NCIC adds to calls for Ruto, Raila talks

NCIC Chairman Samuel Kobia

National Cohesion and Integration Commission Chairman Samuel Kobia during a past event.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Pressure continues to mount on President William Ruto and Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition leader Raila Odinga to come to a truce and quell the strife in the country.

The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) and a group of eminent Kenyans are the latest to root for dialogue to end the discord.

NCIC Chairperson Samuel Kobia said Kenyans taking the law into their own hands is a recipe for chaos and called for an immediate stop to the demonstrations and counter-demonstrations and the adoption of dialogue.

Acknowledging that there are deep issues that need to be addressed, including the high cost of living, poverty and structural inequality, he urged Mr Odinga to seek alternative ways of addressing the issues.

“This (dialogue) is the option which is available. We cannot solve these issues by shouting at each other and invading property,” Dr Kobia said yesterday. He added that the destruction of mosques and churches that was witnessed in Kibera yesterday is a recipe for ethnic clashes that could tear the country apart.

Escalate tensions

“Such acts not only disturb the peace but also create worry that tensions may escalate into religious conflict and ethnic profiling,” he said.

For their part, the group of eminent Kenyans led by Green Thinking Action Party leader Isaac Kalua and Prof Patrick Lumumba warned that the current situation in the country could quickly deteriorate if an urgent solution is not found.

The group also includes former Nairobi Town Clerk Philip Kisia, Political Parties Liaison Committee vice chairperson Chris Kilonzo, Charles Wambugu, Dr Charles Maranga and Florence Machio.

They called on Azimio to call off the weekly demonstrations and give room for dialogue as a way of empathising with Kenyans who have lost their loved ones, been injured, maimed or lost property.

The leaders said that what looks like a political contest can quickly degenerate into a full-scale breakdown of law and order. They cited the invasion of private properties on Monday as an occurrence that can easily result in anarchy in the country.

“We are calling for a national engagement not just a dialogue. An urgent national conference that will bring together all sectors of the society to deliberate on the current situation and Kenya we want,” said Dr Kalua.

NCIC also condemned the destruction of private property.

On Monday, properties belonging to the family of former President Uhuru Kenyatta and Spectre East Africa, a company associated with Mr Odinga, were attacked by youth in retaliation to the ongoing protests.

The attacks came after utterances by political leaders allied to Kenya Kwanza implying that properties belonging to the Kenyattas should be invaded and subdivided.

Prof Lumumba pointed out that the Constitution gives Kenyans the right to express themselves on any issue but in a peaceful manner.

“Of course, Kenyans have a right to picket and demonstrate peacefully as per the Constitution. But what we are now dealing with is beyond what is right or wrong. It is whether we will have a country tomorrow. You can only do business and invest in a country that functions as a country,” he said.

Consequently, they called upon every Kenyan to take individual responsibility for peace.

“We urge the Executive, Legislature and the Council of Governors to convene an urgent meeting to address the prevailing challenges, particularly the cost of living,” said Mr Kisia.

Ms Machio said there is serious unemployment and the high cost of living and that Kenya’s economy needs to be fixed.