The Centre for Research, Training and Publication (CRTP) conducted the Conflict Monitoring Tool (CMT) research validation workshop in Nakuru, Rift Valley region, on 28th September, 2022. The meeting was attended by 13 participants (7 women and 6 men) who had participated in the study, facilitated by 2 researchers from CRTP. The participants were derived from diverse group ranging from peace practitioners, youth, men and women representatives, politicians and religious organizations. The workshop mainly focused on sharing the research findings with the participants and validating results as the true reflection of the conflict and peace status in the region.
The meeting began by a word of prayer followed by the introduction of the participants. The first session was presentation of the research findings which entailed brief introduction about CRTP and its research areas. The participants were also taken through the Hekima Institute of Peace Studies and International Relations, Conflict Monitoring Tool (HIPSIR-CMT) curve developed by the CRTP for conflict monitoring. This was mainly done to bring to the attention of the participants the different levels under which a conflict is monitored for appropriate strategy recommendation and policy formulation. This was then followed by the research findings presentation. Thereafter, the open session and round table discussion of the research outcomes were discussed and validated by the participants.
During the discussion session, the participants agreed that both genders (male and female) were well presented, while the age bracket of above 50 years was the least represented (5% of those responded to the survey). They recommended Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) to reach many respondents in this age bracket. The low percentage could be as result of being less active in the online platform by age bracket of above 50 years in the region being that the survey was done online. They also suggested provision of data bundles to the respondents who participates in the survey to improve the questionnaire response rate.
The highly prevalent type of conflict confirmed by the participants, as the study findings had revealed, was domestic violence and gender and sexual based violence. One of the participants working with ‘Women Like Us’ organization reported that men have become victims of domestic violence but they don’t want to come out and report it. She said that
‘[W]e tend to advocate for women but men are also suffering daily in silence. Domestic violence has always been there, it will always there and it is a shame that it happens in our society as a daily activity. Actually, the number should be more. And the most vulnerable are young mothers, and men. Most of the cases show that men are also victim of domestic violence. For instance, a guy went to police station to report on domestic violence, but because of the mentality culture they start laughing at him instead of helping him’.
Thus, police officers refuse to help men who are victims of domestic violence. In turn men fear reporting their cases due to embarrassment and the risk of humiliation from the officers.
Armed robbery and theft were also confirmed by the participants as another common conflict in the region. A group going by the name ‘CONFIRMED’ has been particularly active in the recent past in Nakuru region. One of the participants mentioned that ‘Nakuru is one of the counties with illegal guns. And these are facts that make violence and robbery to be common in the region’. Further a youth working with a women organization stated that ‘There is an organize gang in Nakuru by name ‘CONFIRMED’ which has caused a lot of problems. We are facing these issues every day in Nakuru. These people have terrorized us in Nakuru. Most of them used knife to stamp [sic] you. ’
Unemployment among youths and ethnic-based politics were much echoed by the participants as key drivers of conflict in the region. One of the participant working in the peace committee of Nakuru County confirmed these as the main drivers of conflict in the region. A peace practitioner in the meeting said that ‘It is true. Considering that, if you look at the issue of urban violence, the major drivers are young people. Especially, those who don’t have a day to day leaving in term of employment involvement’. On ethicized politics, one of the participant argued that ‘In a dysfunctional family with different political affiliation, they tend to contribute to the conflict in the society in the sense that they have different views on political matters’
Political leaders were mentioned as the key actors of conflict in the region. One of the respondents confirmed that they use youth who are paid to cause violence, much evident during the August 2022 election. For instance, one of the participants observed
‘ The research was conducted at the right time. I encounter with a friend who have been paid by politicians during the time for nomination. For instance, there is hall called Nandasa from West Nakuru in Mwaneki area. In that place, all politicians meet at the hall to do their campaigns and other things. But, it reached to some extend [sic] that a political aspirant was paying young people to surround the place that if you are not from his place. And others also paid young people to demonstrate during their opponent’s campaigns’.
On the effectiveness of institutions on conflict resolution, religious organizations were confirmed to be very effective as evident by CMT survey results with inter-faith council being mentioned to be in front for peace advocacy. For instance, one the participant from the Muslim community mentioned that
‘From Islamic perspective, I got the opportunity to know both religion[s] (Muslim and Christian). We all believe and most of us have that perception like if you see a Muslim woman, we cannot blame them because they play a major role in terrorism for instance. In some mosque, leaders of the community speak to the men including women to not associate themselves in such kind of acts. I agree that religious leaders in the community play an important role in conflict resolution’.
However, one of the participants during the validation process said that religious institutions’ leaders are only active during electioneering periods. He echoed his voice that
‘Religious organization volatile the way the survey was carrying out. It was okay by that, but right now NO, I am also working with one of the religious institutions. In the real sense, we can give very low percentage. Because, politicians are the main people influencing our leaders. I witness during the campaign certain religious organizations were supporting a certain affiliation. Actually, church is one of the institution mostly accused. Because, it is like they divided the county. An example, some churches said that we are supporting Baba and Mama; Evangelical church said we support Kenya kwanza; Catholic Church came out very clear and telling people at the Election Day to “chose by your own but not Wajakoya”.
Moreover, women’s organizations as well as men organizations were also confirmed to be effective in conflict resolution, however, the voices of women are not heard when it comes to decision making as oppose to men more so in barazas and peace forums. Therefore, it was evident that gender inclusion in any peace building process is a contentious issue needing to be addressedby peace practitioners. Finally, corruption, political hate speech, the Covid-19 pandemic, and poor economic development were confirmed by the participants as the key challenges to peace restoration/conflict resolution in the region.
The validation exercise by the CRTP team revealed that more people on the ground are willing to participate in peace building processes. This was evident by the request by participants to organize open peace forums and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) to bring onboard many stakeholders to share their views on conflict management and resolution. It is therefore crucial that periodic peace forums and conflict monitoring assessments should be embraced by research institutions and peace advocacy agencies, as well as government, for effective monitoring of conflict, and policy formulation.
- There is a need for training of local people, e.g boda boda drivers, in peace and conflict management through seminars or trainings, especially for people to grasp the concepts. Focusing on that, participants will then help people at grassroots levels.
- A sustainable structures framework should be put in place for effective peace building.
- Supporting conflict monitors and peace builders from the grass-root level.
- Developing policies on how to manage urban conflict.
- There is also need for equitable distribution of resources among the people.
- There is need for political tolerance among the people.
- CRTP should share the published research findings with the conflict monitors and some participants in the region.
 Baraza is a Swahili word that means a place where public meetings are held.