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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid