Abdia Mohamud: Peace crusader hopes to win Nobel price
It is the soft friendly voice that oozes words of love and her open demeanour that strikes one most on when meeting her for the first time.
It is this same soft voice and persona that has enabled Abdia Mohamud to conquer where most have failed to succeed and in the process save hundreds, thousands or even a whole presumed generation who might have easily been wiped out in Isiolo and the bigger part of North Eastern Kenya through the never ending clan wars.
A mother of four, Mohamud has found herself nursing many babies in terms of peace making as she gambles between family life and peace advocacy.
Confronting tribal animosity and clan conflicts fuelled by cattle rustling has become her cup of coffee after five years of a challenging journey to bring peace to the delicate northern part of Eastern Kenya.
“Peace is the tranquillity, tolerance and accepting each other’s views while living together,” Mohamud says as she defines peace. She adds: “In a peaceful environment a lot can be achieved.”
This seems to be the main reason why she is passionately seeking for peace as she believes that peace has never been a burden to her.
Having been raised in the patriarchal North Eastern Kenya, Mohamud never thought she would one day be a peace ambassador. However, she got a huge boost when she received blessings from her husband after deciding to embark on her mission.
She was inspired into doing peace advocacy work by the role that Dekha Ibrahim, the late peace ambassador from Wajir did. Ibrahim, a renowned peace crusader and former Rights Livelihood award holder died in a gruesome road accident along Garissa-Mwingi route shortly after she was nominated for the world’s prize.
Mohamud has soldiered on with the mission and her peace efforts are slowly being realised in Isiolo and North Eastern Kenya region, a process that is today giving her awards of recognition.
Mohamud has received three medals — Amani Award of 2010, Isiolo County Medal in Peace Work and the Head of State commendation in peace work for the year 2012.
She is not only a local peace ambassador but has also gained international recognition for peace efforts. She has influenced peace initiatives in the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) countries through her skills affiliated to The Regional Conflict Early Warning Mechanism (CEWARN) IGAD.
“My engagement with CEWARN and close collaboration with my counterpart from Samburu as well as close links with law enforcement agencies has seen diffusion of conflict before it explosion, a move that has increased my understanding of conflict prevention at early stage,” says Mohamud who is currently working on several projects through her Peace Link organisation aimed at promoting peace in Isiolo County and the neighbouring regions.
The organisation’s small arms and light weapons project known as “Refocusing on Small Arms Control on Impact” connecting global policy to community driven approaches is aimed at increasing trust among communities and law enforcers, adherence to protocols of weapons management as well as increasing professionalism among firearms users and especially the National Police Reservists. It is also drawing lessons from the community interventions for policy productions.
So far Mohamud has been able to mobilize electronic registration of all state owned fire arms in Isiolo County especially those possessed by National Police Reservists, which helps in mapping them thus preventing misuse.
During the “Dumisha Amani” 11 Programme and Presidential Amnesty of 2009-2010 Mohamud participated in sensitizing communities to voluntarily return their illegal arms.
She applauds a total of five women in Isiolo whom she says returned their arms even after their husbands and sons clung to them.
Although the exercise was a great success, the people of Isiolo were rendered vulnerable to their neighbours especially Samburu East who took advantage of the absence of illegal guns that were returned voluntarily by people of Isiolo.
“Subsequent incidences, however, were later reported which discouraged the people of Isiolo a great deal,” she laments.
Mohamud urges that interventions should be included throughout the whole of the Isiolo triangle so that disarmament is done uniformly and sensitization targets the whole region.
Mohamud’s strength does not allow negative thoughts distract her work and this is an inspiration that may lead her to bring the Nobel Peace Prize back home once again.
Propelled by the three awards that she has bagged in the past few years, Mohamud is hopeful that she will walk in the path that Dekha Ibrahim and Prof. Wangari Maathai went through..