Prepare to Cross Over – Press Statement
November 5, 2020
PREPARE TO CROSS OVER
The Executive Committee of the National Council of Churches of Kenya has today held an extra ordinary meeting where delegates participated in person and on a virtual platform to reflect on matters of national concern. Our deliberations were guided by the scripture recorded in Joshua 1: 2
Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give them
During the meeting, the Executive Committee took time to review the Report of the Steering Committee on the Implementation of the Building Bridges to a United Kenya Taskforce Report, commonly referred to as the BBI Report. We now wish to share the following observations and recommendations.
- Prayer to Overcome Covid-19
The National Council of Churches of Kenya continues to be saddened by the reported deaths arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, which currently stand at 1,039. We share our condolences with the bereaved families, and have taken time to pray for all the infected that God may grant them full recovery. Our plea is for 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.
- Rationale for Reforms
This Executive Committee calls to mind that the primary trigger for conflicts and violence in Kenya has been elections, owing to systemic and structural weaknesses in the electoral process. The result has been inconclusive elections that lack closure, and the resultant sense of exclusion of sections of the populace from decision making and resource allocation. It is for this reason that the Dialogue Reference Group (DRG), of which the NCCK is a member, has consistently urged for various measures to inclusion. In summary, the main proposals have been:
- Undertake an independent audit of the electoral process to identify the gaps, weaknesses and points of strength and have the recommendations implemented
- Make the government inclusive by creating the office of Prime Minister and two Deputies
- 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. Runners up in gubernatorial polls to serve as Leader of Official Opposition at the County Assembly.
4. Review of Proposals in the BBI Report
This Executive Committee meeting has reviewed and considered the proposals, seeking to answer three main questions:
- Do the proposals resolve the issues that were identified for the BBI Taskforce to address?
- Do the proposals require constitutional amendments through referendum?
- Do the proposals create more problems than they are seeking to solve?
In our analysis, we appreciated the various recommendations in the BBI Report that include:
- Increasing the sharable revenue of county governments from 15% to 35% of the national revenue
- Establishing the post of Prime Minister and two Deputy Prime Ministers
- Establishment of the Leader of Opposition, this being the runner up in Presidential election and whose party has at least 25% of seats in National Assembly
Nonetheless, we find that the following proposals in the Report require further attention:
a. Two Thirds Gender Principle
The two thirds gender principle has not been adequately addressed despite the expansion of the National Assembly by 70 members. The provisions in this regard require further consideration to resolve this. Further, we find that the transfer of women representatives from the National Assembly to the Senate will deny women opportunity to be appointed Cabinet Ministers.
b. Independence of the National Police Service
The proposal in the BBI Repot to abolish the National Police Service Commission and replace it with a Kenya Police Council headed by the Cabinet Secretary for Interior will compromise the independent command of the Inspector General. We strongly recommend retaining and further strengthening of the National Police Service Commission.
c. Independence of the Judiciary
The proposal in the BBI Report to establish an office of the Judiciary Ombudsman appointed by the President will compromise the independence of the Judiciary.
The proposal in the BBI Report to have parliamentary political parties nominate commissioners of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission will compromise the independence of the commission.
- Scenarios Moving Forward
This Executive Committee keenly considered the possible scenarios moving forward, and bring to the attention of all Kenyans that there are four possible paths the country can follow moving forward.
|1. Utengano||· Reggae / Hustler contestations continue, leading to a Yes / No Referendum |
· DP’s supporters accuse the President of abandoning 2013 agreement
· Political mobilization takes ethnic angles
· Charged environment defines the 2022 elections
· Handshake collapses after the referendum
· Disputed electoral reforms and contested 2022 elections
|· Shuttle diplomacy to top political leadership
· Hold a National Constitutional Conference
· Extensive civic education on the alternative proposals from the church leaders
|2. Machafuko||· Tension and fallouts in pre-referendum period make the referendum impossible to hold, which include:
· DP is impeached
· The Handshake collapses before the referendum
|· Promote cohesion in the Presidency and safeguarding of The Handshake|
|3. Jerusalema||· Political class agrees to negotiate and agree on the Referendum Bill leading to a one-sided referendum
· Concerns of Kenyans are taken on board
· 2022 elections become cordial and generally with less tension
|· Church leaders to facilitate mediation and dialogue on the contentious issues
· Extensive civic education
|4. The X-Scenario||· A doomsday scenario precipitated by:
· Upsurge of Covid-19 makes referendum or elections impossible
· Parliament is dissolved by President pursuant to the advisory by the Chief Justice
· Constitutional limbo emerges requiring extra-constitutional measures
|· Church leaders to facilitate mediation and dialogue to facilitate a political resolution of the emergent crisis|
We call upon all Kenyans to join effort and prayers to promote attainment of the Jerusalema Scenario for a peaceful and prosperous Kenya.
Arising from this analysis, and after a keen consideration of the possible scenarios moving forward, this Executive Committee proposes the following:
- 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. We encourage all Kenyans to read the Report.
- 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.
On our part, we will engage with our membership to consolidate proposals for improvement of specific proposals in the BBI Report.
We conclude by noting that our nation is on the threshold major reforms and there is an impeding transition. Let us prepare and pray that God will guide us to a better Kenya, but each of us must be prepared to play their role. We urge each of you to actively participate in the reform processes and discussions.
Signed on this 5th day of November 2020 at Jumuia Conference and Country Home, Limuru.
Archbishop Timothy Ndambuki
Rev Canon Chris Kinyanjui