Global Express
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Holistic Environment: THE CHANGE ALTERNATIVE


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In Kenya

In July 1994 some students from Kenyatta University wrote to the president of the Republic of Kenya, expressing dissatisfaction at the way the country was run. Others, including myself, challenged their strongly worded letter. We felt they should have shown more respect when addressing the Head of State.

During the dispute, which lasted four months, there were many threats and 'Kamukunjis' (public rallies). I was attacked by five of my enemies, carrying whips and daggers. Only the whips were used. To retaliate, I planned to hire a thug from the streets of Nairobi to deal with them.

Soon these local differences spread to the political parties. This blew them out of all proportion because they organised press conferences, provided legal and monetary assistance, and even tried to lure student support by promising scholarships in the case of expulsion.

Several months later Kenya hosted an international MRA consultation. This brought together men and women of strong convictions from across the world. With much experience in conflict resolution, they precipitated the reconciliation between the warring student factions.

On the first night two Zimbabwean delegates talked to us about youth in Africa and economic independence. They stressed the importance of working closely with governments and challenged us to reflect on the issue of reconciliation.

In the morning a young Nigerian, Amina Dikedi, proposed no one concerned in the fight have breakfast until an agreement was reached. Everyone left but my two friends and I and those of the other faction. Amina and a few others also remained. It was suggested we all be silent awhile. We were then asked to focus on ourselves as complete entities. Did we feel all we had done was right? If not, were we ready to apologise?

Each party agreed to take responsibility for its actions. Apologies and tears followed. We then joined the rest of the delegates. Former enemies embraced one another with joy. Many found it hard to believe that I embraced the man who, two nights before, I had refused for a room-mate! Now we work together to create brotherhood between Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia and Somalia.

Moses Obiero, Kenya

Last update: 2000-02-12 17:20:20 (EEST).
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