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Focus on Dignifying Lives for Resilience – Coast Regional Conference

Focus on Dignifying Lives for Resilience

Press Statement

The 14th Regional Conference of the NCCK Coast Region has been held here at ACK St Thomas, Kilifi, on 2nd to 3rd May 2024, under the theme “Dignified Livelihoods, Resilient Communities (Galatians 6: 9)”. The Regional Conference is a key governance organ in NCCK that meets once every three years, and in Coast Region brings together delegates from Kilifi, Kwale, Lamu, Mombasa, Taita Taveta and Tana River counties. During this Regional Conference, the delegates were challenged by the word recorded in Matthew 8: 2 – 3

A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean”. Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing”, he said. “Be clean”.

1.         Rescue and Dignify Flood Disaster Survivors

The delegates in this Regional Conference have received with great sadness the report that more than 200 Kenyans have so far lost their lives and more than a hundred thousand displaced by the ongoing flooding disaster. We continue to pray for the bereaved families for consolation and for all the survivors for quick recovery.

Further, we have put in place a strategy for our churches to provide relief to the affected families by donating clothes, food and other materials through their congregations. Financial donations can also be sent through the NCCK Paybill number 519900.

We call upon the national and county governments to intensify efforts to rescue those already affected, and to allocate resources for relocation of residents from high risk areas. We caution all leaders against using this disaster to steal public funds as has happened in the past. Let us have mercy on our suffering brothers and sisters and dignify them by using all available resources to support them.

On their part, we appeal to all our citizens to pay keen attention to announcements and guidelines from the government and meteorological department and take protective measures.

2.         Exercise Caution on Reopening of Schools

Further to this, we commend His Excellency the President for postponing the opening of schools until the rains subside. We thus urge the Ministry of Education to prioritise safety of learners by facilitating a thorough assessment of all learning facilities similar to the ongoing review of dams. Let there be a comprehensive report on the state of schools to avoid unnecessary risks and to inform necessary repairs.

3.         End the Indignity of Squatting

It is regrettable that more than 60% of the residents of our counties are squatters on their ancestral lands 60 years after independence. How long must we live in this indignity? How long must our people be consigned to perpetual poverty due to denial of access to the primary factor of production?

We demand that the government speedily completes the adjudication of the land in the coastal counties in a just and equitable manner. Let us dignify the citizens by enabling them to hold title deeds for the lands on which they live and farm.

It is important to always remember that the real and perceived injustices with regard to land ownership have been the primary driver of tension, violence and radicalization in this region.

4.         Resolve the Health Crisis

We in this Regional Conference find it unbelievable that the strike by doctors and other medical workers has entered a eighth week with no solution in sight. We call upon the national and county governments to engage in meaningful dialogue with the medical workers to bring the strike to an end. Recognizing that the first duty of leaders and managers is to solve problems, we ask the responsibility holders to step aside if they are unable to resolve this crisis. The pain and suffering of Kenyans who are daily burying their loved ones ho die from treatable illnesses must be brought to an end.

5.         Dignify Democracy by Reconstituting the IEBC

Kenya is a constitutional democracy, and establishment of government at all levels is done through elections. Further, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission is the only body mandated to manage elections in Kenya. It is therefore a gross injustice and indignity on all Kenyans for the country to not have a properly constituted IEBC for more than one year. This lapse has led to the current situation where the rights of the residents of Banissa constituency as well as Nyamaiwa, Kisa East, Lakezone, and Chewena Wards are unable to hold by-elections. In addition, Kenya is in a constitutional crisis after failing to adhere with the constitutional deadline for delimitation of boundaries.

We urge His Excellency President William Ruto and all concerned stakeholders to speedily conclude the process of recruiting IEBC Commissioners. This is a constitutional process that should not be limited to political discourse and deal making.

6.         Make NADCO Reforms People Driven

Following the 2022 General Elections, the leading political coalitions established the bipartisan National Dialogue Committee (NADCO) to end the destructive mass action and massive police brutality. NADCO was therefore comprised of senior politicians from the Kenya Kwanza and Azimio La Umoja coalitions, which made it an elitist process. It is therefore a major concern for us that Parliament is pushing ahead with implementation of the NADCO report despite a majority of Kenyans not knowing its contents. In a survey done in this Conference, we found that more than 85% of the people do not support implementation of the NADCO Report.

We therefore call upon Parliament to publish the NADCO report in a way accessible to all Kenyans so that they understand what is being done on their behalf. Secondly, we call upon the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee to visit all the counties to receive feedback from the citizens, and then use that feedback to review the report and proposed legal and policy reforms.

On their part, we call upon all Kenyans to actively engage in the ongoing reforms process. We must not leave the shaping of our future in the hands of politicians alone.

7.         Dignify the Youth for Resilient Communities

The biggest driver of social instability is the indignity of poverty. We call upon the governments in the counties in our region to thus prioritize dignified livelihood options for the youth to secure the future. Towards this, we strongly recommend:

One, allocation of budgets for training and skilling of youth on entrepreneurship

Two, reduction of taxes and levies especially for youth owned businesses

Three, consolidation of the licenses and certifications to make it easy to start and run businesses

On their part, we urge the youth in our counties to take initiative and seek opportunities to better their lives. Do remember that prosperity will not look for you, you have to work for it.

7.         Use Electricity Safely

This Regional Conference has noted with concern that the number of electricity-related accidents is rising, with reports that 130 deaths were reported last year while 60 have been killed so far this year.

Considering that the majority of electricity-related accidents result from illegal connections, poor wiring in houses, and operating under power lines, we call upon all the residents of our counties and the entire country to take care of their lives. To progress this understanding, we in the NCCK have partnered with the Kenya Power and Lighting Company to use our platforms to sensitize community members to use electricity safely. We especially recommend the following to the residents in our counties:

One, only engage licensed electricians to do wiring in your houses;

Two, ensure that electricity supply is connected by Kenya Power and Lighting Company itself; and

Three, avoid putting any buildings or businesses underneath powerlines

8.         New Regional Leadership

This Regional Conference wishes to inform all that we have elected a new team of officials who will hold office for the term 2024 – 2027. These are:

Chairperson:               Bishop Dr Peter Mwero

Vice Chair:                   Rt Rev Reuben Katite

Hon Treasurer:           Beatrice Ambale

Women Rep:               Priscilla Moira

Youth Rep:                  Lt Dennis Mulandi

PWD Rep:                   Pst Geoffrey Wanyoike

Conclusion

In conclusion, recall the warning God has given us in Proverbs 14: 21

He who despises his neighbour sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy.

Let us all join hands to bring to dignify all Kenyans by resolving the current and long standing challenges and injustices, just as we pray in 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

May God bless the NCCK Coast Region and the entire nation now and always.

Bishop Dr Peter Mwero

Chairman, NCCK Coast Region

July 2024
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