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Let Us Build Unity and Cohesion

Let Us Build Unity and Cohesion

Press Statement

Preamble

The officials elected to the NCCK County Coordinating Committees and the Regional Committee in Nyanza Region have held a two-day induction workshop on 10th and 11th June 2024 here at Friends Church Kisumu. The officials were elected during the forums held this year, and will hold office for 3 years.

During the induction workshop, the officials were encouraged and inspired by the scripture recorded in Psalm 133: 1 and 3

How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity… For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.

Having appreciated the centrality of unity and national cohesion in the church and nation, we now share the following message.

1.         Reconstitute the IEBC

It is very unfortunate that Kenya has been put at a great risk by political actors due to the long delay in appointment of commissioners for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). A major result is that the nation failed to meet the deadline for undertaking boundaries review, while the residents of four wards and one constituency have not conducted required by-elections, thus denying them the right to have elected representatives. For how long will this injustice continue?

We are especially concerned that the orders by the High Court requiring the current IEBC Selection Panel to complete their work have been ignored. On its part, Parliament is yet to processing and enactment of the IEBC Amendment Bill, which had proposed to restart the process of recruiting the commissioners.

To safeguard the future of Kenya, we call upon His Excellency President William Ruto and all concerned stakeholders to set politics aside and facilitate completion of the appointment of the Commissioners.

On their part, we call upon the speakers of the National Assembly and Senate to fast track the processing of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (Amendment) Bill 2024. Let us not expose our nation to further danger.

2.         Make the Electoral Reforms People Driven

As a strategy to address the demonstrations that rocked the country after the 2022 General Elections, the government and the opposition established the National Dialogue Committee (NADCO) to restore peace. In a measure of injustice, the National Assembly adopted the report despite the fact that it was not subjected to public participation or discourse

We call upon the speakers of the National Assembly and Senate to publish the NADCO report in away that is accessible to all Kenyans. Further, the joint Legal Affairs Committee should visit all counties to receive feedback and input from the people on the proposed reforms.

On our part as church leaders, we are committed to using our platforms to educate people on the reforms, but we do require the goodwill on the part of Parliament.

3.         Facilitate Education

Schools in our region continue to report inordinate delays in the release of school capitation funds. This has negatively affected the operations of the schools. Further to this, the strike by Junio School teachers is denying children their right to education.

We call upon the Ministry of Education to ensure equality of all counties and schools with regard to disbursement of the capitation funds. Further, the Ministry needs to speedily address the strike by Junior School teachers since these learners are expected to do the same exams as the learners whose learning has not been interrupted.

It is also crucial that the government reinstates the Edu-Afya programme urgently. We must not gamble with the health and wellbeing of the learners.

4.         Heal the Healthcare Sector

The state of healthcare in our counties is worrying. Most health facilities do not have the required medicines, and are yet to recover from the lengthy doctors’ strike. Quite devastating is that the church-owned and private health facilities have been crippled as a  result of the failure by the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) to remit the funds due to them.

It is therefore a major concern that the government is pushing for a transition from the NHIF to the Social Health Insurance Fund (SHIF) without indicating how the NHIF debts will be paid. We call upon the Cabinet Secretary for Health to speedily address this matter.

5.         Take Public Participation Input Seriously

We commend the Finance and Budget committee of the National Assembly for the extensive public participation on the Finance Bill 2024. We urge the members to take the sentiments expressed by the citizens seriously. Our position remains that the Finance Bill 2024 should be one that inspires hope, not one that brings frustration and despair by increasing taxes.

Let us all join hands to build a financial and economic dispensation that encourages and enables the citizens to engage in dignified livelihoods.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we call to mind the centrality of unity in promoting peace, national cohesion and prosperity. This is the message we pass to ourselves as Kenyans through the National Anthem when we pray:

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 Nyanza Region now and always.

Signed on this 11th day of June 2024 at Friends Church Kisumu.

Rt Rev John Mark Godia

Regional Chairman, NCCK Nyanza Region

July 2024
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