On Wednesday 27th October 2021, Erastus J. Mwencha, Member of ECES Strategy & Advisory Board, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commisssion and Anthony Okara, ECES Senior Political Electoral Adviser, participated at the first Symposium on the Place of Faith Based Leaders and Institutions in promoting peace, held at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, funded by ECES and organised by The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC).

The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) is a statutory body established unde the National Cohesion and Integration Act (Act No. 12 of 2008), whose mission is to facilitate and promote equality of opportunity, good relations, harmony and peaceful co-existence. The event reunited participants from Christians, Muslim, Hindus and Buddhist among others, to discuss strategies that will promote a peaceful and harmonized environment ahead of the 2022 General Elections.

The symposium was organised in three panels: the first one focused on the Role of faith-based organizations in guaranteeing violence-free elections, the second one targeting the Inter-religious dialogue and peaceful co-existence in Kenya and the third one on The Common Denominators of Peace among Kenya’s faiths.

The European Centre on Electoral Support is extremely interested in the topics developed during this symposium, whose mission is perfectly compatible with its own objectives and actions, and confirms the dedication of supporting this path of promotion a peaceful and harmonized pre-electoral climate.

ECES is collaborating with NCIC for the implementation of their Roadmap to Peaceful Elections. The symposium marked an important first step in this implementation.

“We would like to take this opportunity to introduce ourselves - the European Centre on Electoral Support (ECES). We committed to work in partnership with NCIC to implement the Roadmap to Peaceful Elections, 2022. This will be our first major activity together. The first in a line of several that we have identified as crucial to achieving the objectives of the Roadmap.

We are happy to note that Kenya has one of the more developed, active and vibrant faith-based spaces on the continent. Many countries look up to you and have indicated to us the lessons they have learned through observation and/or engagement with you. We must build on that and now lead the way on implementing practical and functional approaches to societal peace and harmony in electoral cycles.

ECES experience of training and involvement of religious leaders in preventive actions against electoral violence in Ethiopia and Nigeria show their effectiveness in disseminating messages of civic engagement, electoral participation, non-violent confrontation, refusal of fake news, and peaceful behaviour. “