Community Dialogue Forum in Kilifi County Promotes Social Cohesion

News Mon, 10/08/2018 - 17:19 Share

On 4 October 2018 a community dialogue forum was conducted in Bamba, Ganze Sub-County in Kilifi. The event was organized by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, the national government and Kilifi County.  The objective of the forum was to bring together different communities and stakeholders to address issues on intra-community conflict, insecurity, youth unemployment, land disputes among others for a united, peaceful, stable and prosperous community and Kilifi County.  The forum brought together 100 men and 32 women, 52 of which were from the the youth sector. The alleged killing of elderly men by the younger generation had been cited as one of the key security concerns by the local administration and this could disrupt peace and order in the community, and further hostility and social disintegration. Land disputes where the elderly accused the youth as looking for short-cuts to own property. The elderly are allegedly killed after accusations of witchcraft. One old man claimed “they accuse us of witchcraft and eliminating us so that they can inherit our land and everything we own”.

The unemployed youth blamed the government for failing to create and provide job opportunities leading to most of them idling around and engaging in drug and substance abuse. Kent Simiyu, Director for Youth and Gender from the National Government, urged the youth to take advantage of existing government youth programmes such as the Youth Fund and Uwezo Fund  which offer livelihood support to the youth. He advised them to organize their groups and think of business ideas to maximize their benefits from these programmes. The youth representatives informed the Director that they do not have adequate information on the programmes and requested for sensitization meetings in the coming weeks. 

Mr. Richard Karani, Deputy County Commissioner (DCC), Ganze Sub-County, encouraged the residents to proactively share information with the police and administrators their security and other safety concerns , and if they notice any suspicious activities.   The DCC emphasized that “the major challenge we are experiencing in trying to prevent, mitigate or respond to security issues is the reluctance of the community to share information with the police and in good time. For us to curb insecurity and intra-community conflict, we need to work together as partners and collaborate all the time. Any information you share will be treated with utmost confidentiality, please do feel free to keep us updated.”  

The participants informed the DCC that they do not feel secure sharing information with the authorities. They also shared that there is perception that perpetrators are never dealt with adequately when apprehended. The youth challenged the government representatives and IOM to organize similar community dialogue meetings across the subcounty so that the message would reach all youth and encourage them to engage in income generating activities and leave the old men alone to enjoy their last days on earth. 

In his closing remarks, Mr. Karani reminded the youth that they have to respect and care for their aging parents. He also cautioned all members of the community to respect other people’s property in order to promote a peaceful coexistence, and to focus more on development activities. He also promised the community that he would organize an open forum with the community and security personnel to address all relevant issues shared in this Forum.