With Hearts Both Strong and True – Press Statement

WITH HEARTS BOTH STRONG AND TRUE

PRESS STATEMENT

PREAMBLE

Religious leaders from the different faiths in our nation have gathered here at Ufungamano House to reflect on the state of the nation, and taking time to reflect on the words of our National Anthem:

Let one and all arise, with hearts both strong and true, Service be our earnest endeavour

And our homeland of Kenya, Heritage of splendour, Firm may we stand to defend

We now share the following message with the nation.

1. STATE OF THE NATION

We have taken time to review the state of the nation six months after the 2022 General Elections, and have noted the following:

One, the people of Kenya are experiencing immense suffering trying to survive multiple crises that are approaching disaster proportions. Famine and drought have ravaged the country, leading to deaths of people and livestock. The steadily rising cost of living is pushing more Kenyans into abject poverty, with attendant desperation leading to increase in crime.

Secondly, despite Kenya having had peaceful elections and transition, political actors are working hard to incite politics-driven disillusionment and tension that is likely to result in anarchy. The narratives being driven by the political actors are weakening the basic commitment and submission to the Constitution and Laws of Kenya, which is the fabric that binds us together as a nation.

This situation cannot hold for long, and there is need for immediate action to rescue the nation from further deterioration. We in this regard recommend as follows.

2. MESSAGE TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT

Your Excellency Dr William Ruto, we commend you for the leadership you have provided to the country since assuming office. Having settled in office, we now urge you to lead your administration on focussing on solving the problems Kenyans are going through. The nation is depending on you to give forward-looking rather than reverse-heading leadership. Just as you accepted to spearhead an issue-based campaign before the elections, we now urge you to spearhead solution-oriented politics and administration.

Further, Your Excellency, we call to your attention the ethnic and class-oriented divisions in the country. As the symbol of National Unity, we ask you to focus the nation’s attention on oneness, equity and equality of all Kenyans. It is of essence that you take leadership in reaching out to the opposition to promote dialogue for the betterment of the nation. The challenges facing our nation require national conversations, not adversarial politics.

3. MESSAGE TO THE OPPOSITION

Under the leadership of Rt Hon Raila Odinga, the political opposition in the country is playing its role of holding the government to account. This is a cardinal role that is core to sustenance of democracy, constitutionalism and respect for rule of law. We now urge you to spearhead issue-based and solution-oriented approach to politics to avoid being seen as champions of anarchy. Moving forward, we encourage you to become a bastion of proposing viable solutions to ameliorate the immense suffering Kenyans are experiencing. In this regard, we urge you to reconsider the proposed mass action programme and instead embrace dialogue and other peaceful approaches that do not threaten the lives and livelihoods of Kenyans.

4. MESSAGE TO THE CITIZENS

Brothers and Sisters, we commend you for the commitment and determination to remain peaceful and calm despite the challenges and provocations. It is to our credit as a nation to always follow the inspiration recorded in the Bible in Romans 12: 18

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone

And in the Quran Al-E-Imran 104

Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity

And in the Sathya Sai Baba

You are seeking joy and peace in far-off places. But the spring of joy is in your heart. The haven of peace is in yourself.

Let us remain committed to national cohesion and peaceful coexistence. We need to firmly resist political and social leaders who drive divisions and bitterness, and embrace those who focus on developing solutions for the challenges we are experiencing. In this regard, let each of us deliberately engage all public participation forums and opportunities, taking every chance to influence policy and decision making process. We should not leave the destiny of our families in the hands of politicians alone, and should instead adopt the mantra of “Nothing for us without us”.

CONCLUSION

We conclude by calling upon all Kenyans to treasure and take opportunity to participate in governance and decision-making processes at all levels. We have a chance and mandate to ensure that all those in leadership at different levels focus on service delivery so as to make our lives better, in line with the prayer we make in the National Anthem:

O God of all creation, bless this our land and nation, justice be our shield and defender

May we dwell in unity, Peace and Liberty, Plenty be found within our borders

May God bless Kenya now and always.

Signed on this 14th day of March 2023 at Ufungamano House, Nairobi:

Institution
Hindu Council of Kenya
Inter Religious Council of Kenya
Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops
National Council of Churches of Kenya
National Muslim Leaders Forum
Organisation of African Instituted Churches
Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims

June 2024
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