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Prepare to Install Effective Political Leadership – North Rift Region Press Statement

Prepare to Install Effective Political Leadership

Press Statement

1.         Preamble

The 13th Regional Conference of the NCCK North Rift Region has met here at RCEA Guest Conference and Training Center, Eldoret, on 16th and 17th June 2021, bringing together delegates from Nandi, Uasin Gishu, Trans Nzoia, West Pokot and Turkana Counties. The Regional Conference meets once every three years, and is the highest decision making organ of the NCCK at the Region.

Guided by the theme “Wholesome Youth for a Wholesome Society (1 Timothy 4:12)”, the Regional Conference recognized that the country is preparing to put in place the political leadership to hold office for the next five years. We therefore invite all Kenyans to learn from the scripture recorded in 1 Timothy 4: 12 – 16 the key personal character traits that every leader should exhibit, which include:

One, Be a Good Role Model

Two, Be devoted to leadership and good governance

Three, Be diligent in upholding the rule of law and constitutional principles

Four, Persevere the propaganda and attacks by those who would want to push selfish interests

Five, Be qualified for the positions in line with the qualifications set by the Constitution and relevant laws

In addition to these, we now share the following message with the nation and the residents of our region:

2.         Prepare for Peaceful and Credible 2022 General Elections

This Regional Conference appreciates that the different institutions have heard the call of the church and commenced preparations for the constitutionally scheduled General Elections 2022. Notably, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) earlier this week launched the 2020 – 2024 Strategic Plan, the Elections Operations Plan (EOP), and the Boundaries Review Operations Plan (BROP). On its part, the National Treasury allocated adequate funds to the IEBC to enable them prepare for and manage the coming General Elections. We have also noted with appreciation that the National Government Administration Officers (NGAO) have commenced preparations to ensure security during the General Elections.

Nonetheless, we recognize that there is much that remains to be done, and we confirm our commitment to participate in and support the processes that require the input of the citizenry. The pending preparations include:

  • Mass registration of voters so that the more than 4 million Kenyans who have attained majority age between 2017 and today are included in the Voters’ Register
  • Consultative forums between the IEBC, the Ministry of Interior, faith leaders and other stakeholders to build confidence in the electoral process
  • Timely passing and enactment by Parliament of elections related laws that include:
    • Political Party Primaries Bill
    • Referendum Bill
    • Campaign Finance (Amendment) Bill
    • Representation of Special Interest Groups Bill
    • Gender Parity Bill

Further, we urge IEBC to commence a programme of monthly briefings to the nation on the preparations done in readiness for the upcoming elections.

On our part, we have initiated a process of structured prayer and fasting for the nation through our congregations. When feasible, we will organize inter-denominational and inter-faith prayer meetings for peace.

3.         Provide Impartial Civic and Voter Education

This Regional Conference recognizes that Kenyans refresh political leadership every five years. There is therefore a great need for the people to be prepared to participate in the process of electing the individuals who thereafter play a big role in national and community level decision making. For this reason, there is a strong need for intensive civic and voter education across the nation that equips the people to make informed choices.

On our part, we are willing to partner with the IEBC and other partners to use our congregational structures and forums to deliver civic education in a timely manner.

4.         Empower the Youth for Leadership

This Regional Conference recognizes that in the lead up to elections, political actors align and re-align with parties and other actors as they seek to position themselves for success. We therefore counsel all Kenyans to realize that the political sentiments, coupled with formation and break up of political parties, are part of the strategizing by political actors to benefit them as individuals. Let us resist the attempts by any of the actors to draw ethnic or religious communities into the political theatrics. For this reason, we as community members should blacklist any person who mobilizes militias or vigilante groups, or in any way attempts to incite violence between communities. Such persons must not be elected.

On their part, we call upon the youth in our communities to deliberately refuse to engage in violence before, during or after the elections. Always remember that those who give you money to engage in violence will use then dump you, and the few coins they give will not last you the five years the politician will be in office.

Instead, we counsel you as male and female youths to seek and push to assume decision making positions in political parties, and to have youthful aspirants nominated as candidates in areas where your political parties are strong. Leadership positions will not be given to you on a silver platter, so position yourselves in political parties as leaders.

On our part, we will together with other partners organize forums where the youth will develop memorandums of what they would like to find in the manifestos of political parties and aspirants. We hope to empower the youths to identify their needs as well as viable solutions so that they are not fixated on handouts from politicians.

5.         Provide Security for All

This Regional Conference continues to be deeply concerned about the pervasive insecurity in our counties, driven by under development coupled with financial disempowerment of the youth. This Regional Conference recommends a reorganization of the security machinery in the region to ensure that any and all individuals who are involved in criminal activities are brought to book. We especially recommend that action be taken against politicians who are implicated in the insecurity. They must not be allowed to continue hiding behind the name of their tribes to perpetuate evil.

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 going through a judicial process, awaiting determination by the Court of Appeal. In view of the need for the nation to focus on the 2022 General Elections, we call upon the promoters of the BBI to postpone the constitution amendment process regardless of the decision of the Court of Appeal. It is important that Kenyans are given adequate time to fully participate in the amendment of their Constitution.

This notwithstanding, we urge Kenyans to consider putting in place a safety net for the best loser in the Presidential Elections, as this has been a key motivator for conflict and violence in the past. In the previous Constitution, the best loser would assume the position of Leader of Official Opposition in Parliament, which provided a formal structure to hold the government to account. This position was removed in the Constitution of Kenya 2010, leading to the cut-throat competition in the Presidential election we witnessed in 2013 and 2017. A solution to this essential safety net is urgently needed for the future of the nation.

7.         Reduce Taxation Burden

This Regional Conference is deeply concerned about the ever increasing taxation of Kenyans. The weakening of the national economy coupled with high government expenditure have led to the rise in the Fiscal Deficit and attendant uncontrolled borrowing to fill the gap.

On its part, the increased taxation has made agricultural and industrial production in Kenya very expensive, making importation of even the most basic items like toothpicks and tissue paper cheaper in comparison. This situation is unsustainable, and if unchecked, could lead to a total collapse of our economy in the near future.

We therefore advise the government to cut down its expenditure to be in tandem with projected tax income. It is irresponsible for the National Treasury to actually plan for a fiscal deficit, just in the same way that a family which lives beyond its means is unwise.

In the alternative, we counsel the government to engage in nationwide consultations with community members, especially the youth, so as to develop a people-focused economy that is premised on production, not importation.

8.         Safeguard the Pulpit

This Regional Conference has taken into consideration the word of God 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 every faith leader has an obligation to provide spiritual nurture to all people who come to our places of worship, regardless of their status in society or political alignment. To achieve this, we have committed ourselves to safeguard the pulpit by not allowing politicians and aspirants to campaign to congregations during worship services. In addition, we will avoid asking for donations from the politicians and aspirants so that they don’t claim the right to address the congregations.

Conclusion

We conclude by once again recognizing that the process of putting in place the next cohort of political leadership in place has kicked off. All Kenyans should be equipped and empowered to participate effectively. In the meantime, we urge the leadership in place to do all they can to work in unity and project the aspirations of all Kenyans. There is a need to urgently end the seeming dispute between the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislature. We recommend that consultative meetings between the heads of the three arms of government be held so that they relate with each other in a way that projects to the nation an example of respect and adherence to the law and the Constitution. Church leaders are willing to mediate such consultations should the need arise.

May each of us work to actualize the prayer we make through 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

Signed on this 17th day of June 2021 at RCEA Conference and Training Center, Eldoret

 

Rev Daniel Barno

Regional Chairman, NCCK North Rift Region

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