Re: [nafsiafrikasaana] Re: [holistichelping] Bioregions/ Governing Structures, Decision-Making Processes
- Dear Colleagues
Thank you Janet ...
I also like to remind my modern friends, especially Americans, who are
always in a hurry ... that the American Constitution took 11 years to
draft ... and a further 2 years to get enough people to vote for its
ratification. It was not written with excessive haste.
And of course, the British ... still don't have a written
constitution. But, like the Somalis, they do have rule of law ...
except in the case of the Somalis, it is the Somali clan law that is
not written down. In Somaliland the unwritten clan law has been
respected. In Somalia governed from Mogadishu gun law has taken over
from the traditional clan law and we call it a failed state. My guess
is that most members of Somali clans would be much happier and more at
peace under their old clan laws.
I don't know much about traditional law in Kenya ... but what I do
know of traditional law in Africa is that it contains much wisdom. I
am also quite respectful of the quality of British Law.
However, I have no respect whatsoever for rule of law that has been
corrupted in order to serve selfish greedy economic ends of the rich
and powerful ... characteristics of rule of law that are now common in
what is written in the law and the way law is practiced.
The Transparency and Accountability Network: Tr-Ac-Net in New York
IMMC - The Integrated Malaria Management Consortium Inc.
The Tr-Ac-Net blogs ... start at http://tracnetagenda.blogspot.com
917 432 1191 or 212 772 6918 peterbnyc@...
On Fri, Feb 29, 2008 at 5:48 PM, Janet Feldman <kaippg@...> wrote:
> Dear Peter. Andrius, and All,
> Great minds think alike, haha!! I engage in a Native American (American
> Indian) spiritual practice, which has been very enlightening and informative
> for many years. The other night I performed the practice, with the question
> in my mind about how to proceed on this subject of structure and governance.
> The Native American way is very appealing and also highly effective, and has
> much to teach the world. Therefore, what Andrius has proposed is highly
> attractive to me.
> However, Peter's story points to the fact that many other cultures, places,
> and practices do too. Africa has its own traditions of deliberation and
> decision-making, and Peter has told us of one now which is highly pertinent
> to the present situation in Kenya, especially in terms of engagement in the
> most inclusive "process" for arriving at decisions.
> Interestingly, this is very similar to Native American practices, which are
> "slower" in some respects and more deliberative than many of today's speedy
> decision-making processes. But also more inclusive, with outcomes which are
> usually long-lasting. Everyone has their say, and decisions are crafted from
> those inputs. The process takes time, but in the end, the results reflect
> the care taken.
> The ritual I did indicated several amazing things to me, including the
> "spirit work" we are individually and collectively engaging in with these
> discussions. What I will share now is that one of the primary suggestions I
> received has to do with "patience", which seems to be just what Peter is
> telling us with this story. And the "grounding" of action (however soaring
> the flights of thought) in the world as seen through local eyes.
> After a crisis there is usually a great need to feel and to be "ordered"
> again, and sometimes--if the crisis is deep enough--there is a felt and
> perceived urgency to "make the world (or at least ourselves and our
> surroundings) anew". That is one thing tugging at us now in the aftermath of
> the crisis in Kenya.
> Some type of basic "order", in this case, structural framework for our
> relationships and activities, is a good idea to consider and hopefully
> create. The Diversity Councils--however the territory they cover is
> determined--speak to the desire for bridge-building and for peace, and are
> perhaps an important step forward, especially if we want to move away from
> the "command" structure which the emergency birthed.
> Therefore I suggest that we think about creating "diversity councils" in all
> of the areas where we have members (ie in identifiable places such as towns,
> cities, IDP camps, rural locations). To encourage and model peaceful
> relationships and open, constructive dialogue in many local settings is a
> big enough task as it is, and an extremely important one.
> Members from the councils can meet "in congress" (in physical space and
> cyberspace), after deliberating within their own local communities, and
> discuss all matters further among themselves, taking information back to
> their communities, where more discussion and action are needed.
> At a certain point it is very important to "act" too: to develop peace
> plans and governing structures, to put into place and to practice nonviolent
> methods of dispute resolution, to make operational a constitution where all
> are treated with fairness, dignity, and equality.
