A CALL TO SECURE 2022 GENERAL ELECTIONS
June 11, 2021
A CALL TO SECURE 2022 GENERAL ELECTIONS
The Executive Committee of the National Council of Churches of Kenya held a blended meeting on June 11, 2021 with some delegates present at Jumuia Place, Nairobi, while others joined on a virtual platform. In our meeting, we reflected on the scripture recorded in 1 Kings 20: 22
Afterward, the prophet came to the king of Israel and said, “Strengthen your position and see what must be done, because next spring the king of Aram will attack you again”.
Recognizably, Kenya goes through tension, anxiety, crisis and violence every five years when we have elections. The disruption of life and nationhood is now predictable, and we as church leaders in Kenya now bring a warning to Kenyans similar to what Elisha spoke years ago: An enemy of Kenya called disputed elections will attack again next year. Let us prepare for it!
2. Prepare the Electoral Management Body and Electoral Basics
This Executive Committee calls upon the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to put in place adequate preparations for the General Elections. Administratively and procedurally, we remind you of the previously stated minimum requirements for credible and verifiable elections, which include:
- Facilitate an independent review of the 2017 General Elections so as to identify the shortcomings that affected the process leading to the nullification of the results of the presidential poll, and boycott of the repeat poll by the leading coalition that had petitioned the results in the first place. A public engagement of these issues needs to be facilitated in the shortest time possible
- Facilitate an independent comprehensive audit of the voters’ register to facilitate continuous registration of Kenyans when they attain the majority age, and removal of those who cease to qualify as voters
- Provide regular, at the minimum monthly, updates to Kenyans to highlight the preparations made for the elections for purposes of transparency and accountability
- Facilitate an independent review of the Kenya Integrated Elections Management System used in the previous election to explain why a new one is required for the next elections. Kenyans should be informed of the features and capabilities of the system in advance so that they can hold the Commission to account on the its performance.
We further call upon the IEBC Commissioners Selection Panel to speedily finalize the process of filling the gaps on the commission.
3. Institute Legislative Reforms
This Executive Committee appreciates that the legal dispensation for elections in Kenya is organic, and any gaps need to be filled in a flowing manner. For this reason, we call upon Parliament to speedily finalize the processing and enactment of elections related legislature already before the members. The legislation includes:
- Political Party Primaries Bill
- Referendum Bill
- Campaign Finance (Amendment) Bill
- Representation of Special Interest Groups Bill
- Gender Parity Bill
Further to these, we urge Parliament to consider any other essential reforms that are crucial to ensure that next year’s elections are peaceful, credible, free and fair. We however caution that postponement of the elections is not one of the feasible reforms, and should not even be considered.
In this context, we counsel Kenyans to consider putting in place a safety net for the best loser in Presidential Elections, as this has been a motivator for conflict and violence in past elections. Prior to 2010, the number two in presidential elections assumed the position of Leader of Opposition in Parliament, which enabled the leader and their followers to continue playing a role in the nation, especially holding the government to account. The safety net will help to reduce the cut-throat nature of presidential elections as we experience today.
4. Stop Political Mobilisation on Ethnic and Religious Grounds
This Executive Committee calls upon all political actors to end the emerging trend of mobilizing political support on ethnic and religious grounds. This is contrary to the tenet of equality of Kenyans guaranteed by the Constitution of Kenya 2010 and is a threat to national security. The coronation of individuals on ethnic and religious shrines is a manifestation of this trend and should be stopped. We especially caution Christian believers not to participate in the activities at shrines that connect them to idolatry.
5. The Youth Factor
This Executive Committee has noted with concern the reports by state agencies that youth in Kenya are already primed for violence in the elections, with a clear emergence of gangs and vigilante groups which are ready to be hired by politicians.
There is a strong need for all stakeholders, including state and non state actors, to adequately address the welfare and status of the youth so that they are not hired as agents of violence and chaos.
On our part as NCCK, we are partnering with others to organize forums for the youth to develop memorandums of what they will expect and demand for in the manifestos of political parties and aspirants. In this way, the youth will shape the nation they will live in going forward.
We further advise the youth to seek and push to assume decision making positions in political parties, and to have youths nominated to run for positions in areas where the parties are strong.
6. Cut Government Expenditure
This Executive Committee followed keenly the National Budget presented by the Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury and Planning. We have noted with concern the growing Fiscal Deficit, which is driving the government to uncontrolled borrowing and increased taxation of already burdened Kenyans. This status is not sustainable.
We counsel the government, as a first measure, to cut down on expenditure so that as a nation, we live within our means. This is the same principle we apply in our families and the families of our congregants.
Further, we call upon the National Treasury to put in place an infrastructure to enable Kenyans monitor the budget to ensure that what is budgeted for is what is implemented.
In addition, we strongly call upon the National Treasury and Parliament to focus on the welfare of the poor during the deliberations on the budget and attendant legislation. We must end the structural oppression of the people so that we experience mutual prosperity.
7. End the Seeming Dispute Between the Executive and the Judiciary
This Executive Committee has followed with trepidation the continuing dispute between the Executive and the Judiciary. We counsel His Excellency the President and the Chief Justice to urgently consult and resolve any disparities between the two institutions amicably. The public display of the dispute is tearing the nation, and should be brought to an end. There is need for the three arms of government to exercise and project respect for each other in how they relate to each other, so as to set a good example for Kenyans, especially the youth, on respect for and adherence to the law and the Constitution.
We, together with other faith leaders, are ready and willing to mediate so as to end the dispute.
8. The Building Bridges Initiative Process
This Executive Committee has noted that the proposed amendment of the Constitution of Kenya arising from the Building Bridges Initiative process is now going through a judicial process, awaiting determination by the Court of Appeal. Since the Constitution touches and controls the lives of all Kenyans, a process to amend it is crucial and all Kenyans must be given adequate time and understanding to effectively participate. For this reason, this Executive Committee calls upon the promoters of the BBI to postpone the process until after the 2022 General Elections. It is not feasible for our nation to hold a referendum and a General Election within one year. Priority should be given to the 2022 General Elections.
We conclude by once again calling upon all Kenyans to play their part in preparing the nation for elections next year. We must not wait until the last minute to rush and plunge the nation into chaos.
Let us do all we can to actualize the prayer we make through our National Anthem:
O God of all creation, bless this our land and nation, justice be our shield and defender, may we dwell in unity, peace and liberty, plenty be found within our borders.
May God bless Kenya now and always.
Signed on this 11th day of June 2021 at Jumuia Place, Nairobi.
Archbishop Timothy Ndambuki
Rev Canon Chris Kinyanjui