WesternNCCK General Secretary Rev. Canon Peter Karanja is joined by Western region Council leadership in a group photo during their two-day Regional Conference in Kakamega.      

                                                                                  Eradicate Poverty To Show Leadership

                                                                                  Press Statement

The Regional Conference of the NCCK Western Region has met here at Bishop Nicholas Stam Pastoral Center from 3rd - 4th May 2018 under the theme Transforming Lives Holistically (Romans 12: 2). The Regional Conference is the supreme governance organ in the region and meets once every three years. More than one hundred and seventy delegates from the Member Churches of the NCCK participated in this Conference which focused on matters of concern to Busia, Bungoma, Kakamega and Vihiga counties, which comprise the region. The Conference drew lessons from Romans 12: 2

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.

We now wish to share the following messages with the residents of Western Region and the entire nation:

1. Focus on Transforming Lives
This Regional Conference appreciates our nation is finally recovering after the two-year long electioneering period that sapped our emotive and physical energies, and left in its wake a country divided along ethnic lines, deaths of loved ones, unhealed injuries and extensive destruction of livelihoods. We commend His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyata and and former Prime minister Hon Raila Amolo Odinga for agreeing to work for unity and thereby providing an environment for the nation to bring the 2017 General Elections to a closure.

We now call upon the officials of both national and county governments focus on transforming the lives of Kenyans by accomplishing the mandates for which they were appointed or elected. A key requirement for this to be achieved is effective and comprehensive public participation in decision making processes. The culture of elected leaders imposing their cronies in development and community committees must come to an end. Community members must be given the space to pick their own representatives. On our part, we have committed that we as church leaders will seek to be integrated in community development decision making processes.

On the same note, this Regional Conference expresses concern with the callous insensitivity of political leaders with the welfare of Kenyans. This has emerged in light of the fact that the current wave of flooding across the country has killed more than 100 Kenyans, displaced more than 260,000, and destroyed infrastructure of enormous value. Despite that, political actors are solely focused on 2022 politics. The issue of flooding didn’t even feature in the State of the Nation Address given to Parliament by His Excellency the President two days ago. We find this extremely insensitive and uncaring.

We call upon the governors of all counties to remember that Article 12 of Schedule Four (Part 2) of the Constitution of Kenya allocates to counties the responsibility for “Fire fighting services and disaster management”. We urge them to urgently put in place measures to provide humanitarian assistance to the families affected by the floods. On its part, the National Government has been given the mandate for Disaster Management by Article 24 of Schedule Four (Part 1) of the Constitution of Kenya. There must be collaborative engagement between county and national governments to ensure there is disaster and emergencies preparedness at village, constituency, county and national levels.

On our part, we will use our churches as platforms to promote and educate our people on climate change adaptation and build their resilience.

2. Economically Empower Yourself
This Regional Conference recognizes that true economic empowerment is “Food on the Table and Money in the Pocket”. We want to remind our people that no one will provide these two essential items to you. Each person must work to acquire their own financial and material wealth, just as the Bible teaches us in 1 Thessalonians 4: 11 – 12
Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

We note with deep sadness that though our region is rich with resources and blessed with great weather, our people continue to struggle with abject poverty. Regrettably, devolution has not brought any tangible change.

This Regional Conference thus wishes to tell all the residents of Busia, Bungoma, Kakamega and Vihiga counties that we can no longer depend on politicians to improve our lives. We must decide to transform our lives by making sensible economic choices, towards which we recommend the following:

(a) Go beyond subsistence farming where we produce only enough foodstuffs for family consumption, and focus on maximizing income from the agricultural produce
(b) Establish producer groups and use them to synergize and benefit from economies of scale
(c) Use producer groups to market produce so as to have greater control on pricing
(d) Establish small scale value addition processing units so as to maximize income from the local produce
(e) Engage agricultural extension officers to identify the best crops and animals to rear in specific areas

We must, as individuals, choose to change our mindsets and move away from dependence on politicians who have given empty promises for decades. We must take control of our lives and livelihoods.

3. Conducive Environment for Investment
While appreciating that economic empowerment is a responsibility for each individual, this Regional Conference recognizes that income generating ventures require a conducive environment to succeed. We challenge the governors of the counties in our region to consider the following measures that will make investment more attractive:

(a) Streamline and simplify business licensing processes
(b) Ensure just and equal enforcement of laws and regulations
(c) Ensure protection of businesses from counterfeits
(d) Coordinate with the national government to eradicate insecurity
(e) Facilitate arrest and prosecution of persons who engages in ethnic or clan incitement

6. New Leadership Team
This Regional Conference is honoured to announce that as provided for in the NCCK Constitution, new leadership teams have been elected in our counties and region. We wish to inform our member churches and organisations that the following are the chairpersons of NCCK County Coordinating Committees:

County Chairperson
Bungoma Bishop Zedekiah Chunge
Busia Bishop Joseph Mwangi
Kakamega Rev Benson Shishia
Vihiga Manase Mise Lugadilu

This Regional Conference also elected the following to the Regional Committee:

Name Position
Chairman Rt Rev James Obunde
Vice Chair Bishop Sinema Pamba
Honorary Treasurer Centrine Wanjala
Women Representative Christine Mulunga
Youth Representative Douglas Adolwa
Persons with Disabilities Rep Evans Emondia

We conclude by thanking God for the favour He continues to bestow on Kenya despite the challenges we face. Let us all remember that poverty is a devastating challenge facing our people and we will only cure it when we facilitate our people to transform their mindsets and work for their economic empowerment. May God grant us leaders who will help us to actualize the words of 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

Signed on this 4th day of May 2018 at Bishop Nicholas Stam Pastoral Center, Kakamega.

Rt Rev James Obunde
Regional Chairman, NCCK Western Region