Kenya needs Restorative Justice
Kenya needs Restorative Justice
Kenya as a society is broken and deeply wounded majorly because of political power and abuse of it. As a result of election ethnic community have become rival, as a result of election electoral institutions are seen and not independent, easy manipulated for wrong or good reason, as a result of election systems of justice are not trusted by a large section of Kenyans, as a result of election the youths have largely decided to boycott elections, as a result of election, many have been wounded, maimed and killed, as a result of election there is serious stigma among the electorates and the list continues. In as much as election is very important in ushering in new leadership, it has not been easy for Kenyans and it has led to serious division and pain among the electorates. This is evidenced in the social media where months have passed yet people even the elected leaders are still busy abusing each other. we cannot develop if a large section of the society is not involved in the process of governance and development. There is need for restorative justice.
John Paul Lederach defines reconciliation as a point of convergence between peace, justice, truth and mercy. Reconciliation it important for Kenyans regardless of who will initiate it. I wouldn’t recommend retributive justice because, I think we are all criminals, this is because we cry about bad leadership, but we do not stop electing bad leaders and that by essence makes us bad electorates with bad electoral and judicial systems.
Restorative Justice aims at helping those who offend to recognize the harm, to the extent it is possible. Rather than obsessing about whether those who offend get what they deserve, restorative justice focuses on repairing the harm of crime and engaging the individual and community members in the process (Howard Zehr, 2015). More than anything else, we need to heal.
In order to heal first and foremost, we need to actively participate in the healing process. Those who have wronged others as much as those that have been wronged must agree to have a discussion on how best they can listen to each other. those that have indirectly been involved both in the harm and in the effect of the harm must agree to dialogue on the issues and have a voice in the outcomes made.
We need to focus on healing what has been broken. This takes the form of emotional healing for victims and the offenders, relationship healing and reparation of property damage. No matter how strong/hard we are playing, the hurtful words, the hurtful actions which have created the feeling of injustice or led to broken relationships must be confronted with honesty and truthfulness. The hurts ought to be brought to light and a space for healing and reparation created.
As difficult as that maybe, the offenders need to take responsibility of their own actions and choices. They need to get the opportunity to tell their story, what led them into doing what they did. We need to nurture an environment where we are encouraged to take ownership for our own roles in hurtful behavior or abuses of power. We must learn to be accountable for everything we do or make others do. The act of doing anything, not taking responsibility tantamount to impunity and impunity if we do not confront it, will kill us.
We are better united than divided. Conflict apart from breaking communication also breaks trust and we are left with the feeling of isolation from the offenders and the victims. We need to initiate processes that allow for reintegration because this will create a renewed sense of wholeness and closure as well as a sense of reintegration into the community or society or government. There are so many Kenya who feel isolated making an electoral process that is supposed to be a holy affair to be a matter of life and death because we are seeking recognition. The Us Vs Them attitude is not good for a County that is still struggling economically. We need to unite in order that the vision 2030 the we had set for ourselves can be fulfilled. Leaders must endeavor to make living less painful for Kenyans. It is the duty of the leaders not to be proud and arrogant but to take stock of where division have occurred and work towards balance, understanding and reconciliation.
Kenya is resilience especially most poor individuals who live below a dollar. We need to focus on the structural/systemic causes of conflicts in our society and address them to prevent future occurrences of such situations. We need to take the opportunities to learn from what we have gone through in the past over 50 years. We need to build the narrative of restorative justice in our society so as to illuminate systemic injustice and power imbalances. It will help us to advocate for positive changes in order to make the community a healthier and a more just place for all.