Chief Justice Martha Koome has encouraged students and young professionals to use their knowledge and skills to promote peaceful coexistence and end the culture of violence especially during elections.
She said the youth were the future pillars of the country and challenged them to harness their large numbers to build an environment that embraces peaceful resolution of disputes.
The CJ noted that Kenya had made great strides in conducting peaceful elections following measures taken after the disputed 2007 polls and urged the youth to help entrench the gains made.
She said this in a speech read on her behalf by Meru Presiding Judge Edward Muriithi at the fifth national convention of the Universities and Colleges Students Peace Association of Kenya (UCSPAK).
The two-day event at Kenya Methodist University (Kemu), facilitated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), deliberated on the role of young people in peaceful elections.
CJ Koome regretted that some people believe in violent resolution of disputes and that peace was difficult to realise, urging the youth to help rescue Kenya from such scepticism.
“The international media trooped to Kenya, as has been the ritual every five years, waiting to report to the world of outbreaks of election violence. But Kenyans proved the naysayers wrong and affirmed that the peacebuilding that we embraced after 2007 was bearing fruits,” she said.
She reminded the student leaders that the Constitution embraces and celebrates pluralism and diversity and urged them to use their openness to new ideas to cultivate tolerance.
“The students gathered here are the future intellectual and moral elite of the nation … I challenge you to declare your wholehearted commitment and work towards the idea that violence ought to be done away with and should remain and anachronism just to be studied in history classes,” she appealed.
The CJ also encouraged politicians to have confidence in the courts by directing their political conflicts there, emphasising that the Judiciary is impartial.
“We have put in place an efficient electoral disputes resolution process that ensures that disputes relating to elections are resolved expeditiously, competently and fairly,” she said.
“Thus, all political players are assured that the Kenyan Judiciary is an independent and fair arbiter of political disputes and any disputes can be channelled to the courts.”
The CJ expressed optimism that by embracing the resolution of societal conflicts through courts, Kenya would cultivate a culture of peace.