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1.PEACE MARSHAL STANLEY NJOROGE’S STORY

I would like to congratulate and honour the APT  at large because of making me the person am today. Before I was introduced into APT, I used to be a gangster and a street boy. On my background, my mum and dad used to force me to do things that I thought was not right since I was a young boy. They chased me out of the family and I started the hard life of sleeping in makeshift kiosks every night went on up to a level where even getting food to eat was difficult. I tried to skip a day without a meal but the matter became worse in such a way I could not withstand the situation.

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I began collecting bones, plastic and metal in sewers and go weigh at the scrap metal and sell them. Most of my friends who were my school mates started laughing at me whenever I would meet them, That’s the time I realized that I was doing dirty work not to be done by me. For a long time in my collection of those items. I  made friends who could even show me how to gamble with money up to a certain period of time, then I realized that my friends used to have a lot of money to play with. They introduced me to a gang. Which I joined the family of gangsters without any second thought.

We started harassing people mostly on Saturday’s usually this is a payday for them as many came from the ghetto. We advanced up to abducting taxi drivers and selling their vehicles to a place in Naivasha. This gang which I was in benefited a lot through this business and because I was not of their age they gave me little, which for me was a  good amount. After enjoying the amounts for some times; One day by bad luck, people noticed and timed me in a hiding place where I was beaten severely to the extent of losing my life. The only escape from hell was by the grace of God when a patrol police vehicle rescued me and took me to a hospital and afterwards released me.

After I got well my friends had advanced to a higher level of crime whereby they bought two guns. They put me as their spy/messenger squad. Where I would do surveillance for potential places that had resources to steal. The last deal was arranged in Nairobi west whereby I managed to escape death/jail by a whisker. It was because that day I was sent to call another member of the gang to come and join since it was a big deal. It took me a bit of time to trace and find him.

But because it is not a person whom you can find in one place, I  took much time that rendered me to come back to the squad. Hence they decided to go on there own without the accomplice they sent to look for. They managed to attack three M-Pesa shops and salons. But unluckily they didn’t manage to escape since the officers were informed of the crime and had taken cover in every corner, they surrendered plus their weapons. They were arrested under tight security and handcuffed.

The news spread up to our hood where I was and realized that my people were arrested. They were taken to Lang’ata police station and thereafter to Milimani law court II where they denied the charges and were taken to Remand prison in Industrial area. They stayed here up to 2011 when they were sentenced to death. To there luck, the death sentence in Kenya had been abolished and as an alternative, they had to serve life imprisonment. After all that experience, I usually communicate to them using the contacts they have till now.

After that experience where I missed being nabbed, I made a decision to go back to my dad and mum’s house because the situation had become more and tougher. This is the point where I believed that blood is thicker than water after the warm welcome I got from my parents. They took me back to a school known as Soweto Baptist High school.

I was very rude and could even threaten teachers in school. I continued my studies skipping some lessons and that’s the time APT came over and o every Fridays and Mondays during games to teach participatory theatre and conflict management, nonviolence, trust and leadership skills and many more topics. I didn’t join immediately but as days went, I got interested and joined. I knew most of the things through APT which reformed me to do my work without any conflict or rudeness not only with my teachers but also my fellow students and society at large.

I  have changed to be a good person to date and even though I have gained skills in peace and conflict resolution issues, I managed to get well-wishers who offered to pay my college fees. Am also an able leader of a group of sixty members and ten projects run in Kibera community. I am the Nyayo Highrise ward youth representative and trustee in Muungano Trust. I am now a man the community cherish and that’s why if we refuse something even if its the government, they will have to sit and negotiate with us. With the full support of the community, I informed them about an  MCA. Akuk.M.O who was by then an ODM party aspirant but had a good impact on the youth via what he intended to do for them. He was elected and he appreciated me a lot, not because I had more votes. Like this, I was informed by majority voters whom I had introduced to him. I am a reliable person to be trusted and also a peer educator to enlighten our youths in Kibera.MCA calls me ‘Reformed boy’ and that’s why my group is called Kibera Reformation and Transformation Centre(KRTC) that deals with

*peace

*Environment

*Talents

Through peace activities and arts, we usually have the training to educate people about being responsible and go existence in the society in which they live. In the environment, we deal with garbage collection and products from waste. Through the talents, we have forum theatre initiated by APT. We also have a football team which acts as a way of bringing the youths from different backgrounds together.