> Since a number of disputes in Kenya do revolve around land and other natural
> resources, the idea of taking "bioregions" into account as one way to
> "frame" issues, challenges, solutions, parties involved, methods of
> resolution, and the like is an excellent one. It's great that some of our
> members are talking about these things, and hopefully this will continue
> into the future.
> However, it seems to me that now is also the time for everyone to get their
> bearings, to be reflective about what has happened and about the way ahead,
> to nurture the peace-seeds planted during the past couple months by engaging
> in activities which are so crucial for actually keeping the peace, and
> addressing issues of justice.
> Ken's brilliant letter, focusing in a holistic way on addressing both the
> "inner" (self) and "outer" (others) aspects of peace-making, is a case in
> point. There is soulwork here, and that is something too which cannot be
> Dr Ringera in her Pambazuka article a few weeks ago brought up the idea and
> activity of "peace circles", again, a process of dialogue and a way of
> sharing which allows people to have their say, which opens a place both for
> greater understanding (of self and other) and also for healing and
> forgiveness. This type of activity could be done in tandem with the
> creation and work of Diversity Councils.
> Other than these ideas and actions above, I would suggest that we take
> issues related to structuring and goverance a bit slowly, allowing for full
> deliberation and inclusion.
> We also need to sort out to which entities or initiatives we are applying
> our deliberations, as well as our structural, constitutional, and
> process-related discussions and ideas: to Kenya, to Minciu Sodas, to POP,
> the latter of which we envision to be an approach to crisis and emergency
> which could be adapted anywhere in the world.
> For the latter to be something universally applicable and adaptable, it
> would be good to keep it as "simple" and unstructured as possible, focusing
> on the "emergency network" aspect which can be put into place quickly.
> I will close this for now with the hope that our members can become "peace
> champions", "coordinators", "leaders" with all due speed. The rationale for
> the language of command (which I have always myself regarded with great
> concern for its implications) is greatly lessening in Kenya, and we hope it
> will never again be needed. Thus the language and roles and relationships
> possible in peacetime should be considered--in my view--with "all due speed"
> (the reverse of our other activities :)), and changes made accordingly.
> With greatest thanks and lovingkindness, Janet
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Peter Burgess" <peterbNYC@...>
> To: <email@example.com>
> Cc: <firstname.lastname@example.org>; "nafsi Afrika acrobats"
> <email@example.com>; "holistic"
> Sent: Friday, February 29, 2008 12:43 PM
> Subject: [holistichelping] Re: [learningfromeachother] Re: [mendenyo]
> Dear Colleagues
> There are probably people on the lists who know this material better
> than I do, so I hope I get it right.
> I have worked in the past over a number of assignments and years in
> Ethiopia, Somalia and Somaliland ... going back to the early 1980s.
> There are very different forms of governance that have been in play in
> these areas ... The can perhaps be described as Totalitarian communism
> ... Authoritarian Democracy ... War Lordism ... and what Somaliland is
> The international community does not talk much about Somaliland ... it
> broke away from Somalia more than ten years ago but remains
> unrecognized by the international community. Meanwhile it functions
> peacefully in contrast to the mayhem emanating from Mogadishu.
> What is it that Somaliland has done right. My perspective is that the
> Somali's from all the local clans have talked at length about how they
> want to govern themselves ... the original dialog about this went on
> for some 9 months and everyone had the opportunity to have their say.
> The international journalists were absent after about 3 days
> pronouncing that this meeting was doing nothing. In fact it was doing
> everything ... in a democracy everyone must have the right to have
> their say not only in theory but in practice. This takes time. What
> the people decided was a very specific solution to their specific
> situation and it has worked pretty well. It started to come apart a
> few months after the first long meeting adjourned ... and then they
> had a few more months of conversation ... and now it has worked pretty
> well for about a decade.
> It is not a British solution ... an Italian solution ... a Russian
> solution ... a French solution ... or an American solution. It is a
> Somali solution for Somaliland. It is quite sophisticated ... and to
> an outsider, seems to make a lot of sense. Most important ... it seems
> to work.
> Seems to me that there is something to be learned from how peace was
> achieved and sustained in Somaliland ... local people developing local
> With best regards ... with best wishes
> Peter Burgess
> Peter Burgess
> The Transparency and Accountability Network: Tr-Ac-Net in New York
> IMMC - The Integrated Malaria Management Consortium Inc.
