Citizens in Action Making Peace in the Post Election Crisis in Kenya
This paper presents in some detail the story of a citizen diplomacy group, the Concerned Citizens for Peace (CCP), whose initiatives helped to rally the country toward dialogue and negotiations, thus serving as a precursor to the formal mediation process that followed. Within a period of less than twenty-four hours after the announcement of the contested results and the ensuing violent explosion across the land, five Kenyan citizens – a seasoned diplomat, two professional peacebuilders, and two retired generals, all experienced peacemakers – led a cadre of Kenyan peacemakers from a national leadership void into decisive action. This document recounts the launch and the subsequent activities undertaken by the CCP in response to Kenya’s post- election upheaval in early 2008. Deploying a largely story-telling approach, it describes the beginnings of CCP, its early interventions, the key activities undertaken, and its interface with the formal mediation process while sustaining an open and inclusive public forum to help resolve the crisis. It presents and discusses the lessons of this experience and the possible implications for peace activists facing future outbreaks of violence in Kenya or elsewhere in the world.