to promote understanding, healing and reconciliation. During the crisis, many Kenyans took initiative to end the violence and restore calm in the country. Many volunteered their time and resources to work with the youth in the epicentres of violence, with politicians, with the Kofi Annan mediation team, with SMS campaigns, with FM stations and other forms of media all in an effort to save our country. Ordinary people contributed money, telephone airtime, prayers, flowers, secretarial services, intellectual input and meals, while mobile phone companies and media houses offered their facilities for free. All these and many others are true heroes and heroines of Kenya. We thank you!

3. The past year has been marked by soul-searching, innovative and groundbreaking work showing that even the most difficult times can draw out admirable qualities from Kenyans. We wish to acknowledge the efforts of civil society and non-governmental organizations to speak out for accountability, justice and peace and encourage inter-ethnic understanding. We appreciate the efforts of religious leaders to encourage a spirit of confession, forgiveness, and reconciliation. We also acknowledge the work undertaken by various government departments to rebuild the country and its institutions. We equally applaud the progress made in the implementation of the Accord, particularly the drafting and passing of relevant legislation to implement certain aspects of Agenda Four. We similarly recognise efforts made by women and women's initiatives 'to contribute to the peace processes in Kenya.

Our Concerns

4. We nevertheless have concerns about the state of our country today. The signing of the peace agreement and the formation of the Coalition Government were never intended as ends in themselves. Rather these were aimed at creating an environment in which the underlying problems that finally brought Kenya to its knees could be addressed in unity. In particular, the broader purpose of the Accord was national healing, reconciliation and the restoration of our nationhood. These goals are lagging behind and in great need of dynamic initiative and leadership.

5. There is a growing sense of disquiet and general malaise in our land.Today we have corruption scandals, a cavalier attitude of the ruling class illustrated by among others MPs' refusal to pay taxes on flimsy grounds while the citizens face heavy financial burdens, a food crisis, the economic downturn, and youth who are increasingly restless and losing hope for a better life.

6. With regard to the implementation of Agenda Four, we are concerned that the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC), the proposed Special Tribunal for Kenya and the constitution-making process could be turned into divisive, rather than transformative processes, if the political class does not move to create an environment conducive for these important undertakings. Instead of rallying the country together, some of the politicians have sustained their partisan and divisive rhetoric. Internal dissension among the main coalition partners and positioning for the 2012 elections appears to hamper the two principals from making any radical decisions some of which, like the Mau Forest settlement, have huge implications for the environmental survival of the country.

7. The plight of Displaced Kenyans (now just called IDPs') is simply a matter of national shame and a sign of unbelievable callousness. Thousands of Kenyan citizens who were self-sufficient remain fearful or materially incapable of returning to their homes and have lived in despicable squalor for the last one year. The longer these Kenyans are homeless, the higher the human and material costs of reintegration will be. In both rural and urban centres, people have been allowed to continue to occupy others' land and property with impunity. The intended national reconciliation cannot be achieved in these circumstances. In addition, the attempted secret burial of some of the bodies of those who died in the violence speaks of insensitivity to the emotional needs of the concerned families.

Our Appeal and Call to Action

8. On Remembrance and Contemplation: As we mark the First Anniversary of the Accord that gave us this second chance, we call on all Kenyans to dedicate the last weekend of February (27th to 1st March 2009) to remembrance, prayer and contemplation. We urge Kenyans to hold vigils, prayers and memorials for continued peace in the country, and to contemplate and act on the lessons from the crisis last year and its aftermath.

9. On Our Responsibility as Individual Citizens: While rightly holding our leaders responsible for much of the current malaise, we all have individual responsibility and power to do our utmost to build a just and peaceful country. We can choose to be a force for justice and reconciliation within our communities. We can choose to shun those of our leaders who preach ethnic hatred and want to continue to divide us. We can reach out to neighbours and those in need. We can decide to return that which does not rightfully belong to us. We can choose to welcome Displaced Kenyans and assure them of their security. We can choose to forgive. We call upon all Kenyans to exercise their individual power and leadership to bring change. Indeed, Yes We Can.

10. On Resettlement of Displaced Kenyans and Restoration of Properties: We call upon the government, all leaders and the communities concerned to single-mindedly work towards the sensitive resettlement of all Displaced Kenyans. Similarly, we call upon the government to ensure the smooth and peaceful restoration of all illegally acquired and occupied properties to their rightful owners.

11. On Accountability: We call upon the President, the Prime Minister and Parliament to act in the best interest of the nation and quickly build consensus on the best avenues of accountability for the violations during the post-election violence. We demand that voices of civil society and legal experts be listened to on how to seal legal loopholes that may be exploited to avoid accountability.

12. On National Healing and Reconciliation: Reconciliation cannot succeed if it is viewed only as a government programme. We call on all Kenyans, faith leaders, civil society, media and politicians to take it upon themselves to encourage a spirit of humility, repentance and forgiveness that could contribute to national healing and reconciliation.

13. Constitutional Review: We urge that the constitutional review agenda be given the highest priority and be concluded well before the next elections. We call on Kenyans of goodwill, particularly the media, religious and civil society leaders, to insist that the constitution-making process be insulated from partisan political interests from now henceforth. It is at moments such as these that focused, dedicated, courageous and inspirational leadership is required from all sectors of Kenyan society.

14. Vision 2030 and the Ethical Conduct of Leaders: We ask that all leaders live by the ethical and value standards articulated in various sections of the Vision 2030 document. Without making values and ethics a central pillar in our quest for renewal and progress. Vision 2030 will not succeed.

Let all with one accord
In common bond united
Build this our nation together
Mungu Ibariki Kenya!

Concerned Citizens for Peace

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