Garissa residents receive training on need to maintain peace ahead of by election
A group of NGOs have teamed up to offer trainings to residents of Garissa township on the need to maintain peace before during and after the polls.
Voters in Garissa township constituency are set to go for a by election ,this is after the seat was left vacant after the MP Aden Duale was sworn in as Defense Cabinet secretary.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has slated the by-election for Garissa and Kandara constituencies for January 5, 2023.
Garissa, a cosmopolitan constituency has over the years witnessed high octane politics compared to other constituencies in the county.in some instances supporters of various candidates have clashes.
A few weeks to election Defense CS and immediate Garissa township MP Aden Duale’s convoy was attacked by supporters of his rival while campaigning in Bula Iftin.
Speaking to the press on the sidelines of the one day workshop, Ijara women for Peace[IWP] coordinator Khadija Ibrahim said the main objective of the campaigned that has been dubbed’uchaguzi bila balaa’ was to foster collaborative and inclusive community-led prevention of election-related conflicts in the area ahead of the by election.
Khadija said that such meetings bringing different stakeholders are important since they help in planning and coming up with recommendations on the way forward.
“Women play big role election related violence in Garissa context, they are used to fuel conflict through poetry and songs. Therefore, we are here to facilitate actions that bring women together to build peace in the community,” she said.
On his part Ismail Ali called on residents of Garissa to remain peaceful before during and after the polls saying election was a one day event.
“At the end of the day we have a country and county to protect. this is where we all call home and sop we should all strive to maintain peace like we did during the just concluded polls,” he said.
Among the recommendations reached on were the need to conduct peace Caravans in identified hotspot areas in Garissa township. This includes Soko ngombe, Garissa Ndogo, Bula Iftin, Bula sheikh and waberi to start community healing process.
Religious leaders to continue conducting peace and reconciliation sermons in all mosque,Security agencies to continue security patrols in Garissa markets and shopping centers.
Local radio FMs to use to convey positives messaging and religious leaders to use them to reach wider community.
The stakeholders observed that IEBC to consider to relocate Garissa ndogo polling center to safe place since it’s just an open space which is not safe for both security and election staff crowds cannot be controlled.
Community to give education priority since literacy can reduces chances of election related violence.
The meeting was attended by security officials, religious leaders, women, the youth ,members from the civil society organization,PWD and election monitors who were trained during the elections.
The program is being funded by Search for Common Ground through European Union[EU].