Healthcare, National Cohesion

Why Reconciliation Can be a powerful catalyst for Kenya’s Transformation

Since the Nation­al Prayer Break­fast held on June 7th, 2023 at the Safari Park Hotel, my mind has con­tin­ued to be trans­fixed by the run­ning theme of the pow­er of rec­on­cil­i­a­tion. Observ­ing the issues that bedev­il our nation every day, I sin­cere­ly appre­ci­ate the urgent need to shun con­flict with nature and one anoth­er at all costs.

Con­flict rips apart the nation­al fab­ric and desta­bi­lizes soci­ety on all fronts. Accord­ing to the UN Human Impact Assess­ment (HIA), Twen­ty-two per­cent of house­holds in Ukraine are spend­ing over a quar­ter of their month­ly income on health­care. Fur­ther, six­ty-five per cent of house­holds report­ed a decrease in income since Feb­ru­ary 2022. Con­se­quent­ly, 44 per cent of house­holds are unable to afford essen­tial needs.

Such is the emo­tion­al, social and eco­nom­ic impact of con­flict. Yet there is more. Conflict’s destruc­tive effects extend beyond the death, injury and destruc­tion expe­ri­enced in the short term. A World Bank Report revealed how con­flict and fragili­ty can result in mas­sive neg­a­tive impacts that spread across decades and even generations.

Kenya’s 2007–2008 post-elec­tion vio­lence attests to this.  In March 2008, the UN Nations Human Rights Office revealed that, ‘more than 1,200 Kenyans were report­ed killed, thou­sands more injured, over 300,000 peo­ple dis­placed and around 42,000 hous­es and many busi­ness­es were loot­ed or destroyed. A sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of cas­es of sex­u­al vio­lence were also reported.’

In order to facil­i­tate rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, the Truth, Jus­tice and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Com­mis­sion (TJRC) was formed. Amongst TJRC’s rec­om­men­da­tions were these five: Acknowl­edg­ment of His­tor­i­cal Injus­tices; Repa­ra­tions and Com­pen­sa­tion; Insti­tu­tion­al Reforms; Nation­al Uni­ty and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion; Legal and Pol­i­cy Reforms. It’s incum­bent on the Gov­ern­ment to con­tin­ue imple­ment­ing these rec­om­men­da­tions. Hatu­jafi­ka bado! We are not yet there.

Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion is so vital that our Con­sti­tu­tion explic­it­ly men­tions it as an alter­na­tive form of dis­pute res­o­lu­tion. Giv­en its promi­nence in our soci­ety, what exact­ly does rec­on­cil­i­a­tion entail and are we real­ly prac­tic­ing it?

Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion entails restora­tion of frag­ment­ed parts into a whole. A rec­on­ciled soci­ety finds com­mon foot­ing and stops pulling in dif­fer­ent direc­tions. At a deep­er lev­el, rec­on­cil­i­a­tion also entails recon­nect­ing with nature and imple­ment­ing its sus­tain­abil­i­ty principles.

There is only one plan­et Earth and humans are not the sole inhab­i­tants of this plan­et. We share this earth with count­less oth­er ani­mal and plant species. Through sheer greed, we have inter­fered with the nat­ur­al equi­lib­ri­um of life on earth. A good exam­ple is the coro­n­avirus that great­ly desta­bi­lized human­i­ty. Accord­ing to the World Health Orga­ni­za­tion, there were near­ly 800 mil­lion COVID-19 cas­es, result­ing in almost sev­en mil­lion deaths.

The gen­er­al sci­en­tif­ic con­sen­sus shared glob­al­ly is that the coro­na virus spilled over from wildlife in China’s Hua­nan Seafood Whole­sale Mar­ket to humans. There were numer­ous wildlife being sold in that mar­ket includ­ing rac­coon dogs and bam­boo rats. They end­ed up trans­mit­ting coro­n­avirus to humans. Such ail­ments are known as zoonot­ic dis­eases. They ensue when humans encroach into wildlife ter­ri­to­ry or vice ver­sa. Such encroach­ment thrive in a human-wildlife con­flict scenario.

Hence the need to rec­on­cile with nature and revert to nature’s ‘fac­to­ry set­tings.’ For instance, these set­tings dic­tate that forests should be allowed to replen­ish and thrive, not encroached into. When Mau Ecosys­tem was adverse­ly affect­ed Mara Riv­er ago­nized, tourism suf­fered. Through var­i­ous coor­di­nat­ed con­cert­ed con­ser­va­tion efforts there was a rec­on­cil­i­a­tion with the forest.

Such rec­on­cil­i­a­tion is at the heart of the ‘One Health’ approach that is now spread­ing across the world. Accord­ing to UNEP, ‘One Health is an effort to inte­grate human, ani­mal, agri­cul­tur­al and ecosys­tem health to improve out­comes and address the triple plan­e­tary cri­sis. A One Health approach would help pre­vent dis­ease, reduce costs, improve food safe­ty and secu­ri­ty, and save lives.’

There­in lies the pow­er of rec­on­cil­i­a­tion with both nature and one anoth­er. Impor­tant­ly, our lead­ers and cit­i­zens alike should embrace rec­on­cil­i­a­tion. Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion at all lev­els is sig­nif­i­cant­ly cheap­er than war. Why squan­der our God giv­en rec­on­cil­i­a­tion oppor­tu­ni­ty when we know that the con­se­quences are so dire? Think green, act green!

About Dr. Kalua Green

He is the Chief Stew­ard of Green Africa Group, a con­glom­er­ate that was envi­sioned in 1991 to con­nect, pro­duce and impact var­i­ous aspi­ra­tions of human­i­ty through Sus­tain­able Mobil­i­ty & Safe­ty Solu­tions, Eco­pre­neur­ship & Agribusi­ness, Ship­ping & Logis­tics, Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Ini­tia­tives, as well as Hos­pi­tal­i­ty & fur­nish­ings sectors

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