Executive Committee Press Statement
January 7, 2021
THERE IS HOPE, BUT WE MUST ACT APPROPRIATELY
The Executive Committee of the National Council of Churches of Kenya has held an extra ordinary meeting on a blended format on 6th and 7th January 2021. Heads of Churches met here at Jumuia Conference and Country Home, Limuru, while the other delegates joined through a virtual platform. During this meeting, the Executive Committee executed statutory business and also discussed matters of national concern. The meeting especially noted that despite the challenges facing the nation, there is hope for the future. Members were inspired by the exhortation in Romans 4: 18
Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be”.
Recognizing the pain and hopelessness Kenyans have experienced in the recent past, we now share the following message:
- Prayer to Overcome Covid-19
We in the National Council of Churches of Kenya continue to pray that God will bring the Covid-19 pandemic to an end. As at yesterday, 1,694 Kenyans had died from the 97,398 confirmed cases of Covid-19 infections, which mortality rate of 1.7%. The confirmed cases, arising from just over a million tests, reflecting an overall 9.1% positivity rate. The pandemic has had a devastating effect on the nation social-politically. Health care has gone down drastically due to the focus on pandemic management, and constant industrial action by medical workers. At the social and family level, the lives of Kenyans have been disrupted due to closure of schools, places of worship, and cessation of some economic activities. Despite this gloomy outlook, we are confident that God will hear our prayers and cause an end of the pandemic. In the meantime, we continue to pray for quick healing of all who are infected, consolation for all the bereaved, and recovery for all those affected, appreciating that 79,966 persons have already recovered from the infection.
- Reopening of Schools
This Executive Committee has keenly observed the situation since the reopening of schools for all learners this week. We have noted that there is need for continued investment in the schools to ensure control measures are effectively implemented. We urge the government to fast-track the payment and delivery of desks that were procured last year, and to facilitate construction of class rooms. This is critical in view of the rise in number of leaners in public schools following closure of many private institutions. Further, we call upon school administrators to allow learners whose lives were disrupted during the pandemic, especially girls who either got pregnant or were dragged into early marriages, to resume learning. For the parents and guardians, we wish to highlight that the reopening of schools does not mean an end of the pandemic. Please maintain preventive measures at home to protect yourselves and the members of your family. In this way, we will all together forestall a third wave of Covid-19 infections.
On our part, we affirm that the church facilities across the country are available for schools that may need to use them as classrooms to ease congestion. Our clergy and professionals are also ready and willing to provide spiritual and psychosocial support to learners and teachers to enable them cope with the pandemic control measures.
- Health Sector Management
This Executive Committee is deeply concerned about the deepening crisis in the health sector, recognizing that it is the citizens who are extremely exposed. We remind the County and National Governments that they have a moral and legal responsibility to bring to an end the spiral of industrial action by health workers. We especially urge the Ministry of Governors and the Council of Governors to quickly resolve the health workers’ crisis and secure the people of Kenya.
- Readiness for 2022 General Elections
This Executive Committee notes that the country continues to be heavily focused on the proposed referendum on the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill 2020 arising from the Building Bridges to a United Kenya (BBI) process. The country therefore remains split politically, thereby hampering concerted effort to address the Covid-19 pandemic and the suffering Kenyans are going through.
A major effect of this state of the nation is that the required attention has not been put on readiness for the constitutionally scheduled 2022 General Elections. In this regard, we wish to remind the country that the challenges that affected the 2017 General Elections have not been addressed. We as a nation need to urgently put in place a process to ensure the following are undertaken:
- Resolution of the leadership of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission through appointment of Commissioners to replace those who resigned
- Audit of the electoral process to identify gaps that led to previous concerns and shortcomings
- Review and updating of the Voters’ Register
- Passing and implementation of electoral related laws
If we act on these needs, then there will indeed be hope that the 2022 elections will be free, fair, peaceful and credible.
- Youth, Gender and Persons with Disabilities Concerns
This Executive Committee has received reports on surveys undertaken across the country on Gender Justice, Youth Fragility and concerns of Persons with Disabilities in the context of Covid-19 pandemic and the Referendum / Building Bridges Initiative processes. We have noted that women and youth have been pushed into despondency and marginalization, leading to low engagement in national and social life. It is worth noting that whereas the median age in Kenya is 19 years, very few youth are employed or engaged in entrepreneurship. Further, youth, women and persons with disabilities are heavily impacted by the persisting social breakdown manifested in failed marriages, drug and substance abuse, and widespread delinquency.
This state is not sustainable, and there is need for action. We therefore urge the government to institute a multisectoral process to develop a comprehensive strategy to ensure hope and livelihoods for the youth.
On our part as NCCK, we have commenced a process to update of our Youth and Gender Policies and Strategies in which we will collaborate with other actors to safeguard the future. In the meantime, we have urged our member churches and our brothers and sisters in the faith to:
- Recognize and embrace women and youth in leadership
- Provide safe spaces for women and men, boys and girls, to report and be safeguarded from sexual and gender based violence
- Intensify provision of counselling and pastoral service to the youth
- Establish and strengthen family restoration and strengthening programs
We conclude by noting that God has given us hope, and our prayer for Kenya is in the word recorded in Romans 15: 13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
May God bless us all with a happy, blessed and prosperous New Year 2021.
Signed on this 7th day of January 2021 at Jumuia Conference and Country Home, Limuru.
Archbishop Timothy Ndambuki
Rev Canon Chris Kinyanjui