Running for Peace

KIT The newsletter of ITDGPractical Action-EA - December 2003

Running for Peace

Tegla Loroupe and Paul Tergat, renowned international athletes, participated in a peace marathon that attracted over ten thousands people, mainly warriors drawn from Pokot, Marakwet, Turkana, Samburu, Karamojang and southern Sudan communities.

The inaugural ‘Tegla Loroupe Peace Race’ brought together hitherto hostile communities. The participants lauded the idea of promoting peace and intercommunity relations through sports.

Warriors and international athletes (both men and women), competed in a 10-km race while children under the age of 12 ran for 5-km, and VIPs and the elderly ran for 2-km.

Kalie Kurwoi emerged the best warrior while Cheposera Merisia led in the women’s category. The winners received cash prize of Kshs 25,000 each with the second and third positions attracting Kshs 15,000 and Kshs 10,000 respectively. The money was donated by the Kenya Tourism Board.

While officiating over the race, Assistant Minister for Regional Development Danson Mungatana reiterated the government’s resolve to fight proliferation of illicit arms. He reiterated the government’s committment to curbing infiltration of illegal firearms from the war ravaged neighbouring countries. The Assistant Minister called upon the international community and NGOs to assist in developing the northern parts of Kenya.

Danson Mungatana won the VIP category of the inaugural Tegla Loroupe race and was closely followed by the Swedish ambassandor to Kenya B. Goransson. In an interesting turn of events, Tegla was relegated to sixth position in the 10-km category. Jane Katupo led in this category while Cheyodi Losiangura led in the under 12 years 2-km category.

Tegla LoroupeInternational athlete, Tegla Loroupe urged women to take a leading role in conflict resolution. She noted with concern that violence in the community often affects women most. "It is sad for a woman to carry a baby for nine months only for that child to be killed upon delivery by a belligerent raider. It is time for women to take leadership positions. This might reduce conflicts," she said amidst applause.

West Pokot DC applauded the race saying that since all the combatant communities are present and have further committed themselves to peaceful coexistence, peace in the region will be inevitable.

Speaking on behalf of the civil society, Mr Mohamud Adan of ITDGPractical Action-EA urged the government to step up measures aimed at controlling the infiltration of illicit arms at the borders. He lamented that if developing countries cannot control the movement and the usage of weapons, "then we have no business manufacturing the arms."

The speakers urged politicians to desist from issuing inflamatory remarks that fuel conflict among the locals. The political leaders were urged to educate their people on the need for peaceful co-existence.

Athletes from Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, USA, Germany, Holland and Sudan participated in the race. The first black man to win New York Marathon, Mr. Ibrahim Hussein, also participated in the race. Other participants included members of parliament, Athletics Kenya chairman, Isaiah Kiplagat, Swedish Ambassador, British Deputy High Commissioner to Kenya and guests from Italian, Holland, Germany and British embassies.

Peace BulletinSee also the ITDGPractical Action Eastern Africa Peace Bulletin
and other ITDGPractical Action East Africa publications

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