 

2. STORY BY STANLEY NJOROGE- KIBERA REFORMATION & TRANSFORMATION CENTRE.

In the year 2012 during  August holidays. We had a conflict between communities based in Soweto east and Nyayo Highrise area( Luhya and Kisii”s). I was a peace marshal through APT.

I decided to share my worries on the looming conflict arising to a new community-based organisation that I had formed called Kibera Reformation and transformation centre (KRTC). The aim was to look at the conflict that was happening and find a way of resolving the conflict using the skills acquired from APT  methods of conflict resolution.

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I managed to organise my members and through them I made a very good skit about the two communities fighting and asked APT to chip in to help solve the conflict.

At first, it was difficult to invite the community members at the grassroots level because of the conflict. I tried to talk to my best friends and listen to their views and ideas of why the conflict has gone to such an extent. I  listened and noted something issues said, But I could not take it as the main root course before I could listen to both sides in which I found out that the problem was as a result of grabbing of kiosks.

The cause of the conflict was due to two people who had no kiosks there and they laid claim to have been there for more than ten years so they can’t miss-allocation of the kiosks. Yet the” refugees” ( Abagusii) have two.

During that period the administration of high rise(chief)APT, and KRTC officials sat down and thought of how we can restore peace in that area since it had reached a point that the warring groups were now carrying pangas. I decided to play my role as a young leader of the community and planned for a day of solving the problem. I allocated it to be on 26th/8/2012 at high rise parking bay, the day was on Sunday.

I tend to select  Sunday’s since it’s a day majority of community members are present. We began to mobilize the people through invisible theatre techniques which brought attention to every member to view it.

We could even hear some people saying” Rafanan na venye tulikuwa tunafanya” which means it resembles the way we were doing as people continue to approach the actors the area chief was present and Maxwell who was an APT program officer by then.

The chief addressed the community and called out the two key people from both sides by there names and said it in public are these the people who had missed the allocation of kiosks, the crowd responded yes it s them.

He then said I am going to give them one each to run their business the crowd were happy and started saying” Heriko chief sasa” which meant better chief now. This cooled the anxiety of members of the community. I would want to thank  and appreciate   the training and support from APT because assuming I had no idea I don’t think whether there could be peace and if it could be, then   maybe after   a long time,.Since  am a peace marshal I will also request  APT to continue with their program to other areas so that we may have  many peace marshals spread  in many  areas in areas in Kibera and other slums like Mathare,kawangrawe,majengo and mukuru.

Through the peace education program, I can say that helped prevent the violence that was planned in Kibera for the 2013 election for sure we are happy for the Kibera community for keeping the peace because it a of place where politicians invest their money to pay youths to cause chaos in their mutual benefit.

 

3. CASE STORY THREE

I have lived within the Nandi community for many years. One day some Nandi members in Potopoto claimed the pieces of land and the plots were theirs and all Luos who lived within the area should vacate. We would wake up in the morning and get anonymous letters threatening us to leave or else we would face the consequences. We, therefore, reported the matter to the District Commissioner, he assured us and said we shouldn’t be worried as he would look into it.

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One week later a meeting was held and both parties from Luo and Nandi community came and we discussed the issues oblivious that something deeper was being planned despite the meetings we held. By this time I was a representative at the Youth Bunge (Parliament) representing an area called Marama. The mentality at Marama was that the area was mostly occupied by Luhya and Luo communities, at the same time one of the cartel members claimed he owned the entire Marama area. I being a member at the Youth Bunge (Parliament) was against the issue of deforestation, so I stopped those I came across that were cutting down trees. I told them ” The trees you are cutting down will have a negative impact on the community as we will no longer be able to get enough rains and the soil would not hold together without the trees, therefore, we could be at risk of landslides and earthquakes”.

