BY CORRESPONDENT,5TH MARCH,2022-Religious leaders have urged the government to assure Kenyans that the August general elections and subsequent transition will be peaceful, free and fare
Speaking at the Jumuia Conference Country Home in Limuru, led by National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), General Secretary (GS), Canon Chris Kinyanjui, the clergy called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to assure Kenyans of a peaceful election and seamless transition thereafter.
The NCCK General Secretary said the first test will be during the political parties and coalitions primaries, which will test the free and fairness of the process three months before the General Elections.
The action plan also included calling upon Interior and Coordination Cabinet Secretary (CS), Fred Matiangi, to make adequate preparations and coordinate with the State and Non-state actors, in order to secure the elections.
“We want Kenyans to be assured that scenes witnessed in the Juja by elections, where electoral officials were harassed and assaulted in the presence of police officers, will not be repeated,” stressed GS. “We are asking that the law be applied equally to all across the board,” said Kinyanjui.
The clerics said that after a two-day consultative meeting, members are also demanding that the National Treasury fully funds the budget of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for a smooth election.
The men of cloth further castigated the recent changes in the 2022 Elections Amendment Bill, saying the radical changes to the law, so close to the polls, will create tension among voters and aspirants.
NCCK Vice Chairman, Bishop John Okinda, said religious leaders will conduct civic education, to assist church faithful understand their role as voters and make informed choices.
“The voters must understand their rights and responsibilities, and they must know that it is their responsibility to participate fully in the election,” he said.
He assured that the church will be impartial and not bow to financial or political influence but will be at the forefront to help decide how the country should be led.
“We welcome political leaders and aspirants to participate in worship services, however, church leaders will refrain from anointing, commissioning or announcing contributions made by politicians and we’ve also asked our members to ban politicians from speaking from the pulpit,” said Okinda.
The pledge comes amid criticism that clerics are embracing politicians who use places of worship as vote-hunting grounds by donating alleged stolen money to woo congregants.
The leaders said Kenyans are deeply suffering from the spiraling cost of living as the prices of basic consumer goods and services have skyrocketed, while taxation is more than most citizens can bear.
“We are requesting the government led by President Kenyatta, to form a multi-Agency team that will resolve the cost of living, business and taxation,” said Okinda.