Koch FM’s Intervention to the Post Election Violence
Community Outreach Department
The political violence witnessed in Kenya after the disputed results of the December 27, 2007 general elections is the worst civil violence in her history since the attempted coup of 1982. As in the past women and children were the most affected with youths being accused as the active participants in the violence. In all the occasions it is the poor who suffered most. The suffering the poor underwent was extremely painful for a right thinking person to just see and sit back. It is also sad to note that the largest destructions and killings took place in the dwelling areas of the poor. In Nairobi for instance massive destruction of physical properties and killings was experienced in the peoples’ settlements of Kibera, Mathare and Huruma Ghetto. Kijiji cha Chewa that used to neighbor Mathare 4A is now history as the ghetto was burnt to ashes.
A section of the field which, before the announcement of the results of the 2007 elections, was a home to over 3000 people. This is where Kijiji cha Chewa used to be.
Though Korogocho community was not badly hit by the violence, by this I mean witnessing inter-ethnic violence and destruction of properties, the acts of violence in the neighboring communities impacted negatively to the Korogocho community. For instance the violence witnessed in Ngomongo-neighbor to the east, Kasabuni, Kariadudu and Kariobangi-neighbor to the west highly contributed to acts of robbery within the slums. The idle young adults used the tension and confusion to engage in acts of lawlessness injuring and killing quite a number of people.
The persistent tenancy conflict in Ngomongo almost ignited a bitter violence between the residents of Korogocho and Ngomongo when the latter confronted the other community alleging that youths from Korogocho accompanied the Police and the landlords in an aborted late night operation to arrest those who are alleged to be rent defaulters. Again, the thugs took good use of the tension and confusion robbing many and killing one person.
A good number of victims of the violence from other parts of the country also found their way and refuge in Korogocho. There are a sizeable number of such people from as far as Western, Nyanza, and Rift Valley province who are now considering themselves to be residents of Korogocho.
2.0 Past Experience
The violence witnessed after the announcement of the much disputed election results arouse the past inter-ethnic violence witnessed in Korogocho in the year 1992 and 1997. And like now the fights highly contributed to almost total collapse of security in the area. A number of people lost their lives.
3.0 Koch FM’s Intervention
In line with our objective –to promote peace and peaceful co-existence amongst the various ethnic communities in Korogocho and to defend human rights and safeguard human dignity, we resolved to;
Advocate for peace and understanding amongst our listeners as we believed and hoped that an acceptable solution would be reached through dialogue and debate. We made peace messages and jingles from the community members and regularly played them on air. This is still on-going.
We mobilized for food and clothes through radio appeals. Our listeners overwhelmingly brought clothing items which we took to the over 500 families that were camping at the Star of Hope Academy in Huruma.
In collaboration with other pro-peace initiatives, we managed to mobilize, organize and undertake a call-for-peace procession in Korogocho and Ngomongo. The procession attracted a huge number of participants. Apart from peace slogans, songs and chants, we also distributed handbills and T-shirts with peace and reconciliation messages.
3.1 The intervention’s important dates chart
Date Objective Activity Place Target/Beneficiaries
01/01/08 Appeal to our listeners that justice will only prevail in a peaceful environment
Playing peace/justice music
Koch FM studio Our listeners
02 to 19/01/08 Raise materials to support the victims of post election violence
Hourly radio appeal for support in any form
Koch FM studio Our listeners
09/01/08 To show our/listeners solidarity and support to victims of the post election violence
Distribute the collected items
Star of Hope Academy in Huruma 500 people who had sought refuge in the school after their village-Kijiji cha Chewa-was razed to ashes
12/01/08 Reduce political tension and promote peace
Korogocho, Ngomongo Korogocho/Ngomongo Residents
23/01/08 To show our solidarity with the victims/affected
2nd distribution of the items collected
Miss Koch boardroom, Korogocho 85 people affected by the post election violence in Korogocho
30/01/08 To promote peace & co-existence
Koch FM studio Koch FM audience
22 /02 to 08/03/2008 Promote peace and reconciliation
Radio peace and reconciliation message jingles with APHRC
Koch FM studio Korogocho community and the entire Koch FM audience
3.2 Koch FM’s Impact
Koch FM made a great impact to the lives of the residents of Korogocho and her general audience in many ways i.e.
Providing not only a medium of communication but also a platform for Kenyans to contribute and share whatever little they had with their brothers
Cooled down the tempers and tensions of our listener through peace messages and this to some extent kept the violence in the low level witnessed, compared to other slums of Nairobi
Provided a space for the community to pre-empt possible planned attack or revenge through the radio leading to aborting of such plans if at all there were any, after the story goes on air in a reconciliatory manner
Provided an opportunity for the individual residents of Korogocho to speak their mind on peaceful co-existence to the rest of the community members and this greatly influenced the potential peace breakers positively. The community members were impressed and could be heard commenting that they heard so and so appealing for peace through the radio.
Being a media the community takes whatever information they receive from us truth and we therefore play a greater role in shaping their opinion
4.0 Current Plans and Activities to Promote Peace, Justice and Reconciliation
Koch FM, through her Community Outreach Department intends to embark on a myriad of activities to;
Educate people on the importance of dialogue and issue based debate
Promote peace, reconciliation and peaceful co-existence
Establish community conflict management/resolution structure to facilitate peace talks when need arise
Promote nationhood, good governance, democracy and respect for human rights
4.1 Implementation Strategy
Our implementation strategy shall include;
Inter village sporting activities and dialogues
Special focus on youths and women in village leadership structures
Radio talk show/debates
Workshops/Focus Group Discussions (FGD)