To transform lives through ecumenism, capacity building, advocacy and service delivery.
One Church; United in Faith and Mission Witnessing to Jesus Christ and Transforming Lives.
In pursuing its Christian calling, the Council shall uphold:
Shift from Rhetoric to Action
The Executive Committee of the National Council of Churches of Kenya has met here at Jumuia Conference and Country Home, Limuru, over the last two days to transact statutory business and reflect on the status of the nation. During this meeting, we took time to study the words recorded in 2 Timothy 2: 4 – 6 which reads:
“No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs – he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.”
From this scripture, we are reminded that in life, there are rules and guidelines that must be complied with, and it is incumbent upon those in charge to ensure that this compliance is fulfilled. Having keenly considered how the lesson of this scripture applies to our times, we wish to share the following message with the nation.
It is with great sorrow that this Executive Committee notes that for the umpteenth time, a church in Mombasa was attacked and Christians killed by people who profess to be Muslims. No reasons have been given for these attacks on the Christians other than their being Christian.
We in this regard pass our heartfelt condolences to the families of our brothers and sisters who were brutally attacked and killed during a worship service at Joy in Jesus church at Likoni, Mombasa. We are praying for all those who were injured that God may grant them a quick recovery. May God grant you all peace in your hearts and His holy presence to give you strength to overcome this great injustice that was brought upon you.
We commend the security agencies for the quick response in the face of that attack, the interception of many bombs intended for destruction of life and property, and the many attacks they have pre-empted. We urge them to continue the good work. In the meantime, we urge that clergy in very exposed areas and who are well known to the attackers be provided with direct security. This is because the threat against them is real and it will be tragic if any more of them should lose their lives.
Further, we urge the government to take quick and firm action against the perpetrators of these heinous acts. There must be speedy investigations leading to prosecution and punishment of the individuals who attack people and destroy properties of churches.
While we appreciate the speedy responses by Muslim leaders to condemn the attacks, we recognize that the attackers claim to be Muslims and worship in mosques. We demand that the Muslim leaders and preachers take appropriate measures to restrain their followers and cease the vitriolic teachings being meted out in the mosques. The Muslim leaders must also work with the government to facilitate the arrest and punishment of the individuals who have committed these crimes since they are known in the mosques where they worship.
We in the meantime commend the Christians and Christian leaders who have exercised restraint despite the numerous provocations, and urge them to continue in that spirit. We remain cognizant of the fact that retaliation by Christians will actually be conceding to the desires and intentions of the attackers.
Over the last few weeks, Kenyans have been treated to a concerted circus whose net effect has been to confirm that the government of Kenya will in the near future become insolvent if the ballooning public wage bill is not well managed. Documents from the Salaries and Remuneration Commission indicate that last year the wage bill consumed 50.4% of revenue, and is projected to increase to 64% by the year 2016/17. This scenario is untenable.
Having considered this matter keenly, we have appreciated the fact that control of the wage bill is largely an administrative matter on which the government can effect decisive actions. It is therefore imperative that His Excellency the President and his Deputy stop mourning in public over an issue upon which they should have taken administrative action. We challenge the government to therefore go beyond mere talk and a campaign for voluntary salary cuts and instead take action to save the country from insolvency.
These actions should include:
One, the President and his Deputy should rally their Members of Parliament to pass relevant legislation to address this matter and actually reduce their salaries.
Two, enforcement in the public sector of the requirement that the highest paid worker does not earn more than 25 times what the lowest paid worker earns. In this process, the remuneration should be consolidated so that calculations are based on the gross salary one earns, not the basic pay.
Three, eradicate the practice where senior public officers are paid allowances to do the work they are employed to do and for which they draw their regular salaries. This should be extended to Members of Parliament and Members of County Assemblies, and the Cabinet who should not earn sitting allowances for attending meetings and sessions they are elected or appointed to attend.
Four, consolidate and audit the government payroll to remove all ghost workers and all staff who are in employment irregularly.
Five, facilitate the development and implementation of a policy to ensure that remuneration is directly related to productivity. If we were getting full value for money from our current public servants, the ratios would be very different.
Six, there may be wisdom in putting all public workers on contract with a robust performance management regime.
And finally, mobilize the various arms of government to accept and implement the salaries and wages policy that is being developed by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.
Recognizing that corruption and wastage in government offices are major drains on public resources, we challenge the President to go beyond publicly admitting there is corruption and put in place a plan of action to deal with the vice. Our advice is that the plan of action should include punishment of perpetrators, just as the Bible teaches in Ecclesiastes 8: 11 -
“When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong”. Let there be visible punishment of persons who engage in corruption.
It is quite amazing that the political actors in Kenya always find a way to present amendments of the constitution as the panacea for the problems bedeviling our country. We urge all Kenyans to reject this fallacy with the contempt it deserves. The constitution was adopted and promulgated in August 2010, less than four years ago. We must not forget that the amendments that were made on the constitution soon after independence were the ones that put this country in a lot of mess decades later. We must not repeat that mistake!
It is our considered opinion that those calling for amendments are merely seeking to achieve selfish short-term political ends that will not benefit Kenyans in any way. Looking at it from a bigger picture, doing so will no doubt have major ramifications on the devolution that we so much yearned for. We must guard against such machinations of ill-will. Our advice is that the constitution should be implemented as it is until such a time when a comprehensive people-driven review will be undertaken to identify all the areas that require improvement.
For a long time, Kenyans have been engaged on debates on how to eat the national cake, which has restricted us to a consumption mindset.
On our part, we feel that national energies and debate should be expended on mechanisms for baking a larger national cake. We therefore challenge the national and county governments to engage Kenyans in a debate focused on production and wealth creation. We look forward to a time when counties will be competing to show who has produced more, and be rewarded on that basis, and not who has consumed more. Let us remember the advice that God gave in Proverbs 20: 4 – “A sluggard does not plow in season; so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing”.
This Executive Committee is concerned that Parliament passed a faulty marriage bill into law. The debates in the National Assembly was extremely demeaning to the women of our country, and the bill itself does not respect the principle of equality of spouses in marriage especially with regard to polygamy.
We urge His Excellency the President not ascent to the bill until the offensive clauses are removed.
In conclusion, we call on all stakeholders to shift from mere talk to concrete action that will help this country be safe, be sustainable and be productive. There is a great need for leadership especially from His Excellency the President in this matter.
It is upon us to resolve today to do right for the betterment of the lives of every citizen of this country. Our prayer remains as we often sing in the 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.”
Signed on this 26th day of March 2014 at Jumuia Conference and Country Home, Limuru.
Rev Canon Rosemary Mbogo
Rev Canon Peter Karanja