Speech By The Commission Secretary During The Pamoja Confeference At Safari Park Hotel On 10th June 2014
Your Excellency the President of the Republic of Kenya Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta,
Members of Parliament,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
The National Cohesion and Integration Commission would like to thank your Excellency the President for accepting to open this conference. Your presence here today is indicative of the importance your Government attaches to national cohesion and integration. Indeed a key pillar of the Jubilee Manifesto is UNITY.
It is virtually impossible for Kenyans to realize economic development and growth which we desire if we are not united; if we do not work together to achieve our collective vision of a prosperous nation.
NCIC has continued to play its role of increasing inter-ethnic understanding and drawing attention to the benefits of diversity and the dangers of hate speech and intolerance. Kenyans have become more vigilant than they were before NCIC was formed in ensuring that we are a nation that celebrates diversity.
NCIC has held conversations across the country which have provided a platform for discussion on negative ethnicity and Kenyans are more knowledgeable about the value of celebrating our unity in diversity. Furthermore the ethnic audits conducted by NCIC have awakened national awareness on the challenges of exclusion within the public service.
We have also provided forums in which communities affected by violent conflict have discussed and found local solutions to the problems they face. Through dialogues and intercultural understanding, communities can solve their problems peacefully.
As the Commission takes stock of the progress it has made since it was established in 2008, one of the major concerns is how to make peace a culture, not only during elections but at all times. While as a Commission we appreciate that achieving a culture of peace is still a challenge, we know from our experience in the last four years that it can be done.
The feat accomplished in delivering a peaceful 2013 General Election is a clear example that Kenyans can transcend the culture of violence and build a more cohesive and integrated country.
Although we continue to forge ahead in vigor, NCIC faces some challenges that ought to be addressed.
The term for the NCIC Commissioners ended in September 2013. We are aware that the Government through the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government has embarked on amending the law to cure some defect. We request that the process be accelerated so that NCIC can be fully operational.
In the recent past, NCIC has witnessed an upsurge of hate speech especially in social media. This is worrying because it is the youth who use social media more than any other demography. Our nation cannot be built on hate and intolerance. We call upon Kenyans to accept one another irrespective of race, ethnicity, clan or gender.
We are thankful for the confidence and trust that Kenyans have in the Commission. We also appreciate the constructive criticism we have at times received. Together we can achieve a higher sense of national consciousness and nationhood. Together we can build a cohesive, integrated, strong and prosperous nation.
Finally while the Commission has the mandate to facilitate and promote cohesion and integration it does not enjoy monopoly. The Commission is happy to partner with others such as the religious fraternity community elders and civil society in the building of a cohesive Kenyan society. This conference is a perfect example of such partnerships.