A peace conference bringing together peace practitioners in and academicians in Kenya and Uganda ended with discussions with a suggestion that the University of Nairobi becomes a hub of peace in the eastern Africa region.
Speaking to a few members who discussed the way forward for the summit that was held on July 11 and 12, 2012; Henry Mutoro of the University ofNairobi said he was in support of the idea and he would work towards the establishment of a secretariat for the peace network of those who congregated at the conference.
This is one of the many other developments following the successfully design and development of a Masters programme in Peace studies at the University that was launched on June 29, 2011. The University of Nairobi is one of the two universities working in collaboration with Coventry University in the UK.
The other is Makerere University that has designed a degree programme that has been hampered by a lot of bureaucracy at the University but is set for a launch in September 2012.
Participants at the conference learned from various practitioners at grassroot levels in building peace in their communities. Also attending the two day seminar was Kenya’s Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka who urged the participants to embrace their diversity. Citing Mauritius as the only place where democracy seemed to be functioning, he said Kenya was working regain its lost glory and beat Mauritius to become a democracy after the next general elections.
Additionally, he said that unemployment had created a sense of exclusion among the youth and said the solution to this was expansion of existing enterprises to create employment.
“If we fix poverty, we will have fixed a lot of social ills,” the vice president remarked.
Dubbed Community tensions, Dialogue and Peace Building, Professor Paddy Musana of Makerere University presenting a paper on ‘Creating Space for Dialogue’ wondered when we as individuals had held dialogues. Faulting political leaders he said the leaders did not face reality when it came to matters pertaining to cultural diversity. He further said that most African governments never aspire for national unity; instead they tend to embrace the ‘winner takes it all’ attitude which leads to divisions in the society.
Saying that new technologies have brought to the human race new forms of interaction, he questioned how much society had incorporated dialogue into the new technologies.
“We are so tied to the present, when will we dream about the future?” Musana further queried.