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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Frontier Council drafts policy to end inter-ethnic violence

By Abdi Maalim

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Frontier Counties Development Council (FCDC) is developing a policy that will help end perennial inter-ethnic violence in the 10 pastoralist dominated counties.

According to Chief Executive Officer for Frontier counties Mohamed Guled the policy covers detailed analysis of the existing constraints and gaps in policies, laws and institutions to address peace and security in the region.

The policy, he said, is a clarion call for the people of the region to take their rightful place in contributing to their own peace through harnessing mechanisms that are already known to them.

The initiators have already discussed the document with members of the public and local ward representatives from Garissa, Wajir, Isiolo, Mandera and Turkana, the public are supposed to add their inputs before assemblies of the 110 counties are required to pass it.

Frontier counties development council comprises of Wajir, Garissa, Mandera, Isiolo Marsabit, West Pokot, Samburu, Lamu, Turkana and Tana River counties.

The policy proposes the establishment of peace building organs that will comprise of FCDC peace summit which will be an apex structure for peace and cohesion.

Under the peace summit, there will be a sector forum of eminent persons, a sector forum for peace and cohesion secretariat as well as conflicts early warning and response unit.

Others are county assembly committee for peace, county department for peace building and conflicts management, county peace actors’ forum, county peace council, sub-county peace committee and ward peace monitors.

The region has experienced local and cross border conflicts, intra-inter-communal, inter-county traditional and other emerging violence that have mostly resulted in casualties.

The policy proposes that the member counties will have their assemblies establish a committee for peace and cohesion whose functions shall be legislating on peace and cohesion, advocating for appropriation of funds for county peace departments as well as oversight on peace processes within their respective counties.

The function of the county department of peace building and conflict which will be established through the policy will be to plan, coordinate, and implement peace initiatives in collaborations with other peace actors.

They are also required to establish vertical linkages with regional, national structures and FCDC sector forums for peace and cohesion.

The policy also proposes the establishment of a county consultative forum that brings together county and national government, civil society organizations, development partners, private sector and the media.

The peace actor’s forum will be a platform for consultation, collaboration, coordination and resources mobilization for peace building initiative at the county level.

Insecurity and vicious cycle of conflicts constitute the main impediment to the region’s economic development compounded by poverty, food insecurity, land, border contestations, cross border, transnational crime, climate change and historical marginalization.

The policy also proposes the establishment of ward peace monitors who will be identified and managed by the respective sub-county peace committees.

Their functions according to the policy will be monitoring conflicts events, providing early warnings, coordinating community peace activities and peace education and working with peace actors in the implementation of peace.

In the past decade, radicalization and violent extremism has presented new challenges that have worsened the pre-existing conflicts and socio economic problems. According to Fcdc officials, lack of common policy, strategy and approach has made it difficult for member counties to effectively address violent extremism.

The policy they said is a first step in the process of developing and operationalizing an effective framework for dealing with contemporary peace and security challenges in the pastoral counties.

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