THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN MAINTAINING PEACE

A few days ago, I was at a local car wash in Eastlands with a friend of mine. As we were waiting for the car to be ready, the owner of the car wash, who happens to be friends with my friend, came to chat with us. He had just come from a rally with some other supporters of one of the main parties, and was so hyped. Since I am not into politics, I just stood there looking pretty as these two men discussed about campaigns and the forthcoming elections. Oh, before I go too far into the story, he is a beneficiary of the ‘Kazi kwa Vijana’ fund, that’s how he got to open the car wash. This car wash owner is from Western Kenya while my friend and I are from Nyanza. So the story that was discussed was whether the people of Western Kenya will vote for Mudavadi, who is from Western Kenya, to be the flag-bearer or President. He was so quick to say no and insisted that this time round, a candidate who has not won in the past elections MUST be President.

This statement caught my attention and I moved closer so that I could hear every word. What this man said next shook me to the core, he pointed to some trenches as said that if this particular politician does not win the elections, those trenches will be filled with people’s brains and flowing with blood. He added that ‘they’ (supporters of this politician) would proceed to vote with a pen on one hand and a machete on the other. WHAT?! He said that he would ensure that his wife and children are safe in the village, which is near the border of Kenya and Uganda, before coming back to Nairobi to prepare for the bloodshed, in the event the politician he’s supporting lost the elections.

What stuck with me, other than the image of trenches flowing with human blood and the sight of human brains scattered all over, is what is the wife chose not to go to the village with the children? Would he still go and do all these inhumane things? Since he seemed concerned about his wife and children, what can the wife, and other wives of men with such violent mentalities, so to ensure that the coming elections, and campaigns are done peacefully?

Women, for millennia, have been known to be peacemakers, peace builders and change makers. They play a major role in preventing a resolving conflict within homes, within their respective communities, nationally and internationally. As we prepare for the coming elections in August, it is important for women to discuss peace building and conflict resolution strategies. These discussions can be held in ‘chamas’ and other gatherings. Women need to play supportive and dynamic roles as midwives to peace in their respective communities.

Share your thoughts on how women can promote peace in the coming elections…

 

Words by: Linda Bonareri @linda_bonareri (@ywli_info)

 

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