News / Africa

    Kenya Group Begins Campaign to Ease Tension after Terror Attack

    A policeman and photographers take cover after hearing gun shots near the Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi, Sept. 23, 2013.
    A policeman and photographers take cover after hearing gun shots near the Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi, Sept. 23, 2013.
    Peter Clottey
    The chairman of Kenya’s National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) says his organization has launched a nationwide media campaign to ease tensions between various communities. 

    The move follows week-end terrorist attack on a popular shopping mall in the capital, Nairobi, killing over 60 people.   Al-Shaba, a Somalia-based hardline Islamic group, has claimed responsibility.

    Mzalendo Kibunjia says the new sensitization program comes after some Kenyans demanded the expulsion of Somali refugees.

    “That tells you the kind of tension that is likely to happen in subsequent days unless some intervention or some outreach work is done by the commission and other people of goodwill to Kenya,” said Kibunjia.

    He says the NCIC faces a stiff challenge in carry out its mandate following the terrorist assault on the Westgate shopping mall.

    “Definitely because of this attack it has made our work difficult, and I say that with the experience we’ve had previously when we had some attacks in Eastleigh, which is a suburb of Nairobi [with a high concentration of Somalis],” said Kibunjia. “It took a lot of outreach to tell Kenyans that crimes are not committed by tribes, clans or regions but they are committed by individuals. So definitely, yes our work will be difficult.” 

    Some observers have expressed concern that Kenyans of Somali origin or Somali refugees could face reprisals. But, Kibunjia says his group aims to change that view.

    “As a commission we need to begin [activities that promote] healing, reconciliation and cohesion.  [We must try] to tell Kenyans that although we have indigenous Somalis in Kenya, it doesn’t mean that they are a part and parcel of the small element of Somali-Somalis committing these heinous crimes in Kenya,” said Kibunjia. “It’s very important to be proactive to make sure that those tensions don’t begin.”

    Kibunjia says the NCIC will continue with its work despite the difficulty it faces due to the rising tensions between ethnic groups.

    “We are developing radio messages, and we have already asked some of the media departments to begin developing messages that can go on the radio so that those tensions are lessened before they escalate,” said Kibunjia. “There are also some who are coming up saying ‘please let us hold together, this is an international attack,’  and I think that message is also beginning to sink [in].”

    Kibunjia called for the Kenyans to come together in light of the attacks.

    “We have been on this road before, but our unity is what made us to pull through this process.  I would want to give, for example, the way Kenyans have responded by donating blood and money to help some of the families that have suffered,” said Kibunjia. “That same spirit that we show when we are under attack, is that same spirit that should prevail as we go through this process.”
    Clottey interview with Prof. Mzalendo Kibunjia, Kenya's NCIC chairman
    Clottey interview with Prof. Mzalendo Kibunjia, Kenya's NCIC chairmani
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X

    You May Like

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora