Religious Leaders and GPLC Africa Organizers Help Defuse Protest Violence in Kenya

Global Peace Foundation
July 5, 2024

The Global Peace Leadership Conference Africa 2024, organized by the Global Peace Foundation (GPF), was held in Nairobi, Kenya, from June 25 to 27. The following is an excerpt from an article by Pyo Kyung-min for The Korea Times.

The Global Peace Leadership Conference Africa 2024 (GPLC), organized by the U.S.-based non-profit Global Peace Foundation (GPF), successfully concluded its Kenyan leg, Thursday, addressing the widespread public outcry against Kenya’s proposed finance bill.

Held under the theme “One Family under God: Empowering African Renaissance as a Global Catalyst for Freedom, Peace, and Sustainable Development,” the conference took place at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Nairobi’s Upper Hill, with Kenyan President William Ruto scheduled to attend alongside religious leaders and global dignitaries.

However, prior to its commencement, the conference was overshadowed by violent protests at the Kenyan Parliament, Tuesday, where citizens demonstrated against the proposed Finance Bill 2024. The bill, which aimed to generate an additional $2.7 billion in revenue through new levies on basic commodities such as bread, vegetable oil and sugar, along with a new motor vehicle circulation tax, led to the deaths of at least 23 civilians during the protests, as reported by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights.

Against this backdrop, the GPLC canceled at short notice its opening ceremony and the main plenary slated for Wednesday morning.

According to a GPF official, GPF Chairperson Hyun Jin Preston Moon, made a decision to cancel the opening ceremony that included President Ruto in order to “allow the Kenyan president time to tend to the domestic affairs of his nation and find a solution together with the people.”

“GPF leaders, together with the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya representatives, worked late into the night to urgently communicate this important decision to the State House of Kenya,” the official told The Korea Times.

In the absence of Kenyan government representatives, the GPLC replaced its opening ceremony with a religious gathering to mourn the lives lost and acknowledge the urgency of Kenya’s current crisis. The prayer session was attended by religious leaders from across Africa, representing diverse faiths including Catholicism, Islam and indigenous traditions.

Read more: GPLC 2024 promotes family, faith for African renaissance amid turmoil in Kenya

A key partner of the GPLC Africa 2024, the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya, worked with GPF organizers to diffuse the violence, encouraging the president and government officials to hear the people’s cries and concede. An article by UPI explains the role of religious leaders in facilitating peaceful dialogue and their ongoing efforts to mitigate conflict in the region.

Read more: Religious leaders’ quiet role crucial in defusing Kenya’s recent protest violence

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