Hon. Dr. Hassan Wario, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Sports and Culture;

Dr. Belio Kipsang, Principal Secretary Ministry of Education Science and Technology

Ms. Nardos Bekele-Thomas, Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations system in Kenya;

Senior Government Officials present;

Distinguished Participants and Facilitators;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

I feel highly delighted this morning to grace the official launch of Amani Clubs and commemoration of the International Peace day of Peace. The theme of this year's commemoration as declared by the United Nations is “Parternships for Peace – Dignity for All”. It is therefore not a coincidence that the launch of Amani clubs is on the same day as the International day of Peace.

Ladies and Gentlemen

The Commission believes that all communities in Kenya should and must always acknowledge that Kenya does not belong to any particular ethnic group or a combination of groups. After the promulgation of the Constitution, it is important that all communities observe and respect human rights and uphold the values and principles of the Constitution. Good relations, peaceful coexistence and cohesion among communities are a key ingredient for sustainable development and growth. The Kenyan citizenry has a critical role of ensuring that as a nation, we realize peace, prosperity and cohesion.

Peace is a state of harmony characterized by the lack of violent conflict. Commonly understood as the absence of hostility, peace also suggests the existence of healthy or newly healed interpersonal or international relationships, prosperity in matters of social or economic welfare, the establishment of equality, and a working political order that serves the true interests of all. In international relations, peacetime is not only the absence of war or conflict, but also the presence of cultural and economic understanding and unity.

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21st of September. The United Nations General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. The theme of this year’s commemoration is “Partnerships for Peace – Dignity for All” which aims to highlight the importance of all segments of society to work together to strive for peace. The United Nations invites all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities during the Day, and to otherwise commemorate the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.

NCIC’s objectives include the elimination of all forms of ethnic or racial discrimination and discourage persons, institutions, political parties and associations from advocating or promoting discrimination; to enhance tolerance, understanding and acceptance of diversity in all aspects of national life; and to promote respect for religious, cultural and linguistic diversity in a plural society. The Commission would therefore like to utilize the occasion of the International Day of Peace to rally Kenyans to appreciate diversity and nurture harmony and peaceful coexistence between persons of different communities and social classes.

Ladies and Gentlemen;

The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) envision a Kenyan society whose values are harmonious and non-discriminatory for peaceful co-existence and integration. The Commission endeavors to invest in the youth, especially in learning institutions, since learning institutions offer an excellent platform to socialize youths into principles of non-violence and national values in building a peaceful multi-ethnic nation. Targeting the young people in school and equipping them with the right values and virtues before they exit to the larger community is an effective way for character formation and promoting national cohesion, tolerance and integration.

It is for this reason that the Commission in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology have, through consultative processes, developed the guidelines for the establishment of Peace (Amani) clubs. This is in cognisance of the pivotal role the youth play in nation building and their potential in making a difference in eliminating discrimination on the basis of ethnicity and other traits that undermine national cohesion and integration. The Commission therefore seeks to strengthen the establishment of Peace (Amani) clubs in primary schools, secondary schools and institutions of higher learning. Several workshops have been held in over ten counties to sensitize teachers, students and youths to embrace Amani Clubs.

Ladies and Gentlemen;

Through Amani Clubs, the Commission hopes to inculcate the appreciation of diversity amongst students from different ethnic, racial and religious communities. The clubs are aimed at reducing the involvement of youth in violence by giving them the skills of citizenship, dispute resolution and establishment of peer mediation structures and peace education activities in the schools.

The clubs will be used as an avenue to promote good relations, harmony and peaceful co-existence amongst students and between schools and their neighbouring communities. Club members would then influence their peers to participate in activities that promote the appreciation of diversity, peace, tolerance and national unity.

Ladies and Gentlemen;

As you are well aware, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission is mandated it to among other things, facilitate and promote equality of opportunity, good relations, harmony and peaceful co-existence between persons of different ethnic and racial communities of Kenya, and to advise the Government on all aspects thereof. The Commission has done well in its responsibility of encouraging national cohesion and integration by ensuring that no form of discrimination takes root in our beloved nation and that where it has taken root, the Commission utilizes the established mechanisms to address the same.

Ladies and gentlemen;

Despite the Commission’s effort since inception, negative ethnicity still poses a significant challenge in Kenya. Negative ethnicity has continued to be perpetuated for political gains through political parties that have been organised along ethnic and regional lines. The country’s politics, which pervades the daily lives of Kenyans, is mainly driven by ethnically based party vehicles and coalitions. Moreover, values of tolerance, appreciation and embracing unity in diversity have been severely eroded. Kenya’s future as a nation-state depends to a large extent on the need to recognize and celebrate diversity and the need to build a strong and cohesive national character.

In this regard, I call upon each one of you to play his/her role in ensuring that Kenya remains a peaceful and cohesive nation. We should join hands and partner with all other Kenyans to promote harmony and peaceful co-existence among different communities and ensure that Kenyans tolerate each other by curbing hate speech, being tolerant to divergent views and sensitizing the public on the dangers of youth radicalisation.

We should all be at the forefront in advocating for peaceful co-existence among the citizenry and objectively educate Kenyans on the importance of national cohesion. Separately the Faith Based Organizations should use their calling and moral obligation to preach harmony and tolerance among Kenyans irrespective of their ethnic and religious background.

Ladies and Gentlemen;

Allow me to underscore education as a key pillar in the building of a united and a stable nation. The education sector must therefore strive to make a significant contribution towards the development of habits, attitudes and character, which will enable its citizens bear the responsibilities of a democratic citizenry.

Since schools are the second institution of socialization after the family, they are key in inculcating the spirit of national cohesion and integration. Schools promote national cohesion and integration in a number of ways, including the mainstreaming issues of national cohesion in the school curriculum by ensuring that the subjects taught highlight on issues of national cohesion.

Students need to be taught about the need for patriotism with emphasis on the values in the national anthem, learning to love ones country and an appreciation of diversity. The dangers of negative ethnicity, tribalism and religious intolerance should be clearly spelt out. The school curriculum should also promote national values as espoused in Article 10 of the country’s constitution. Above all, I would like to urge all of you to take a leading role in establishing Amani Clubs in your respective schools.

Ladies and Gentlemen;

As I conclude, I wish to re-emphasize the paramount importance of promoting peace in this country. This calls for a multi-pronged approach and strong partnerships. I urge you all to become agents of peace and embrace peace as a national culture.

Thank You and God Bless You.

Contact Details

National Cohesion and Integration Commission

KMA Center 6th Floor, Mara Rd, Upper hill

P. O. Box 7055-00100 Nairobi

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020 2786 000


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