Thursday, March 06, 2008

Picking up the Pieces: Cartooning the Post-Election Crisis

Over the last few weeks, Kenya has witnessed post-election violence on an unimaginable scale. As efforts to resolve the political stalemate continue apace, there is need for the Kenyan society to initiate dialogue on the root causes of this violence and also to provide alternative avenues for the people to air their grievances without resorting to force.
The Association of East African Cartoonists (KATUNI), the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) and the Goethe Institut have organized a cartoon competition entitled “Picking up the Pieces” in hopes of contributing towards the identification of a lasting solution to the problem.
The goals of this competition are to identify the reasons for the violence and propose ways out of the crisis on the basis of the following questions:
1) What are the root causes of the violence?
2) How have our leaders reacted to crisis?
3) What is the way forward?
The competition has been open to all professional and amateur cartoonists throughout the country. All the country's top cartoonists (including the Daily Nation's GADO, MADD and KHAM of the Standard and Victor Ndula of the Nairobi Star) as well as a large number of other lesser-known-but-by-no-means-less-given-to-cutting-satire cartoonists have elected to participate and their works will be on show at the Goethe Institut for two months starting 7th March 2008. Also participating are cartoonists from around the world who have sent in their cartoons on the crisis as they viewed it from their various countries. The exhibition provides a unique, tragicomic and compelling look at the events of the last two months through the eyes of our society's most unforgiving critics.
On 7th March, as part of the launch of the exhibition, we have arranged for a public forum from 4.00-6.00pm discuss various aspects of the crisis i.e the constitutional aspect, economic aspect, historical and cultural aspects, the role and impact of the media and the effect of the crisis on our democracy and its institutions. The forum will feature presentations by several panelists including former Secretary to the CKRC turned politician, PLO Lumumba; Muthoni Wanyeki, Executive Director of the Kenya Human Rights Commission; Mitch Odero of the Media Council; and Betty Maina, Chairperson of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers.
The forum will be followed by a cocktail at the same venue during which the winners of the competition will be announced.

All are welcome to attend. Entry is free.