By Sandra Birungi
When music means sense, in Kenya, music artists have decided to join the rest of the world to call for peace in the country ahead of the March 4th presidential elections.
In 2007, Kenya was marred by post-election violence that left thousands dead and more displaced after a general election that saw current president, Mwai Kibaki retain his seat in power. With the next general elections, fear of a repeat of the 2007 post-election violence has gripped, not only Kenya but the rest of the world as well.
Today, a peace concert was held in the capital, Nairobi. Several people turned up for the concert at Uhuru Park although no presidential candidate attended it. The concert was organised by The Red Cross together with several musicians. They said all eight presidential candidates signed a peace pledge last week. “We spent time with each one of the eight candidates and we got them to promise they would keep the peace,” Gina Din of the Red Cross said.
The crowd sang the national anthem and was broadcast on national radio and TV stations. “This is a symbol of them participating in the democratic process,” musician Eric Wainaina said. Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) said it was encouraged by such initiatives. “The coming together of the main political leaders during the two key presidential debates and their pledge to peace during the National Prayer Meeting at Uhuru Park last Sunday is commendable and will hopefully jell Kenyans to maintain peace during the elections,” it said.
It went on to add saying, “The widespread use of social media especially Facebook to spew out hatred on the basis of ethnicity and political affiliation is appalling. Another major concern is the displacement of voters from some areas either because of intimidation or out of fear of recurrence of violence.”