Introductory Inter-Faith Meeting in Mombasa, Kenya
Date: 25th July, 2015
Host: Hamis Juma Kitenje
Presiding IARF Kenya Chapter Officials:
Rev. Lawrence Adera, Secretary;
Bishop Martin Mwambu, Treasurer
In attendance were:
- Hamad S. Mwakilesho – Kikoneni in Kwale county coast Region
- Tsuma E. Jembe – Chibana Kaloleni in Kilifi County coast Region
- Janet N. Mwaburi – Kilifi county
- Timson Maneno – Tana River county
- Anderson Chai – Malindi -Mombasa Technical University
- Athmani Mwanzeje Ali – Mariakani Region
- Nicanori Kiriga – TaitaTaveta county
- Hamis Juma Kitenje – Mombasa County (Host)
- Prayers from religious groups
- Introduction:- IARF Kenya Chapter officials, Host and Interfaith Delegates
- Presentation from IARF Kenya Chapter officials
- Views from the interfaith delegates
- Way forward (full participation of region)
The meeting started at 11:45 AM with a word of prayer from Hamad, a Muslim, and Bishop Mwambu representing Christians, and Niconari of traditional belief. We received and accepted an apology from Sigh, Rahma, Saida (Muslim women and Bohra community representatives) and Baha’i brothers.
Rev.Lawrance, Secretary IARF Kenya chapter, introduced and gave a brief but complete history of IARF internationally and locally, its objectives and main focus. He told the representatives from all the counties of Coast region of the need to embrace IARF objectives and join hands in fulfilling IARF mandate in the region and beyond.
He noted that, Mombasa being a very volatile region and notorious for inter-religious conflicts, IARF Kenya Chapter activism in the area is an ideal venture, hence a need for firm IARF representation.
Bishop Martin Mwambu highlighted on the history of Kenya chapter formation and the force that drove us to be where we are as a chapter in Kenya. He briefed the participants on the achievements of the Kenya chapter so far and the already ongoing TOT programs. He also touched on the activities that we do, and the positive feedback.
Views / Opinion From Participants
- All participants were happy and appreciated IARF presence in Kenya and in particular our visit which they described as long overdue. They desired such introductory meetings to be held across all the counties of Coast region in the shortest time possible.
- Government organs and civil society should be informed and also be involved or send representation in all IARF activities. e.g Office of the County commissioners, Governors, Senators, Muslim caucus and inter-religious society leaders, civil society and other interested organizations with similar vision and objectives.
- There was also a need for the involvement of youths /students of universities, colleges, and Secondary Schools because they are the most affected, easily influenced, and easy targets of agents of doom.
- A youth delegate, Mr Hamad, requested for a close working relationship with IARF Kenya chapter because of the organization’s good repute. He believes IARF Kenya chapter will bring about the required change and transform youths into responsible, educated and cautious citizens on human rights issues, and earn everlasting peace..
They agreed to work hand in hand with IARF Kenya chapter to realize the much desired peace and co-existence of all humanity regardless of race, tribe, religion, or colour, and therefore to organize or participate in all human rights education and peace forums.
- There was much need for women representation for such activities, as they are also potential instruments of peace and quick avenues in reaching the affected women in the region.
- We noted that there was urgent need for peace sensitization meetings and training on human rights in the following areas:
- Tana River
(These are hot spots of inter-religious conflict)
- There is an urgent need for sensitization on peace programs in the region mostly in the identified inter-religious conflict hot spots.
- There is need for full government agencies’ involvement in all IARF Kenya chapter activities in the region.
- Security has been very elusive due to rampant religious youth radicalization and countless warlike groupings making security a major challenge for the government.
Hence proper IARF Kenya chapter introduction and objectives should be very clear to the government, security organs and all relevant departments. A call for a closer IARF Kenya chapter and government working relationship.
- Much efforts and energies should be directed towards this region of Mombasa to enhance a quicker co-existence between Muslims who are the majority and other minority religions to avoid future conflicts which can easily degenerate into fully fledged war, like what Kenya almost experienced in 1997 where over 100,000 people were displaced in Mombasa alone, who even to date have not been fully resettled.
- It was in this region that a student was suspended from school for not attending Christian mass, and there is a case to that effect in court of law. Churches have been burnt down and mosques have also been attacked in retaliation. There is a lot to be done in this region.
- There was evident passion in the participants and in them we saw strong, energized people who exhibited seriousness and zeal in helping IARF Kenya chapter realize its goal and objectives in our advocacy for peace and human rights education, and elimination of inter-faith disharmony. Because of that we are happy IARF officials now.
- Finally we also resolved that a courtesy call to the county commissioner, Governor and senator should be done as soon as possible and IARF activities kicked off without further delay.
- In the corridors of justice it is said justice delayed is justice denied and in IARF Kenya chapter corridors we say Peace, sensitization and human rights education delayed in Mombasa is peace denied in Mombasa.
- The meeting, which was punctuated with applause, drinks and lunch, was very vibrant and ended on a positive note after about 4 hours 45 minutes.
The participants enjoyed a group photo at the end.
At exactly 3.00 pm afternoon the meeting was closed with a prayer from Timson Maneno from Tana River County.
This report was compiled & prepared by:
Rev. Lawrence Adera
IARK Kenya chapter Secretary
And with the approval of the treasurer as the actual and factual true representation of what transpired.