Executive Committee Press Statement
December 3, 2020
MAKE INFORMED CHOICES
The Executive Committee of the National Council of Churches of Kenya has on 2nd and 3rd December 2020 held a blended meeting where Heads of Churches met here at Jumuia Conference and Country Home, Limuru, while the other delegates joined via a virtual platform. The meeting executed statutory business and also considered matters of national concern. During our deliberations, we took into consideration the invitation in Isaiah 1: 18
Come let us reason together
With this in mind, we bring the following message to all Kenyans.
2. Prayer to Overcome Covid-19
The National Council of Churches of Kenya continues to be saddened by the reported deaths and devastation arising from the Covid-19 pandemic. As at yesterday, 1,484 Kenyans had died from the pandemic, arising from 85,130 infections. The cumulative positivity rate stands at 9.4%, and fatality rate is 1.7%. These rates are worrying, and we call upon all Kenyans to strictly adhere to the pandemic control measures of washing hands, wearing face masks and keeping social distance. These are the same principles the Bible instructed persons suspected of having infectious diseases to follow. This Executive Committee mourns and feels the pain of those who are bereaved, and sends you condolences. We pray for quick healing of all who are infected, and that God will grant our nation victory over the pandemic.
3. Reopening of Schools
This Executive Committee calls to mind the announcement by the Ministry of Education that all learners will resume in-school learning on January 5, 2021. We propose that this decision be reviewed and proper measures put in place to avoid a surge in new infections.
4. Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill 2020
During our last meeting, which we held in early November, we expressed concerns with some of the proposals made in the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill 2020 arising from the Building Bridges to a United Kenya (BBI) process. This Executive Committee has noted that a number of the concerns we raised were addressed, which include:
One, the proposed National Police Council was removed
Two, gender representation in Parliament has been clarified
Three, proposed nomination of commissioners of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission by political parties removed
The Executive Committee also recalls that the proposals the NCCK has made in the past have been included in the Bill. These include
a) Make the government inclusive by creating the office of Prime Minister and two Deputies
b) Dignify the Opposition by reinstating the position of Leader of Official Opposition who would be the runners up in the Presidential election, while their running mate would serve as Leader of Official Opposition at the Senate
This Executive Committee meeting nonetheless recognizes that the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill 2020 presents a wider range of recommendations beyond what we have highlighted above, some of which are still of concern to us. These include:
- The removal of vetting of some presidential appointees by Parliament
- Weakening of separation of powers and check-balancing between the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary
Arising from the foregoing, this Executive Committee reiterates the recommendations that:
- An inclusive National Dialogue Process be established to ensure all the concerns of Kenyans are taken into account so as to build consensus on the proposals
- A comprehensive civic education be undertaken to ensure that all Kenyans are made aware of the contents and make informed choices
- A Joint Committee of the Senate and the National Assembly to study and make amendments to the electoral laws in preparation for the 2022 General Elections
- A National Constitution Conference be convened to build consensus on the proposed constitutional amendments
6. Our Commitment
On our part, this Executive Committee makes a commitment that the NCCK will carry out sustained civic education through our structures to inform Kenyans on the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill 2020. The civic education will be aimed at empowering Kenyans to exercise their sovereignty and make informed decisions.
We conclude by noting that our nation is on the threshold of major reforms and there is an impeding transition. We therefore ask all Kenyans to read the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill 2020 and weigh the proposals before making a decision. Let us always remember the inspiration in Proverbs 18: 17
The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes forward and examines him.
Keenly analyze all proposals, and do not be rash in making your decisions and proclamations.
Signed on this 3rd day of December 2020 at Jumuia Conference and Country Home, Limuru.
Archbishop Timothy Ndambuki
Rev Canon Chris Kinyanjui