‘Vijana Bila Ukabila’ embark on final leg of Eldoret to Mombasa peace walk
A youth lobby group by the name ‘Vijana Bila Ukabila’ has embarked on the final leg of a 820km peace walk from Eldoret to Mombasa to thank Kenyans for conducting peaceful elections in August.
With the clarion call, “One Kenya, One people, One country” the group commenced the peace walk on November 16 and arrived in Nakuru on November 24 before proceeding to Nairobi. On Monday (November 28) the group was flagged off by Nairobi County Commissioner as they started they journey to Mombasa.
Julie Korir, who is the group’s secretary, said as young people their goal is to promote ethnic unity in solidarity with the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC).
“We want to thank all Kenyans for the peaceful elections in August. It is not easy walking from Eldoret to here but what is fulfilling is how Kenyans have been receiving and encouraging us to continue preaching peace in the country,” Ms Korir said.
The youths are giving their appreciation to Kenyans as this year’s election contrary to the other general elections and the months leading up to, and after, elections that have been the most violent periods in Kenya’s post-independence history, with thousands killed and hundreds of thousands displaced in election cycles since 2007.
Steven Omondi, chairman of the peace initiative, said long gone are the days when youths were used to cause violence as he commended them for not involving in violence.
“Our main agenda was to spread peace and bring the country together, but today we want to thank Kenyans for coming together and holding peaceful elections. Last year we came together walked the same distance and preached peace months before the election, and we are here again to say thank you,” Mr Omondi said.
The advent of multi-party democracy in Kenya in 1992 led to the ethnicization of politics, with parties coalescing around tribal power-brokers and an ever-changing political landscape as inter-ethnic alliances were formed and fell apart.
This trend has continued to characterize Kenya’s electoral landscape. In the absence of ideology-based political parties, tribal identities and manipulation of ethnic grievances remain the primary basis of political mobilization, with the threat of violence – and often its use – hanging over every election cycle.
The famous handshake in March 2018 between former President Uhuru Kenyatta and his then political opponent, Raila Odinga, was intended to signal an end to the acrimony which followed the 2017 presidential elections.
It was hailed as a landmark in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), which sought to lay a foundation for national healing, including pledges to end historical and electoral injustices and unite Kenyan citizens.