Integrating African Religio-Cultural with Conventional Approach to Peace-Building In Conflicts between Luo and Nandi Ethnic Groups, Kisumu and Nandi Counties, Kenya.
Amolo, Fredrick Otieno
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This study examined the integration of the African religio-cultural approach and the conventional approach to peace building in ethnic conflicts between the Luo and the Nandi of Kisumu and Nandi counties in Kenya. It investigated the social, economic, and political factors that fuel ethnic conflicts, explored peace approaches in ethnic conflict resolution, analysed challenges in approaches, determined the contribution of the religio-cultural approach in ethnic conflict, and suggested a religio-cultural and conventional integrated peacebuilding approach. The study employed a descriptive research design. Data was collected from Kisumu and Nandi counties which constitute Muhoroni and Tinderet constituencies. Questionnaires, oral interviews (OI), focused group discussions (FGD), and library documents were analysed. A total of 231 questionnaires and six FGD(s) were obtained from four target groups. The overall data were collected, analysed, interpreted, and discussed. The two main theories used are Conflict Transformation Theory (CTT) and Network of Effective Action (NEA). The research findings revealed that social, economic, and political factors affected the peace between the Luo and the Nandi communities. While the state and the warring communities attempted to bring peace, challenges were shown. The mitigation methods used by religio-cultural methodology including conventional mediation, deployment of security personnel, the rule of law, and resource allocation, have proved inadequate when applied in isolation. The basic tenets of inclusivity, community-based mediation, religious spirituality, and ethics were deemed necessary by the community's religio-cultural lifestyle. Further, the religio-cultural approach principles of community-based mediation, belief in God and actions of ritual and sacrifices became prominent yet inadequate. The basic structural policies and enforcement, political goodwill in resource equity, and security were lacking. With the inadequacies, integrating the religio-cultural and conventional approaches was adequate in fostering peace between the Luo and the Nandi communities. The integrated peacebuilding approach has three main elements: integrated mediation and reconciliation, integrated democratic governance, and character and moral reconstruction. The study established that bi-partisan community-based mediation and reconciliation were missing and that the development and strengthening of inclusivity policies in justice and humanitarian reform were not prioritized. Moreover, the development and strengthening of governance and leadership were not given precedence, as well as community empowerment policies, religion-based mediation, and civic education. In dealing with peace between the two communities, the study recommends that there be character formation and reconstruction through morality teaching and modelling; promotion of democratic governance in equity, security, policies, and civic education; and mediation and reconciliation through commissions, elders, women, and cultural ritual sacrificial systems. It is hoped that the findings of this study are of use to the national and county governments who embrace the integrated approaches to promote peace among the Luo and Nandi communities. 1