|The Action members arriving for a community forum|
Kibera is a place of many complexities. In the late 1990's running to the early 2000, the major issue that used to create crisis now and then was the landlord-tenant issue. A problem that was caused by misunderstanding from both parties, it at one time brought a major violence that it took the government and elders intervention to see it end. Then there was the political party youth wingers who were a law to themselves. the issue was such a big threat that some residents decided to leave Kibera and seek settlement somewhere. this was followed by the political cashes whose major impact was seen in 2008 post election violence. in the post election violence, the politically instigated violence took a shape of ethnic communities fighting one another. while peace initiatives in Kibera, The Action included, did a major work in restoring peace during the just concluded elections, Stellamaris Ndunge, a resident of Mashimoni believes there is another emerging potential threat to peace.
Here is the story:
“I first attended the project activities during the Opinion Shapers Forum held at Anglican Church of Kenya Church in Makina. It was such an amazing thing to see groupings that have always been fighting each other sit at the table and talk to one another. I personally know the people who were invited for the occasion and could not believe that such hard-liners were really listening to one another. The event challenged me a lot. In Kibera, I can say that ethnic communities are now metamorphosing to class and territorial groupings. These groupings pose real danger to the community than the ethnic divides that were earlier experienced.
As such, in the past two months, and even earlier before that, I have embarked on a journey to reach out to these youth groupings and make them see that they need each other, other than creating territories that are out of bounds to those who do not belong. I see this as a significant realisation because not so many people have seen the dangers lying in these groupings. It shall be very hard in the future for Kibera to work together if people are already grouping and regrouping along class, territories, peer and villages circle.
The project activities made me realise a potential threat to community harmony. It made me realise that the emerging situation in Kibera might be harder to manage the already than existing problem of people divided along ethnic lines. Whereas people from same ethnic communities may share very little apart from the language and culture, people from the same class or religion share same beliefs, ideologies, way of life and have unseen common bond. It will be very hard to contain a situation of ideological and philosophical differences.”
The story has a silver lining though. The Kibera populace has acquired major awareness in peace building and reconciliation as tools for peaceful co-existence. the lady believes something can be done. The Kibera society would not sit back and watch as gains made are watered down by few individuals. there are ways and there is a willingness too.
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This project is supported by the European Union