> The Tr-Ac-Net blogs ... start at http://tracnetagenda.blogspot.com
> 917 432 1191 or 212 772 6918 peterbnyc@...
> On Fri, Feb 29, 2008 at 4:06 AM, David mutua <davenzainga@...> wrote:
> > Dear Ken, Andrius and All,
> > Ken, i am really impressed by the way you have expressed the Kenya before
> > the the constitutional referendum, after and during the election campaigns
> > and the experiences and outcome - post election violence due to
> > information
> > passed during these times, i second you completely and we need to look for
> > an accommodative ways of addressing the peace building and development
> > issue.
> > The process of identifying local champions or grass -root coordinators who
> > form local or grass root groups in the affected regions seems to be the
> > ideal way forward....Achami fits in very well and we need more Achami's -
> > our tour objectives were clear and still believe serious follow ups are
> > needed.
> > Andrius, I am a Kamba from the eastern part of Kenya though our area
> > didn't
> > directly experience the turmoils, i have not engaged into the peace
> > building
> > initiative to assist my tribe but Kenyans who have been affected like you
> > and others out there.
> > PEACE
> > David Mutua
> > ///////////////////////////////////////
> > Kennedy Owino <nafsiafricaacro@...> wrote:
> > Hi Andrius and all,
> > I appreciate you for the visionary leadership you have offered here.
> > Truly it has been the hand of God offering guidance.
> > I am highly willing to take up the challenging task of organizing and
> > building a luo congress that would have a tribal structure that runs down
> > to intertribal councils.
> > Approached strategically and with a well spelt out working plan, I see it
> > yielding positive impacts.
> > However, we have to take into account certain issues, analyze the
> > prevailing mood, and ask ourselves whether this is applicable at this
> > defining moment, otherwise we would fuel a fire that would take ages to
> > extinguish.
> > I completely concur with this concept as one that would take us to the
> > next
> > level, but the truth of the matter is that while it may be the right thing
> > to do, the hard part of it is doing it right.
> > I understand your concept as receding away from a National "structurised"
> > system operandi.
> > I have no qualms about independent thinking , or working and being
> > developed
> > from an independent angle, this gathers more action.
> > This in principle has helped build me and define me as a person and my
> > capabilities, giving me chances,challenges and growth
> > In the past election, the opposition were articulating Regional Government
> > ideals in their manifestos.
> > The idea was devolution of power and resources which was distorted by some
> > as displacement and evictions of "outsiders' from their dwelling place.
> > This was a sensitive issue that divided Kenyans. The Ruling party
> > ostensibly
> > rejected the idea of Regional Government and even some of it's luminaries
> > relayed hate campaigns, misinforming the public.
> > Most Kenyans did not comprehend it clearly, and various names were given
> > to
> > it, to push Kenyans into embracing it.
> > In deep honesty, this is one of the issues that plunged Kenya into ethnic
> > violence.
> > Even before the elections we had warnings circulating of evictions and
> > take over of property.
> > Most people were misinformed by the whole issue of "majimbo" or "ugatuzi"
> > as
> > it came to be known..
> > I see it not being attainable particularly now, we need an environment
> > that
> > would give way to healing and reconciliation.
> > This is a criticaland defining moment of diffusing all those bad
> > inculcated
> > perceptions, and debriefing the citizens.
> > Civic education is very necessary at this critical moment.
> > My premonition is that,o rganizing around a community would lead into ,
> > tribes organizing themselves to safeguard their mapped ancestral
> > boundaries
> > not only against aggressors but also against outsiders (people deemed as
> > unwanted/from certain tribes)
> > I don't know, I may be naïve but this is just my fear.
> > The danger in the concept of bioregions is, Kenya may be further divided
> > than imagined.
> > We have heard communities saying that they would seek sovereignty unless
> > their leader is Sworn in at the helm of Kenya leadership.
> > We have heard communities not recognizing the current President as the
> > President of Kenya
> > I don't even want to dream of Kenya degenerating into a "Kenya Nairobi",
> > Kenya Mombasa" Kenya central" "democratic republic of Kenya" or a "Kenya
> > original"
> > I have been wondering what happened to our Kenyaness spirit.
