As you might know, Kenya is currently facing, perhaps, the toughest test of its unity and peace in the face of violence precipitated by a flawed election last December. According to most reports there have been close to 700 deaths caused by post-election violence and hundreds of thousands of mostly poor Kenyans displaced. The violence has not let up, especially lately, and the dead and displaced continue to increase. Against this background, there have been mediation efforts led by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to have President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga reach a political settlement and begin the process of healing and rebuilding. There are some initial signs of a willingness by both sides to compromise for the sake of peace. Local and international pressure will help increase the speed and improve the quality of the process.
As a result of an effort driven by Kenyans living in America, Congressman Donald Payne (NJ) and Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI) and John E. Sununu (R-NH) have introduced a bill in their respective legislative houses calling for a resolution to the political crisis at home. If passed through both houses, such a bill would lend influential weight to the international call for a peaceful and long-lasting resolution in Kenya. You can help by contacting your Member of Congress and Senator and asking them to support the pending bill, which is currently at the committee stage. Write a letter, send a fax, shoot an email or make a call – the more personalized, the more likely it is to be read or heard.
You can find a sample letter here: http://www.hconres283.org/SampleLetter.pdf
Talking points: http://www.hconres283.org/talkingpoints.pdf
How to find your Senator: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
How to find your Member of Congress: http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW_by_State.shtml
For more resources and information on this effort please visit: http://www.hconres283.org
As we continue to diagnose and debate the causes and possible solutions to the crisis in Kenya, let’s do what we can to contribute towards hastening a peaceful resolution in the country. Thanks very much and please forward this appeal for action to others.
PS: You can also help by contributing towards the relief efforts to provide food, shelter and clothing to the hundreds of thousands of displaced Kenyans, spearheaded by the Kenya Red Cross, please visit: http://www.kenyaredcross.org/. The donation widget is on the bottom right corner of the homepage.