Women from Chuka area of Tharaka Nithi County on Saturday joined other Kenyans in participating in the nationwide walk organized by various organizations to promote peace during the electioneering period.
The women walked for five kilometres within Chuka town and its’ outskirts in an event organized by United Nations Women for Peace Association, the National Council of NGOs, Maendeleo ya Wanawake, the Kenya Police Service, and the Kenya Red Cross Society.
Speaking to reporters after the event at Chuka Picnic grounds, where he planted a tree to mark the event, Meru South Sub-county Deputy County Commissioner (DCC), Nkaduda Hiribae called on the residents of Tharaka-Nithi County to maintain peace before, during, and after the elections.
“We should conduct civilized, sober and responsible political campaigns where people of different political affiliations sit and listen when others speak without heckling them which can lead to violence, yet we will all live together after the elections,” said Hiribae.
The Tharaka-Nithi County Police Commander, Ms. Donatha Chari, who also accompanied the Women during the walk revealed that the ‘Election Bila Noma’ initiative was a move to promote peace in the area.
The County Police Boss who was accompanied by the Meru South Sub-county Police Commander, Ms. Yunia Onyancha, called upon all stakeholders to join hands and preach the need for maintaining peace during this electioneering period.
“Let’s all be good ambassadors of this initiative as a proactive means and starting point to address gender-based violence and protection for the rights of women, girls and any other person that may be affected by any form of violence,” Ms. Chari said.
She said it is imperative to be cognizant of the fact that even as residents exercise their democratic right to elect the leaders of their choice, that there is life after elections and hence desist from acts that lead to violence.
“As the police, we do not belong to any political party and we are non-partisan, our work is to provide security and to see that peace has prevailed throughout,” added Ms. Chari.
The police boss said that the security personnel will exercise restraint, but may use force to preserve peace and protect human life if necessary.
The United Nations Women for Peace Association representative for Tharaka-Nithi County, Ms. Lillian Karimi Nyaga, said that it is women and children who suffer most when violence occurs and called on the youth to desist from disruptive activities that jeopardize peace and destroy society.
“Politicians should also desist from inciting people to violence because at the end of the day, it is our mothers, sisters and children among other ordinary people who suffer,” Ms. Nyaga said.
Similar sentiments were echoed by Ms. Pamela Gatwiri Mutembei, a Director from the National Council of NGOs, Upper Eastern region, who said that all Kenyans need one another during and even after the elections.