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HomeKenya NewsPomp and colour as Mmust Chaplain launches a book on peace building

Pomp and colour as Mmust Chaplain launches a book on peace building

Kakamega

By Wilson Abiri

The events leading to the 2007/08 Post Election Violence (PEV) is still fresh in the mind of Fr Kizito Muchanga, a priest Catholic Diocese of Kakamega.

Eldoret town and its environs was a no go zone, thanks to the violence that had erupted following the declaration that was hastily made by the then Electoral Commission of Kenya chairman, the late Samuel Kivuitu announcing that retired President Mwai Kibaki had won the presidential election. The violence last for 61 days.

ECK had declared Mr. Kibaki, a PNU candidate as the winner of the hotly contested polls with 4,584.721 votes against Raila Odinga who garnered 4,352,993 votes. Raila disputed the elections claiming that Kibaki’s votes had been falsified by over 300,000 votes. Over 1500 people died in the skirmishes as well as 600,000 people were internally displaced.

Fr Kizito Muchanga (left) Prof Asenath Sigot (centre) and Prof Shiundu

They are this events that have refused to get out of the mind of the man of the cloth, something that forced him to pen down the horrific experiences and how similar eventualities can be avoided.

“I was at the church when I received information that women and their children who were running away from the post poll chaos wanted asylum at the church. This is the day I wished the ground could open and swallow me alive as I wasn’t ready to see innocent people getting killed within the church premises,” said Fr Muchanga while launching his book.

Rev Muchanga at that time was shepherding Matunda Catholic Church in Likuyani Sub County.

“I was at the church when I received information that women and their children who were running away from the post poll chaos wanted asylum at the church. This is the day I wished the ground could open and swallow me alive as I wasn’t ready to see innocent people getting killed within the church premises,” said Fr Muchanga while launching his book.

The book is titled ‘Peace Building in Kenya’ – the Catholic Church Contribution in peace building initiatives. The launching was held today at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) where he teaches history.

Fr Kizito Muchanga’s mother, Maria,90, gives a gift hamper to Prof Asenath Sigot – Photo by Wilson Abiri

“I consulted diocesan bishop who advised me to let them in with instructions that women and children to sleep in the church while men to erect tents outside the church and spent the night there as well as to provide security for their families,” said Fr Muchanga.

Other areas that experienced chaos in the county were Mumias, Lugari and Kakamega town.

Muchanga said he helped saved many post polls victims seeking asylum at the church and his involvement in preaching peace across the country, the events of 2013 and 2017 after poll chaos gave him the dream to write his book.

“It was shocking that people who profess the same faith could turn against each other in such a vicious manner,” he said.

He has critically examined the role of the Catholic Church in Kakamega county focusing on peace building missions and the restoration of harmony among warrying communities and provisions of basic needs displaced persons like food, shelter, clothing and medication.  

During a press conference

His book has also dwelt on various ways of managing conflicts in the country such as promotion of solidarity and stability, provision of education, social inclusiveness and economic empowerment and advocacy.

The book also tells of the challenges the church has been facing ranging from lack of support for the peace building process, low sense of nationalism, poor collaboration amongst stakeholders, lack of political goodwill, lack of effective models for conflict sensitivity mapping and analysis, police brutality, gender and tribal discrimination in job distribution.

Fr Muchanga believes if poverty is eradicated and communities are economically empowered, there will be no conflicts and tribal clashes before, during and after every elections.

Mmust Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Asenath Sigot said the institution was proud of Fr Muchanga for sacrificing to write the book as well as having it published.

“You have set a good example and you will leave a legacy through that book. All of us have a role when it comes to peace building process,” said Prof Sigot.

Other dignitaries who were present during the launch include, Prof Charles Mutai, the deputy vice chancellor for Planning, Research and Innovation (PRI), Prof Judy Achoka, Prof Shiundu, Prof Kasiera, Dr Peter Bukhala, Dr Judah Ndiku, Dr Dennis Ochieno and Dr David Barasa among others.

Ends

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