> > Where are those virtues that used to socially intergrate us; the national
> > flag, Our National language (not Tribal Language), National Anthem (not
> > Trad
> > songs), the cherised childhood games, Our churches. e.t.c
> > We should choose on activities promoting integration over division and
> > build
> > on these, points that embody love and trust.
> > Every Kenyan as a right of living anywhere, all the displaced have the
> > right
> > of being re-settled.
> > Justice is necessary, the perpetrators of the violence, the instigators
> > who
> > caused unwarranted arson, ethnic cleansings and evictions must be
> > persecuted.
> > Elections irregularities and dissatisfaction must be addressed.
> > This is the Justice that Kenyans need.
> > Raila is the King pin of the luos, politically, but luos still have t an
> > Elder who is called "Ker"
> > The Ker together with his council dictates abolishment of certain cultures
> > and entrenchment of new virtues.
> > This tribal leadership cuts down to the clans elder , village elder and
> > lastly head of the family.
> > Many tribes may also be have same , and certain tribal chieftains are
> > recognized by the Government.
> > I don't want to dwell on this though because it is a structured system
> > already there.
> > My heart is open to working with people drawn from various tribes, in
> > reaching out as to each other emmisarries of peace.
> > As we have always done let individual members of different tribes gather
> > and come around common purposes that reflects one nation moving beyond
> > bitterness, pettiness, hatred and anger
> > Retreating back to working just within our tribes may raise some dust up,
> > that would provide a difficult scenario that would prevent repairing the
> > Ground that as been slowly opening up under our legs.
> > The team of Dennis, Chelimo, Ken O, David, Rachel, Achami, David Mutua ,
> > Tom
> > and or Dan is a real reflection of Kenyanness.
> > I believe PoP Kenyan Crusaders have always remained magnanimous and
> > willing
> > to work and address both sides of the divide and bargain.
> > Let's promote the culture of reaching out to the other tribe as Rachel,
> > David, Achami, Dennis and REPACTED, Rono, and Ronald Odhiambo, have
> > demonstrated.
> > We can approach Bi-oregions idea, by singling out hotspot zones, and
> > identifying champions who would act as co-coordinators and help organize
> > Peace committees
> > We had managed this feat, and made gains in Kuresoi, Eldoret, Nakuru,
> > Nandi
> > hills, and Naivasha.
> > The Champions must not necessarily be from the same tribe, but people who
> > have been living in these identified regions.
> > Say for instance Achami is not a Kalenjin but he is outstanding in Peace
> > work in the Kalenjin area.
> > All Champions should be empowered with adequate skills that would enable
> > them respond to intervention measures.
> > The committees may further form cluster groups/ working groups/ listening
> > groups/ thematic groups in accordance to the needs of these zones.
> > There is so much needs at the moment even as Peace slowly streams back.
> > There are needs of balancing back and making peace with our past, studying
> > emerging trends and mitigating, community levels mediation, and
> > reconciliation,
> > establishing violence avertion mechanisms to prevent a repeat of the past,
> > Re-building and Development, addressing threats to peace,e.t.c
> > These are some of the issues that the commitees (Cells of Opeace) would
> > look
> > into.
> > In Nyanza we believe in the abilities of Tom, Dan, Sam, Ronald and
> > Jacktone,.
> > Am ready to travel to go help create a system that would help restore
> > peace,
> > welcome development, rebuilding, healing, and a Spirit of welcoming back
> > the
> > evicted back into the midst of their evictors.
> > They need to be accommodated back into the societies they for long knew
> > and
> > helped to recover.
> > I will stop at that, to watch the news flash.
> > Good News!!!! The Principals, Hon. Raila, and President Kibaki finally
> > signs
> > a peace deal that would end the sporadic violence and ethnic cleansings.
> > We are finally coming out of the tunnel to breath the air of peace and
> > face
> > the glimmering light.
> > Thanks all PoP members, Supporters and associates, you have helped
> > Kenyans
> > make it possible.
> > We can take this further than this to help attain Global tranquility.
> > All in all it has been the hand of God, the Councilors of Nairobi agreed
> > to
> > share Mayoral powers, why not Raila and Kibaki.
> > Ultimate Peace is an heartbeat away.
> > Ken Owino
> Please note our rule: Each letter sent to the Holistic Helping group enters
> the PUBLIC DOMAIN unless it explicitly states otherwise. Thank you!