Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki Monday launched a national initiative to raise funds for the resettlement of the internally displaced persons, raising US$7,491,803 within just a few hours.
Launching the initiative at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Kibaki who gave a personal donation of US$ 81,967, appealed to Kenyans, development partners and the private sector to contribute generously towards the initiative.
About 350,000 Kenyans were displaced by the post-election violence which rocked the country earlier in the year following a disputed presidential election.
Both President Kibaki and his (then) main opposition challenger, now prime minister, Raila Odinga, claimed victory in the 27 December elections.
The dispute sparked one of the most political violence in this east African country of 35 million, leaving 1,200 dead.
Kibaki reiterated his calls to both the displaced people and the host communities, who have co-existed as neighbours for many years, to embrace the new spirit of reconciliation.
Noting that the electioneering period was over and that those who competed against each other were now working together under the grand coalition government, he said the spirit of reconciliation and tolerance should permeate throughout the country and be manifested at all levels of the society.
“I also call upon communities in the areas affected by violence to demonstrate goodwill by welcoming the displaced persons who are now returning to their farms, ” said President Kibaki.
When the post-election violence got to a head, the African Union (AU) stepped in and dispatched a trouble shooting team led by former UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan, to help resolve the dispute.
Annan, leading the Eminent Africans Panel which also had former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa and Graca Marcel, the wife of ex-South African President, Nelson Mandela, hammered out a power-sharing deal.
The deal led to the end of the violence and the creation of the post of executive prime minister’s post for Odinga in the Grand Coalition Government.
President Kibaki in particular called on leaders countrywide to play an active role in promoting peace through the district peace and reconciliation committees.
He urged all leaders and Kenyans in general to be patient and to maintain peace, law and order as long-term solutions to the underlying challenges to the problems facing the country were being addressed.
The President said the Government was fully aware that the cycle of violence needed a more permanent solution and expressed confidence that the grand coalition government would address the issues conclusively. “Indeed, I believe that Kenyans will come out of the current challenges a better nation and a better people,” he said. Panapress .