The Kenya Private Sector Alliance's (KEPSA) Mkenya Daima Campaign in partnership with One Earth Future Foundation held a breakfast meeting to launch a report on The Role of Kenya's Private Sector in Peacebuilding: The Case of the 2013 Election Cycle.
The report draws on a series of key interviews with leaders from the Kenyan business community, as well as publicly available scholarly and popular literature on private sector peacebuilding. The report:
- Identifies the private sector as a politically neutral actor that was an influential resource in preventing election cycle violence;
- Demonstrates how the potential impact of violence motivated the private sector to take action on conflict-prevention activities;
- Finds that the power of the private sector is enhanced when it acts in a collective and coordinated fashion, and when it works with other spheres of society.
Speaking during the launch Dr. Caesar Mwangi said that the Mkenya Daima campaign was able to accomplish its objective which was to inspire a peaceful election and a better Kenya for all. He also went on to thank all those who supported the campaign both in cash and in kind.
KEPSA Chairman, Vimal Shah spoke on the role of the private sector together with other groups such as the civil society, religious groups, and media owners who undertook a sustained, systematic, and comprehensive peace building campaign that contributed to the nonviolent nature of the electoral process. In his remarks he stated that through the Mkenya Daima Campaign, the private sector proved that business can thrive in a peaceful environment. He also added and said that the report by One Earth Foundation would serve as a good learning lesson for other countries to use.
Lee Sorenson, Director of One Earth Future's Responsibility to Protect and Business project, said that the Kenyan business community played an essential part in facilitating peaceful elections in 2013, offering a blueprint for preventing future electoral violence.
“Moving forward, our study has shown that business can and should be part of continuing efforts to build institutions that improve transparency in the conducting of public affairs, reduce tensions, and create a more harmonized society, as well as provide an environment that enables the sector to thrive,” says lead author, Dr. Victor Odundo Owuor, a Research Associate at One Earth Future.
In her closing remarks KEPSA CEO, Carole Kariuki, said that the campaign’s new focus will now be ‘peace for development’. She also said that the next phase of the campaign will involve more collaboration between the private sector, civil society, media, faith based organizations, and university student leaders, all of whom were in attendance at this morning's event.
Another launch event for the research report and a panel discussion on its findings will be held on Monday, June 23rd in Washington D.C.