Central Regional Conference Press Statement
June 10, 2021
Give Kenya Peaceful and Credible General Elections 2022
The Regional Conference of the NCCK Central Region has convened here at Caritas Development Center, Nyeri, on 9th and 10th June 2021 to transact statutory business and also reflect on matters of concern to the counties in our region, which are Embu, Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Nyeri, Nyandarua and Laikipia. The Conference is guided by the theme “Wholesome Youth for a Wholesome Society (1 Timothy 4: 12)”
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
During this Conference, we recognized that while still a youth, David provided a solution to the nation of Israel when they were under attack by their enemies led by Goliath. We recognize that the youth, who constitute 70 per cent of the population in Kenya, are a great blessing and resource for the nation, but can be a curse if proper policies and strategies are not put in place. It is in this context that we share the following message.
1. Prepare for Peaceful and Credible 2022 General Elections
This Regional Conference is deeply concerned that the nation has not put in place adequate preparations for the constitutionally scheduled General Elections that are a mere 13 months away. We especially note that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission appears not ready to conduct the elections. This is due to:
- Incomplete composition of the Commission
- Failure to undertake ongoing audit and update of the voters’ register
- Failure to communicate to the nation preparations and procurement of materials and services being undertaken
- Failure to facilitate an independent review of the 2017 General Elections so as to identify the shortcomings that affect the election, culminating in the nullification of the results of the Presidential Poll and boycott of the repeat poll by the leading opposition coalition
On its part, the Parliament is yet to process and enact essential legislation aimed at assuring free, fair and verifiable elections in 2022. These include
- Political Party Primaries Bill
- Referendum Bill
- Campaign Finance (Amendment) Bill
- Representation of Special Interest Groups Bill
- Gender Parity Bill
Despite these challenges, we reiterate that the General Elections must be held on August 9, 2022 as scheduled in the Constitution of Kenya. No one should use any pretext to attempt to change the date of the elections. This behooves all concerned state and non state actors to play their role in preparing the nation for the elections. On its part, the IEBC should immediately commence regular updates to the nation on the preparedness for the elections to ensure accountability of the process and avoid last minute rush and irregular procurement of materials and services.
2. Protect the Youth from Manipulation
This Regional Conference has observed with trepidation the growing trend of violent confrontations between supporters of Tanga Tanga and Kieleweke factions of the Jubilee Party. This is a worrying trend when considered in the context of re-emergence of vigilante groups and militias sponsored by politicians. This can portend for difficult and violent elections in 2022. There is therefore a strong need for all stakeholders to adequately address the welfare and status of the youth by empowering them so that they are not mobilized as agents of violence and chaos.
On our part as the church we have put in place plans to organize forums for the youth to develop memorandums on what they expect to find in the manifestos of political parties and candidates. This will enable the youth assess the viability of aspirants and hold those elected to account in future. One of the greatest safeguards for the youth against violence and misuse is giving them hope for the future.
In addition, we encourage community and church structures to embrace and accord the youth equal opportunities to rise to leadership positions. We will especially monitor the level to which the youth assume key decision making positions in political parties and are nominated for positions where the parties are strong.
4. Structure A People-Focused Economy
This Regional Conference recognizes that today the Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury and Planning presents to Parliament the 2021/2022 national budget. We do note that this budget is being developed and presented in a context characterized by:
- An unmanageable debt which stands at 65% of the Gross Domestic Product
- A ballooning public expenditure budget which is pushing the government to increase taxation of the already overburdened populace
- Growing level of unemployment which has been worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic
- Perpetually worsening performance of small and medium-sized businesses owned by Kenyans
- Massive reduction in amount of expendable income by families, leading to reduced allocation of funds for food, clothing, shelter, healthcare and education
- Sharp drop in income from farm products coupled with increasing prices of farm inputs
These conditions have given rise to a very high sense of hopelessness among the citizens, which is making mental health of the people worse.
We wish to remind Parliament as well as the National and County governments of the warning God has given in Ezekiel 22: 29 and 31
The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and need and mistreat the alien, denying them justice… so I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign Lord.
We urge responsibility holders at national and county levels to specifically and deliberately focus on the welfare of the poor as you deliberate on the national and county budgets and subsequent structuring of the economy. End the structural oppression of the people before God destroys our nation.
5. Heal the Healthcare in our Counties
This Regional Conference has been saddened by reports of poor healthcare status in our counties. Services in public health facilities have deteriorated owing to constant disputes between healthcare workers and county governments, lack of medicine in pharmacies, poorly maintained diagnostic equipment, and shortage of specialists. We call upon all the Governors of our Counties to urgently address the spiraling healthcare crisis. Of essence is adequate allocation of funds to health in the 2021/2022 county budgets.
6. The Building Bridges Initiative Process
This Regional Conference 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 Regional Conference 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.
Nonetheless, we urge Kenyans to consider instituting a Parliamentary process to effect essential reforms to promote cohesion and peaceful coexistence in our nation.
7. Message to Faith Leaders
As church leaders, we remind ourselves of the duty laid upon us in the Bible as recorded in Acts 20: 28
Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.
We recognize that as the country enters the emotive electoral period, many aspirants and political leaders will seek to use the churches as platforms for campaigns. However, we must not allow this. We must safeguard the places of worship so that they remain sanctuaries where all people, regardless of their status in society or political party affiliation can come to meet with and worship God. Towards this, we advise our fellow church leaders to avoid asking for donations from politicians or aspirants so that they do not in return ask for opportunities to speak during worship services.
Further, let us use our sermons and any other communications to promote peace and prosperity of Kenya.
We conclude by praying that God will protect our nation even as we move into the season of elections. No Kenyan should be harmed, threatened or terrified of the upcoming democratic process. The process of setting up a government of the people by the people for the people should not be a time of anxiety and fear, but a time of hope and joyful anticipation. As a nation, let us have faith in God and take time to fast and pray for the nation, holding onto the inspiration of Philippians 4: 6 – 7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
May God bless Kenya with peace and prosperity now and always.
Signed on this 10th day of June 2021 at Caritas Development Center, Nyeri
Rt Rev Dr Timothy Gichere
Regional Chairman, NCCK Central Region