Lamu County peace ambassadors, religious leaders, the Kiunga
Youth Bunge Initiative and other groups on Wednesday held a procession in Hindi town to commemorate the International Day of Peace.
The day is a United Nations-sanctioned holiday observed annually on September 21.
It was first celebrated in 1981 and is marked by many nations, political and military groups and ordinary people.
In Lamu, over 200 peace ambassadors, religious leaders and members of community-based groups walked over five kilometres from the Hindi GTZ Police Station to Hindi Prison area, through the streets of Hindi and back to the GTZ station.
Participants were dressed in white or blue and held banners and placards reiterating the need for peace.
Speaking during the event, Lamu Peace Ambassadors Committee chair Joseph Kamau urged county officials and the national government to address conflicts between pastoralists and farmers, landlessness, drug abuse among young people and unemployment.
They said these issues contributed to the lack of peace in Lamu.
“Peace means security and a vibrant economy in our country. As we mark World Peace Day [the other name for the holiday], let me first take this opportunity to thank all Kenyans for holding a peaceful election,” Mr Kamau said.
He added that Lamu and the national government should also address the squatter problem. “I believe if these challenges are fully addressed, peace will be automatic,” he said.
Cecilia Ng’ang’a, the Lamu Women and Peace Brigade chair, appealed to women to be at the forefront in preaching peace and cohesion across the country.
Ms Ng’anga said women and children were the most vulnerable when wars and other forms of violence broke out.
She said women and girls are raped and others physically assaulted.
“And that’s why as women of Lamu, we’re leading this procession to mark World Peace Day today. As mothers, we must fight to end any forms of violence and ensure peace is maintained in the country and the world,” she said.
Yunus Omar, a youth leader, lauded Kenyan youth for desisting from being used by politicians to cause chaos during last month’s elections.
Mr Omar advised the youth to stop accepting money from politicians to disrupt peace in the country.
“We need peace for development. The electioneering period is over. As youths, let’s agitate for prosperity through maintaining peace wherever we are,” he said.
The procession ended with speeches, cultural presentations, and a musical concert by local artistes at Hindi GTZ Police Station grounds.