For the first time no single violence incident in Mauche during 2022 general elections

Addressing inter-communal tensions and hostilities; For the first time no single violence incident in Mauche during 2022 general elections

Over the years, due to cultural and political differences pitting Kikuyu, Kalenjin and Maasai communities in Mauche, Kihingo and Mau Narok has heightened hostilities, tensions and balkanized territories spanning these communities. These complexities often arise during electioneering periods as seen back in 2007-2008 general elections where the communities by way of usurping control, territorially juxtaposition in their communal residencies on either side of the Nakuru Mau-Narok highway. The situation was dire to the extent that no person from one community was allowed past the “border” to the other side.

Seamlessly the community members intermingled at some point, sharing a market along Kihingo and Mauche, with the current tensions in the lead to the 2022 August 09th general elections. Cases of stock theft and intentional conflict were seen to be on the rise as evident during first Midrift’s interventions in Mauche where the community members in forums sat separately, avoiding members from the other communities. Even in the shared community spaces such as the markets, there is a clear difference where communities sold their commodities separately and used vernacular languages to identify their kin and exclude others. It was reported during Midrift’s community outreach that perceived non-locals living around the communal borders have moved to urban centers, abandoning their homes out of fear and increased tension.

Upon realization that this would be a fertile ground for the eruption of violence among communities living in these areas, a cohort of PBLD leaders from Mauche came up with measures to increase the level of trust and cohesiveness while fostering interactions between different communities enhancing tolerance and development of good relationships. They organized cultural shows and exhibitions to create awareness in regard to the different cultures, held public barazas together with local administration and targeted youth through sporting activities as they are a risk group drawing them from across all three communities. With the help of the area chief, the participants were able to organize football matches that would involve football teams from Nessuit, Mauche, Mau-Narok and Kihingo areas to play in friendly games and brought together team players from the four locations, security team and the general public. Each football match was planned to take place in all the areas and a total of 8 football teams were arranged where three matches were played before the August 9th general elections. The PBLD participants through their team leader ensured to use the space effectively to share messages of peace and emphasis on the importance of intersectoral collaboration when addressing communal issues rather than stigmatization and intolerance against different communities. The platform was also used to raise awareness against retrogressive cultural norms and beliefs, speaking out when evidencing violent tendencies rather than ignorance, sharing of information and continuous rapid reporting, holding engagements with village elders and local leaders from the Kalenjin and Kikuyu communities separately and then bringing them together for a dialogue.

The capacities obtained on challenging social norms that perpetuate violence and appreciative inquiry into long held boundary spanning alienating communities in Mauche helped the PBLD participants in holding community engagements towards demystifying the norms for reduction of inter-communal tensions and hostilities.

 Since 1992 general elections, these areas have always experienced inter-communal violence. For the first time these three communities were engaged in a common activity where they shared how they can best improve trust and relationships especially among youth who often are used to fighting for their communities. History was written in the 2022 general election where no single incident of violence was experienced in Mau Narok, Mauche and Kihingo wards within Njoro Sub-County