Address Governance Issues for Better Lives
March 18, 2021
Address Governance Issues for Better Lives
The Regional Committee of the NCCK Coast Region has met here at Jumuia Conference and Beach Resort, Kanamai, today March 18, 2021 to transact statutory business and reflect on the state of the region and the nation at large. The NCCK Coast Region comprises of Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River, Lamu and Taita-Taveta counties. During the meeting, the delegates reflected on the Word of God recorded in Mark 4: 35 – 41, with special focus on verse 39:
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!”. Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
This event in Jesus’ life is relevant today due to the storms we are facing as a nation, and also in the counties in our region. Like the disciples awakened Jesus to stop the storm they were facing, we in Kenya need to call out the responsibility holders in the nation to address the challenges facing the citizens. In this regard, we wish to share the following message.
On behalf of all our brothers and sisters in the NCCK, we share our condolences with the Council of Churches of Tanzania and all the people of Tanzania following the death of their President, His Excellency John Pombe Magufuli. We pray for them for consolation and peace from God.
We also send our condolences to all Kenyans who have lost loved ones due to the Covid-19 pandemic and any other causes. May God grant you peace and consolation.
- Focus on the Welfare of the Citizens
This Regional Committee has noted that the country is currently gripped by the discussions on the expected referendum and the 2022 General Elections. In the meantime, service delivery by both national and county governments has seriously deteriorated. The residents in our counties are suffering. We especially wish to highlight the following:
- Increase in cases of wildlife invading farms as resulted in massive crop destruction leading to intensified food insecurity and poverty. The authorities concerned need to take action before people grow desperate and attack the animals.
- Healthcare in public health facilities in our counties is characterized by persistent strikes by health workers, lack of medicine and laboratory reagents, and dilapidated buildings and fixtures. This should be resolved urgently. We call upon our county governments to prioritize healthcare since this directly affects the people.
- Transport infrastructure in the counties is pathetic, and we especially plead with the national government to ensure completion of the Garsen-Garissa Road which started in 2013. It will be very disappointing if the construction of the road is dragged out only for it to become a campaign topic next year.
- The county and national governments are yet to provide the required support and systems to promote the productivity, value addition and marketing of the primary outputs of our counties, these being coconuts and cashew nuts. This seems to be deliberate impoverisation of our people. We strongly advice the residents in our counties to determine to vote only for candidates who have clear plans on how to transform the economy of our region in next year’s elections.
- Readiness for the 2022 General Elections
In the meantime, we are deeply concerned that the country is seemingly not ready for the Constitutionally scheduled 2022 General Elections and upcoming referendum as was shown by the chaotic by-elections that were held recently.
We now call upon His Excellency the President to initiate the process of appointment of commissioners for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, as well as strengthening of the IEBC secretariat, to facilitate early preparations for the elections. Learning from the report of Justice Johann Kriegler in 2008, the country needs to avoid electoral reforms, including the reconstitution of the IEBC, less than one year to the elections.
On our part, we have committed and invite other Kenyans to join us in rejecting political actors who engages in foul language or violence. As citizens, we can teach our leaders to have decorum by ensuring that those who engage in hooliganism are not elected to any positions.
- Reverse the Weakening of the Family Unit
This Regional Committee has noted with concern the current trend of weakening the family unit. We need to do all we can to reverse it knowing that healthy families are the bedrock of a sustainable society.
Of concern to us are the rising cases of sexual and gender based violence, marital violence, child sexual abuse leading to high numbers of teenage pregnancies, and widespread teenage and youth delinquency. Idleness and economic disempowerment of the youth have contributed to the rising cases of enticement of our youth into violent extremism.
We urge our fellow faith leaders to partner with the government and non-state actors to put in place programmes to deliver wholesome Family Life Education.
On our part, we have partnered with the Young Women’s Christian Association to provide a platform for youth to dialogue on the issues affecting them. The NCCK will host the dialogue for youth drawn from this region tomorrow, and we invite all Kenyans to follow the Livestream of the forum on our Facebook page.
- Referendum on the Constitution of Kenya Amendment Bill 2020
This Regional Committee notes that amendment of the Constitution is a crucial process in which all Kenyans should participate. For this reason, all citizens should be facilitated to read and understand the provisions and implications of the Constitution of Kenya Amendment Bill 2020. The referendum should not be driven on the basis of the opinions of politicians, but should be based on the informed decisions of the citizens. We encourage Kenyans to deliberately take time to read the Bill and also attend civic education forums.
As the NCCK, we are continuing to implement a Civic Education Programme that entails sessions in all our regions which are streamed live on Facebook. We welcome Kenyans to join the Livestreams or watch the recorded clips on our social media platforms.
What we nonetheless wish to emphasize is that peace and national cohesion must be maintained before, during and after the referendum. Every Kenyan must be allowed to hold and express their opinions on the Referendum Bill, and action should be taken on anyone who incites violence.
- Uphold Sanctity of Places of Worship
This Regional Committee takes cognizance that the primary mandate of faith leaders is spiritual nurture of the people regardless of their status in society. We are therefore deeply concerned about the rising trend of defilement of places of worship by politicians.
We urge our fellow faith leaders to strictly maintain the integrity and sanctity of places of worship by blocking those who would engage in foul language or politicking from the pulpit.
Further, we encourage faith leaders to avoid asking political aspirants for donations during the referendum or the 2022 General Elections. We remind you that when you ask them for donations, they in return ask for opportunities to speak to congregants during the worship services, which is highly inappropriate since the pulpit is for spiritual nurture, not political campaigns. Let politicians do their campaigns in rallies, not in the places of worship.
In conclusion, we reiterate that the wellbeing of the people is meant to be the primary focus of those holding positions of responsibility. Prioritize this, not campaigns for the referendum or the 2022 General Elections, so that we may attain the prayer we always make in our National Anthem:
Let all with one accord, in common bond united, Build this our nation together. And the glory of Kenya, the fruit of our labour, Fill every heart with thanksgiving
And as we end, we pray for and wish all Grade Four, Class Eight and Form Four candidates success in their exams, and wish all our children safety as they embark on their holidays. And for all Kenyans, let us persist in observing the Covid-19 guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health to protect ourselves and other people from the virus.
May God bless and protect us all now and always.
Signed on this 18th day of March 2021 at Jumuia Conference and Beach Resort, Kanamai.
Rt Rev Dr Lawrence Dena
Chairman, NCCK Coast Region