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Christian Aid calls for political will to end crisis in Kenya

Christian Aid is calling on political leaders in Kenya to focus on ending the violence which has swept the country since the elections last December 27. Unless the violence stops, it will be impossible to find a durable solution to the political crisis.

Whether rigged or not, the election results should be considered as inconclusive, given the margin of 250 000 votes in a country of 35 million. A zero sum political game in which the winner takes all can only cement the polarisation and aggravate the crisis.

‘A political solution which allows no winners and no losers should be sought to restore peace, rebuild confidence in national processes and institutions, and in the long run, end the polarisation,’ said Dereje Alemayehu, Christian Aid’s East Africa Programme Manager.

The ethnic tensions in Kenya cannot be ignored; although the disputed election results did not cause the ethnic tension it did act as a catalyst for the latent tensions in the country.

‘A mid and long term solution to the crisis must take the historical evolution of the ethnic tension and the political and economic consequences of this rift into consideration,’ said Mr Alemayehu.

Christian Aid says it is imperative that the Kenyan political elite show leadership to end the escalating crisis. Both the ruling and the opposition political leaders should call on their supporters to end the violence and demonstrate this by engaging in serious political negotiations to find a lasting solution.

‘We call upon them to overcome partisanship and the sprit of vengeance for short term political gains and understand that any political agenda cannot be implemented by sacrificing the cohesion of a nation. No democracy can be established on the ruins of a country,’ Mr Alemayehu said.

Christian Aid partners are engaged in emergency relief and advocacy work. Its church partners are actively organising relief aid through the coordination of ACT Kenya forum, a network of faith based organisations.

Christian Aid Muslim partners and allies are active in interfaith coalitions to put pressure on ruling and opposition parties to seriously negotiate for peace. Secular partners are working in different coalitions challenging the political class to arrive at a negotiated political solution to the crisis.

But they, as with the political leaders, must speak with one voice. ‘We urge our partners and Church leaders to speak in once voice, to lead their constituencies and followers to transcend ethnic divisions so as to make peace and security a reality for all Kenyans,’ added Mr Alemayehu.       


Notes to Editors:

For more information contact Judith Melby at jcmelby@christian-aid.org or +44 (0) 207 523 2408