The National Cohesion Team Determined to Deliver on their Mandate
Kenya is yet again at the verge of another general election; the first of its kind under the current Constitution. Following the threatened near collapse of the governance structure after the last general elections, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) was, together with other institutions, established to ensure that the country never goes down that road again.
Since NCIC became operational, we have purposed while addressing our wider long-term mandate, to work around key milestones identified as potential triggers and threats to national harmony. We have thus been able to among others: -
- Work with key relevant partners to deliver a peaceful referendum; to this end we called to attention the need to curb hate speech when conducting campaigns. So that campaigns would not be used as a tool of isolating ethnic groups of communities. The 2010 referendum was a success.
- Work with relevant partners to address the balkanization process that our education system was promoting by redressing the quota system, so as to promote respect for cultural, religious, linguistic and other forms of diversity in our plural society.
- The eighty five percent quota system is now history. In a few years we will not have 5 km radius graduates.
- Work with relevant partners to bring to the national limelight the need to diversify the ethnic composition in public institutions so as to promote equality of opportunity. The public universities are leading by example.
- Create awareness on the fact that our plurality should be seen as a strength and encourage free discourse on inter-ethnic and race relations. This will help develop and adopt an Ethnic and Race Relations Policy that will foster our constitutional intention of remaining a united and harmonious nation. The draft policy is now in the public domain for discussion. Assist us by making a contribution to NCIC. The full policy can be found on www.cohesion.or.ke
- With our sister Commissions and other institutions, we have laid an elaborate strategy to ensure free, fair, credible and above all a peaceful general election. We must break the jinx of having violence and ruining our economy during elections since 1992.
The National Cohesion and Integration Commission has noted with concern recent reports in the media regarding allegations of a standoff in the elections of a Vice Chairperson.
The Commission very recently lost a key member of the team, the late Vice Chairperson, Mary Onyango. This loss soon after revamping our strategies as a team to better focus in our bid to deliver a peaceful election is undoubtedly a big set back. We only laid Maria (as we fondly referred to her) to rest on the 13th of April 2012. We are still in the process of sorting out her personal matters. We have to address these very painful issues even as we continue to execute our mandate and not fail to do what Kenyans expect of us.
The issue of the election of a Vice Chairperson is an internal issue that we remain aware of and that we are addressing appropriately. Thus any pretence that there is a stand off in undertaking this simple process is uncalled for and untrue. We also note that no official communication in regard to this has been sought from NCIC.
Allow us to serve you and let us all remain sensitive to the impact or implication of statements we make.
Mzalendo N. Kibunjia, EBS PHD
Nairobi, 22nd May, 2012