By Ogova Ondego
Published February 13, 2013
A book ‘dedicated to all the people in Kenya who strive for peace, democracy and the rule of law’ shall be launched at Goethe-Institut in the Nairobi Central Business District on February 13, 2013. The chief guest at the function that is scheduled for 6.00PM shall be Dr Mzalendo Kibunjia, Chairman of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission of Kenya. Also present shall be Margit Hellwig-Bötte, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Kenya.
The book, Peace Building and Conflict Management in Kenya, is edited by Prof Johannes Michael Nebe, a German national. The book is a collaborative effort between students of Kenya’s Kenyatta University and Germany’s Trier University.
The book is timely as it comes at a time when Kenya is headed to the general elections on March 4, 2013 and the world is concerned that violence could erupt in the country as happened in the aftermath of a disputed Presidential poll in December 2007. More than 650,000 people were displaced, 1300 killed and many more raped and maimed. Some four Kenyans, among them Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto who are running for President and Deputy President, respectively, in the impeding elections, have been indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.
The findings in this book, says a pre-launch media release, will provoke a new way of thinking and actions aimed at improving the situation of peace-building in the Kenyan society. “Everybody has a role to play because peace, reconciliation and healing are the most fundamental cornerstones for social stability and democracy. Although it’s a small contribution it aims to enhance and encourage others to strengthen their political will to give Kenya a better way for a multi-ethnic state”, the media release issued in Nairobi says.
The launch of this book at Goethe-Institut appears to be in line with the organisation’s continuing efforts of promoting dialogue, peace and democracy following the December 2007 post-election violence in Kenya. Many like-minded human rights groups, intellectuals, mass media and, generally, concerned civil society groups, are doing whatever they can to ensure peace is maintained in the country in the run up to and after the March elections.
For Goethe-Institut, that journey began in early 2008 when, teaming up with Ford Foundation and Twaweza Communications, brought together academics and members of the general public to discuss what had led to the violence that had rocked Kenya in 2007/2008 in an attempt “to seek a deeper understanding of the challenges facing Kenya.” The result was a 260-page publication titled (Re)Membering Kenya: Identity, Culture and Freedom.
Divided into four sections the Mbugua wa Mungai and George Gona-edited book discusses ethnicity, identity, gender, land ownership, truth and justice, media and politics, and gerontocracy and generational competition.