GPF Kenya hosted twenty-five leaders at the first National Faith Leaders planning meeting on January 18, 2012 at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi, in preparation for a National Faith Leaders Summit to be convened in June 2012.
The summit will bring together religious leaders and faith-based organizations to discuss ways of promoting values and national cohesion, healing and reconciliation, a culture of peace, religious harmony and dialogue, and patriotism in institutions and the community at large.
Leaders at the planning meeting represented the Hindu Council of Kenya, Brahma Kumaris, Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission, National Council of Churches of Kenya, Kenya Council of Imams, Inter faith Action for Peace in Africa, Muslim Consortium, Methodist Church in Kenya, Brand Kenya Board, Stewards Revival Church, Chemi Chemi ya Ukweli and Ministry of Special Programs.
“Multi-faith does not mean the coming of different religious groups so as to agree on one religion. Instead, it refers to the coming together of various religious groups with the focus on the civic peace.” —Rev. Paul Murray
The 2007–2008 post-election violence in Kenya, an East African nation which had a reputation as a stable democracy in a turbulent region, caused soul searching among thoughtful leaders. Many tribal and gang leaders exploited ethnic tensions in the aftermath of the disputed elections, with identity-based appeals to youth to join organized criminal groups or other campaigns of violence.
Because presidential elections are again scheduled for 2012, GPF Kenya is calling on Kenya’s faith community to work together to mitigate ethnic divisions and discuss ways to promote national cohesion in Kenya.
An organizer of the National Faith Leaders Summit in Washington, DC in October 2011, Rev. Murray emphasized that “multi-faith” does not mean the convergence of different religious groups to agree on one religion. Instead, it refers to the community of faith coming together with a focus on “civic peace.”
The 2007-08 violence escalated in part, he said, because faith leaders took sides in the conflict. He urged members to form a platform on the principles and values of peace, irrespective of political differences. Rev. Murray said the purpose of the summit should be on civic peace and emphasized the significant role faith leaders must play in promoting a just society.
Dr. Mumma, representing the Truth and Justice Reconciliation Commission, affirmed her commitment to working with religious leaders in their quest to maintain peace throughout the election year and beyond.