Little did I know that whatever warning I gave them would come to pass and in less than a week, there was a heavy storm that led to ten houses getting demolished and swept off. This left most mothers and children homeless with nowhere to sleep or rest. I, therefore, decided to become a good samaritan and offer a helping hand to some of the mothers to seek refuge at my house as others sought refuge from friends and relatives within the area. The catastrophic message reached the area chief and he came with a group of policemen to stop those who were still cutting down trees. The moment I saw the chief approaching I rushed to say hi to him but that did not go well as those who saw us thought I was snitching on those who were cutting trees and that I had rung the chief asking him to come over and arrest those who were involved.

Just like that, young men started gathering and barricaded the road with huge rocks so that the trees that the chief had taken away would not pass the barricade using a lorry. With rumours quickly spreading that I had called the police on the villagers cutting down the trees, the local Nnandi community started chanting, “These Luos must vacate!!” as they targeted me and other Luo neighbours to move away from our homes. At that particular moment, one of the young men started hauling abuses towards me and even as I walked away he persisted as he followed me. The issue got out of hand and within no time the chief’s compound was full with youthful men chanting that I have to be evacuated, even those I knew as my friends were part of the gathering that was chanting about my evacuation at the chief’s compound.

By that time I had a small baby who was outside the house and the villagers started throwing stones at my house breaking all the window glasses. Luckily for me, a friend was outside the house who rushed and grabbed my daughter due to her motherly instincts. On seeing what was happening, the other Luos rushed and locked themselves in the house so did I. By that time I could hear some familiar voices I knew saying “let’s break the back door, that is where she keeps her things”. Although my house was well equipped with steel doors, I could clearly feel that my death was just seconds away. Luckily for us, calls had been made to the Police OCS office and within no time the OCS had arrived with his troop in three land rovers.

I had to be escorted outside my house with the company of police so that no harm could come to me. We were therefore taken to the police station and my house was locked by the cartel who claimed that he owned the house. I, therefore, moved to Kopere with my child and the only thing I managed to carry with me were our clothes. I lived in Kopere for two months without setting foot in Potopoto. This gave me a hard time as all my businesses and work were entirely in Potopoto and its environs. I am glad that the whole issue came to an end, and eventually, I could even interact with people from Potopoto makes me glad once more. I am also happy that APT has helped me overcome my trauma through the numerous workshops I have attended and my heart is longer burdened by the events that took place. I have chosen peace, peace with those who wronged me and peace with myself to let all that go. My gratitude goes to Amani People’s Theatre.

-Community Member and Animator, APT.

4. CASE STORY FOUR

I am a bodaboda rider(motorcyclist) and I remember not long ago in mid-2018 around May I had transported two customers, a lady and her brother from Meteitei area heading to Kopere town. By that time, I was oblivious that chaos had already broken out from Kopere area claiming they were going to beat the Luos who came to fetch water from their spring at the hills. I rode my bike with my two passengers till Kopere. On getting to the area locals had already driven out members of Nandi tribe and I had no idea on what had transpired. I saw one man heading towards me shouting, “Remove that bike from here!”, meanwhile, he was carrying a boulder of rock over his shoulders.

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I still remember his face until now. Luckily for me, a friend of mine appeared and whispered to me that something had happened and warned me to leave as soon as possible. I was still astonished on what had happened and amidst my disbelief, the guy with the huge rock was still headed towards me and the women who are fishmongers in the area quickly told me to leave before things got out of hand. In the meantime, I had left other fellow motorcyclists behind and I was the one who got at Kopere first. Immediately got on my motorbike and took the young lady and her brother with me. On getting to the junction I got a huge number of motorcyclists discussing on what had happened, claiming they had attacked the Luos who were fetching water from their side and in return, the Luos had decided to retaliate by chasing them away and threatening to harm any member of Nandi tribe they came across. I clearly remember all those who wanted to harm me and I even see them up to dsate. It hurts me sometimes thinking about the issue because if the guy had struck me with the huge rock I would have been injured seriously or even lost my life in that event. What hurts me more is the fact that these people knew me very well and I was not a stranger in their eyes. Nonetheless, I am grateful to APT because through numerous workshops and training on trauma healing I am happy to say that I feel relieved having let out the anger that I harboured within me.

-Community Member and Animator, APT.