Ahead of the 2017 Zinduka festival to be held in Uganda later in November this year, participants from different organisations held an open house forum bringing together ideas on East African community integration, among them how to make anticipated event successful.
The open house event held at the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) offices in Nairobi saw participants share on issues relating to democracy, politics and governance among others. The issue of crackdown on civil societies by government agencies witnessed in the recent days in Kenya and other East African countries was not left untouched. According to the Kenya human rights commission executive director George Kegoro, Civil societies should get ready and embrace this matter. “It is not a context of hopelessness, but a context of power. We are in a moment of power’’. Kegoro’s statements were echoed by Davis Malombe, the deputy executive director of KHRC saying the governments are threatened by the power of the people.
The importance and activities of Zinduka in East African Integration was expounded by Mwambi Mwikamba, Chairman of the local Zinduka Organizing Committee who is also the country Coordinator, Natural Resources Alliance of Kenya (KENRA).
“Given the need to engage and empower East Africans to enhance their contribution to the integration process, the 2017 Zinduka Festival under the theme ‘Inclusive Integration; Bonds that Last’, will bring together representatives from the grassroots social movements and communities, national and regional civil society organisations, artists and activists, public intellectuals, policy makers and the media into a space for intense reflection, celebrations and contribution to the emerging new Africa’’.
Meaning “re-awakening consciousness” in Kiswahili, Zinduka brings together participants from the fields of academia, social movements, civil society organisations, media, the business community, the EAC Secretariat and East African government bodies to engage in discussions regarding East African integration, to find collaborative measures to strengthen advocacy on EAC integration for sustainable development and to celebrate the region’s rich diversity.
With 2017 Zinduka festival marking the fifth edition since its inauguration in May 2013, the subsequent events held in Tanzania and Uganda respectively have been applauded for giving people from all walks of life in the EAC region a platform to raise their problems, providing solutions, and about hope; giving a youthful generation hope for a better Africa.
At the event, Suba Churchill, coordinator of the national civil society congress noted, “Zinduka is for me the only voluntary initiative by Citizens to integrate and celebrate their culture irrespective of their national boundaries”.
Among the organisations that attended the Zinduka Open House event include Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), Natural Resources Alliance Of Kenya (KeNRA), Pixels Kenya, Katiba Institute and Tax Justice Network among other local organisations represented.