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Press Statement

1. Introduction

The Regional Committee of the NCCK Upper Eastern Region has met here at Gitoro Conference and Training Center, Meru, today February 23, 2021 to transact statutory business and also reflect on the state of the Region. The NCCK Upper Eastern Region comprises of Isiolo, Marsabit, Meru and Tharaka Nithi counties. During the meeting, the members considered the scripture recorded in Nehemiah 1: 3

They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”

Just as Nehemiah was concerned about the broken wall of Jerusalem which exposed the people to danger and disgrace, the Regional Committee noted with concern that the society in Kenya is experiencing dangers and breakdowns that require leaders to intervene. Members considered this and wish to make the following recommendations to the residents of the counties in our region and the entire nation.

2. Upcoming Referendum on the Constitution of Kenya Amendment Bill 2020

This Regional Conference has noted that today, more than half of the County Assemblies have passed the Constitution of Kenya Amendment Bill 2020, which has taken the country to the next stage of the Bill being considered by the Parliament. Since the Constitution touches and controls the lives of all persons, a process to amend it is crucial and all Kenyans must be given opportunity to participate. For this reason, this Regional Committee calls upon all Kenyans to maintain peace before, during and after the referendum. No Kenyan should suffer or die because of the referendum. The church leaders and members in our region will name and shame any persons who incite violence during this period.

Further, this Regional Committee calls upon all Kenyans to deliberately take time to read and understand the Bill so as to make an informed decision during the referendum. Do not wait for politicians to sway you one way or the other, for they work only for their own interests. And quite importantly, do not accept to be bribed with money or any other material things to vote one way or the other during the referendum. Always remember that the provisions in the Constitution will influence and impact your life. Do not sell it for a token of cash or food.

On her part, the National Council of Churches of Kenya will in a short while commence civic education on the referendum through our structures and churches.

3. End Culture of Intolerance

This Regional Conference is deeply concerned that a culture of political intolerance has crept into our counties. Early campaigns in the leadup to the 2022 General Elections are being conducted, with attendant tribally motivated mobilization. The result is the emerging trend of intra and inter ethnic violence coupled with intensified arms trafficking.

This Regional Committee calls upon the National Cohesion and Integration Commission and the security agencies to take early action against the perpetrators of the violence to safeguard the lives and welfare of Kenyans. No one should be left to feel that they can incite violence against Kenyans and still live at peace.

The Regional Committee in addition urges all Kenyans to reject all political actors who engage in violence or incite communities against each other. Doing this will teach others to behave with decorum and to uphold justice and peace.

4. Address Prevalent Drug Abuse and Trade

This Regional Committee has noted with concern the rising rate of drug trafficking and drug abuse in our counties. In some areas the trade and abuse of illicit drugs is being done openly.

This Regional Committee strongly urges the security agencies and government administration to take the necessary action against those who engage in drug trafficking. In addition, the church leaders call upon the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) to partner with religious institutions to intensify sensitization and rehabilitation at the county level.

5. Reverse Rising Food Insecurity

This Regional Committee has received reports indicating that food insecurity is rising in the four counties. This has been worsened by locust invasions that have destroyed large swathes of agricultural lands and pasture. The low yield of farm lands and devastation by locusts have led to a notable increase in the cost of food and farm inputs.

This Regional Committee calls upon the Ministries of Agriculture at national and county levels to upscale the efforts to control the locust invasions. On their part, the citizens are encouraged to embrace climate smart agriculture to ensure foods security at the household level.

6. Message to Faith Leaders

This Regional Committee has taken into consideration the word of recorded in Numbers 18: 1

The Lord said to Aaron, “You, your sons and your father’s family are to bear the responsibility for offenses against the sanctuary, and you and your sons alone are to bear the responsibility for offenses against the priesthood.

This injunction applies to the priesthood to this day, and it means that God is not happy when faith leaders are not jealous about the integrity and respect of places of worship. Do not allow anyone to stand in a place of worship to speak politics or engage in foul language. The places of worship must remain sanctuaries where all people, regardless of their status in the society, can go to meet with and worship God. Faith leaders have a mandate to feed all people spiritually, and to achieve this the sanctity of the sanctuaries must be maintained.

Towards this, this Regional Committee urges all faith leaders in our counties to avoid asking for donations from politicians or aspirants. When you do, they ask for opportunities to use the sanctuaries and worship meetings to engage in political vitriol and divisive campaigns. God will hold all who allow this to happen responsible.

7. Conclusion

In conclusion, this Regional Committee calls to mind the request God has asked from all the people, as is recorded in Amos 5: 24

But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream

May God help all Kenyans to promote justice in the Constitution amendment process and the upcoming general elections, and to always elect leaders who promote justice in the land.

Signed on this 23rd day of February 2021 at Gitooro Conference and Training Center, Meru.

Bishop Jediel Kaigongi

Chairperson, NCCK Upper Eastern Region

May 2022

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