Upper Eastern

                  NCCK Upper Eastern Region Leadership addressing the media after their Regional  Conference held in Meru

                                                                 Safeguard the Lives of Kenyans

                                                                 Press Statement

1. Introduction
The Regional Conference of the NCCK Upper Eastern Region has met here at Gitoro Conference and Training Center, Meru, from 20th – 22nd June 2018 under the theme Church Standing in the Gap (Isaiah 6: 8). The Regional Conference is the highest governance organ in the region and meets once every three years. More than one hundred and twenty delegates from Member Churches of NCCK in Isiolo, Marsabit, Meru and Tharaka Nithi counties participated in this Conference.

During our deliberations, we considered the scripture recorded in Isaiah 6:8
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’ “

We were reminded that in every circumstance, God is seeking individuals who will speak out against evil and injustice in the society. We reaffirmed our commitment to this call, and wish to share the following message with the residents of our region and the entire nation:

2. Give Kenyans the Fruits of Devolution
This Regional Conference is heavily concerned that despite the commencement of devolution in 2013, Kenyans have very little to show for it. Though the County governments were meant to bring services and development nearer to the people, these are yet to be realized. Our people are still afflicted by poverty, the cost of living is rising every day, and basic services are grossly below standard. We thus call for the following:

(a) Facilitate Public Participation
This Regional Conference calls upon all the Governors in our counties to actualize public participation so that all citizens have an opportunity to contribute to the decisions that affect their lives. On their part, we call upon the faithful in our churches to attend public forums and contribute to the proceedings so as to better their lives.

(b) Deal With Corruption
This Regional Conference recognizes that corruption is a cancer that is progressively killing our nation. We have taken note of the efforts by the national government to expose and prosecute suspects, but wish to highlight that more needs to be done. We have considered this matter and wish to reiterate the position taken by the NCCK Executive Committee which recommended that:
(i) Corruption is declared a national disaster so as to intensify actions and campaigns against it
(ii) Past corruption offenders are offered an amnesty from prosecution for one year if they return what they stole and also name those who they partnered with in the stealing
(iii) Change the punishment for corruption to life imprisonment
(iv) Ruthlessly enforce asset recovery to take back what any person has acquired through corruption
(v) Reform the anti corruption agencies so that they are designed to actually be effective against corruption
We especially call for the disbanding of the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission and have the investigative mandate transferred to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, enforcement mandate to the National Police Service, and prosecution mandate to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions.

In addition, we urge the Judiciary to speed up the corruption cases, and the Police Officers to eradicate the culture of taking bribes from their midst. We will continue to call upon all Kenyans to exercise moral responsibility and resist giving bribes.

(c) Address the Needs of the People
This Regional Conference commends His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Rt Hon Raila Odinga for agreeing to work for unity in the country. This agreement has given our nation a chance to transition from the emotive politics we have had for the last three years. We now remind all public officials, both elected and appointed, to put full attention on addressing the real needs of the people, which include:
(i) Rehabilitate, and where necessary build, transport and communication infrastructure to all the corners of our counties to enable people move freely and safely
(ii) Strengthen agricultural extension services to empower our people with skills in water harvesting, irrigation and conservation agriculture so as to enhance food security
(iii) Employ and commission nutrition officers to educate our people on helathy eating habits to address the current malnutrition and ill health being witnessed in our communities. We are especially concerned that there is a very high prevalence of Non Communicable Diseases including Cancer, Diabetes and Hypertension, all of which can be managed with improved diet.
(iv) Allocate funds for Family Life Education to cut down on cases of dysfunctional families as well gender based violence
(v) Increase the density of health facilities to enable our people to seek and access quality medical care, with special focus on enhancing Mother and Child Health services
(vi) Investigate and facilitate prosecution of all individuals who are engaging in crime, especially the sporadic cattle rustling in Isiolo and Marsabit counties
(vii) End careless driving on our roads to stop unnecessary deaths of Kenyans

3. Resolve the IEBC Crisis
This Regional Conference is deeply concerned that the crisis at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is being allowed to fester despite the danger it poses to the nation. This is because the Commission is not fully constituted as provided for in the Constitution. This Regional Conference has considered this matter, and calls upon Justice Paul Kihara, the Attorney General, to speedily seek an interpretation from the Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of the IEBC as is currently constituted, and also facilitate the preparation of an amendment of the law to provide clear guidelines on what should be done when a Commissioner of IEBC resigns.

4. Reconsider the National Budget
This Regional Conference has followed closely the discussions touching on the National Budget presented by the Cabinet Secretary for Treasury. We are concerned that if the proposed measures are implemented, the residents of our counties and the entire nation will be affected negatively. We especially note that:
(a) The proposals will radically increase direct and indirect taxation of the common mwananchi
(b) The proposals do not have incentives to support small scale industrialization and value addition by farmers, which is necessary for economic growth of the majority of Kenyans
(c) The proposal to remove the interest rates cap will only favour banks as the country will revert to old days when interests rates were higher than 28%, which stifled economic growth and entrenched corruption as people plundered institutions in search of funds for personal development
Overall, the proposals in this budget will radically increase the cost of living and conduct of business, and so we urge the Cabinet Secretary to reconsider the budget and make it pro-poor.

5. Recall Contaminated and Poisonous Sugar
This Regional Conference is in receipts of reports from our congregations which indicate that people who use Carbide to ripen fruits and Formalin to preserve milk are known yet no action is taken to stop them poisoning Kenyans. Currently, the state agency responsible for ensuring safety of products consumed in the country, the Kenya Bureau of Standards, has confirmed that poisoned sugar that is unfit for human consumption is being sold nationwide. Why are the perpetrators of these crimes not being arrested and prosecuted?

This Regional Conference has considered this matter and recommends the following:
(i) The government immediately recalls all the sugar on the shelves and households and compensates the retailers for allowing them to be supplied with adulterated sugar
(ii) The Kenya Bureau of Standards is immediately restructured to get rid of all the staff who have been compromised to endanger Kenyan lives
(iii) The Kenya Revenue Authority is immediately restructured to get rid of staff at border entry points who allow contraband and low quality goods with unchecked chemicals into the country
(iv) That all the persons involved in the importation, clearance, and circulation of the adulterated goods be prosecuted with Crimes Against Humanity or terrorism for deliberately endangering the lives of Kenyans
(v) Ban importation of sugar from the countries of origin where the current poisoned consignments were sourced, as well as withdrawal of licenses of all companies that imported it

6. New Leadership Team
This Regional Conference is honoured to announce that as provided for in the NCCK Constitution, the following were elected to the Regional Committee:

Position Name
Chairman Moderator David Ngige
Vice Chairperson Bishop Jadiel Kaigongi
Honorary Treasurer Very Rev David Nkaabu
Women Representative Joyce Njagi
Youth Representative Adan Ibrahim
Persons with Disabilities Representative Co Sgt Major Reuben Oyani

7. Conclusion
We conclude by calling to mind the scripture recorded in Isaiah 1: 16 - 17
Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of widow.

It is our prayer that our community, county and national leaders will hear and heed this call by God, and that all our brother and sisters in church leadership will hear the call of God to speak out on these issues. May God bless our counties and the entire nation now and always.

Signed on this 22nd day of June 2018 at Gitooro Conference and Training Center, Meru.

Moderator David Ngige
Chairperson, NCCK Upper Eastern Region