While burning houses and deadly violence fills the news here in Kenya, AGLI has played a part in a great peacemaking activity!
The Kipsigis are a Kalenjin group around Kericho in the Rift Valley. The Kisii are their neighbors across the border in Nyanza Province. As soon as the election results were announced, the Kipsigis began targeting the Kisii; they were incorrectly perceived as having supported Kibaki in the election. Last Thursday [1/21] when a Kipsigis Member of Parliament [David Kimutai Too] was killed by a Kisii policeman, extensive violence broke out on the border between the two groups. Between ten and twenty people were killed; many, many wounded; and tens of houses burned.
Jared is an AVP facilitator in Kisii and coordinator of the Uzima Foundation program there (Uzima works with youth empowerment). He is married to a Kipsigis woman who had to go into hiding in order keep from being attacked.
Malesi Kinaro wrote a proposal to AGLI to support negotiation/reconciliation meetings between the Kipsigis and Kisii elders. Naturally I agreed.
I just received the following text message from Malesi:
"Jared is walking in the air. He just finished chairing a meeting that brought together District Commissioners, Members of Parliament, and elders from Kispsigis and Kisii. He says it went so well he doesn't think fighting will continue. We have been working to see this day when we make the first step. AGLI, through FPCD (Friends for Peace and Community Development), AGLI's partner in western Kenyan, gave 108,000/- ($1550) for this and Uzima gave 40,000/- ($575). The journey is still long and much money needed. The Lord reigns!" [NOTE: /- is the symbol for Kenyan Shillings.]
If this has saved the life of even one person, our efforts have been rewarded. Thanks to Jared for this great effort!
David Zarembka, Coordinator
African Great Lakes Initiative of the Friends Peace Teams
P. O. Box 189, Kipkarren River 50241 Kenya 254 726 590 783
1001 Park Avenue, St Louis, MO 63104 USA 314/621-7262