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Focus on the People – South Rift Regional Conference

Focus On the People

Press Statement

Preamble

The Regional Conference of the NCCK South Rift Region has met here at Jumuia Guest House, Nakuru, on 14th and 15th June 2021, guided by the theme “Wholesome Youth for a Wholesome Society (1 Timothy 4:12)”. The Regional Conference, which meets once every three years, brought together delegates from Baringo, Bomet, Kericho, Nakuru, Narok and Samburu counties, transacted statutory business and also reflected on the state of the Region. During the Conference, the delegates reflected on the scripture recorded in Proverbs 29: 14

If a king judges the poor with fairness, his throne will always be secure.

Recognizing that more than 85% of Kenyans are poor, living on less than five hundred Kenya Shillings per day (KShs 500) per day, it is essential that all governance and administrative organs and offices focus on developing and implementing people-focused policies and laws. This is the path to stabilizing Kenya. Towards this, we make the following recommendations:

1.         Facilitate Pre-Election Cohesion

This Regional Conference recalls with terror the trauma of elections related violence our people have experienced in the past, and we do not wish for a repeat of such. We are therefore deeply concerned about the trend of ethnicity and religion-based political mobilization that is picking up among our communities. If this trend is not stopped now, the 2022 General Elections will most likely be violent and chaotic.

Considering the multi-ethnic composition of the counties in our region, we emphasize the urgent need for proactive initiatives to entrench cohesion and commitment to democratic freedom among the people. It must not be lost on us that the National Cohesion and Integration Commission has in its Incident Report already flagged Nakuru and Baringo counties as high risk areas. In this regard, we invite the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, the National Steering Committee on Peace-building and Conflict Management, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, the National Police Service, and all other concerned stakeholders to partner with the church to promote cohesion and peace. We should not wait until the community members are radicalized before we take action. Further, we call for an end of the trend of coronation of individuals on ethnic or religious shrines. These events are harmful to cohesion in the region and the nation.

2.         Prepare for Peaceful and Credible 2022 General Elections

This Regional Conference calls to mind that as per the constitutionally set calendar, the next General Elections are to be held on the 9th day of August in 2022. There is therefore need for all Kenyans to adequately prepare for the elections in a timely manner. We appreciate that today the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has launched the 2020 – 2024 Strategic Plan, the Elections Operations Plan (EOP), and the Boundaries Review Operations Plan (BROP). Also commendable is that the National Treasury, in the budget presented to Parliament last week, allocated adequate funds to enable the IEBC prepare for and manage the coming General Elections.

To ensure that the nation is ready and focused on the coming elections, we recommend the following:

  • That infrastructure be urgently put in place to facilitate registration of the more than 4 million Kenyans who have attained majority age between 2017 and today
  • That the IEBC commences a programme of monthly briefings to the nation on the preparations done in readiness for the upcoming elections
  • That the IEBC partners with the churches and other faith institutions to use the congregational structures and forums to deliver an intensive voter education programme which avoids a last minute rush
  • That tripartite planning be undertaken between the IEBC, the Ministry of Interior, and faith leaders to prevent biased policing during the elections. We must not have a repeat of the scenes we witnessed during the recent by-elections where police officers disregarded the guidelines of the IEBC election officials they were serving under.

Further to these recommendations, we urge Parliament 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

3.         Protect the Youth from Manipulation

This Regional Conference is monitoring the continuing political re-alignments as the country nears the elections. While such re-alignments are normal and expected, we are concerned that the seeming breakup of the Jubilee Party has the potential to foment tension and violence in our Region. We therefore call upon all actors to deliberately sanction any individuals or groups that mobilize militias or vigilante groups. Any person who attempts to mobilize for violence should immediately have action taken against them as per the law.

To mitigate against the youth being mobilized to engage in violence, we in the NCCK are partnering with others to organize forums where the youth will develop memorandums of what they will demand for in the manifestos of political parties and aspirants. The forums will empower the youth to identify their needs and viable solutions, so that they are not fixated on waiting for handouts from politicians.

On their part, we advise the youth to seek and push to assume decision making positions in political parties, and to have youthful aspirants nominated in areas where the parties are strong. The youth, who are more than 70 per cent of the population, should constitute a higher percentage of the political leadership of the nation.

4.         Address Insecurity

This Regional Conference has been saddened by reports that insecurity continues to spiral out of control in our counties, driven mainly by lethargic and partisan law enforcement by security agencies and high levels of poverty.

We reiterate our previous recommendations that the security agencies in the counties be restructured so that all citizens are treated fairly and equitably. Further, there is need for the state and religious institutions to initiate and drive intra and inter ethnic dialogue to bring the cycles of cattle rustling, violence and hatred to an end.

5.         Address Climate Change

This Regional Conference notes with concern that the national and county governments are lagging behind on putting in place measures to mitigate climate change in the region. The cycle of droughts and flooding continue to impoverish Kenyans, while the rising waters of lakes Naivasha, Nakuru, Baringo and Bogoria have displaced hundreds of citizens. Women, especially those from the poorest households, are the most vulnerable to the effects of Climate Change.

We call upon the county governments to initiate community-based environment management programmes in partnership with faith leaders and other stakeholders.

6.         Constitution of Kenya Amendment Bill 2020

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.

7.         Conclusion

As we conclude, we call upon all Kenyans to play their part to ensure that we will experience cohesion and peace before, during and after the 2022 General Elections. Let us all endeavor to live as per the inspiration recorded in Colossians 3: 12 – 14

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

May God bless the South Rift Region and may God bless Kenya now and always.

Signed on this 15th day of June, 2021 at Jumuia Guest House, Nakuru

Rt Rev Ernest Ng’eno

Chairman, NCCK South Rift Region

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