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Prevent Violence by Preparing Early for Elections

Prevent Violence by Preparing Early for Elections

Press Statement

The Regional Committee of the NCCK Lower Eastern, which covers Kajiado, Kitui, Machakos, and Makueni counties, has met today March 16, 2021 here at ACK All Soul’s Cathedral Machakos Diocese to transact statutory business and reflect on the state of the nation and the region. During the meeting the Regional Committee reflected on the word of God drawn from the book of John 17:15

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.

This prayer of Jesus has filled us with confidence that God will grant our nation and the entire world victory over the Covid-19 pandemic. We have therefore taken time to pray for all those infected and affected by the virus for quick recovery of health and social wellbeing. We in the meantime urge all people to reinstate the adherence to the guidelines set by the Ministry of Health so that we protect ourselves and other people from contracting or transmitting the virus.

Having prayerfully considered the state of the nation and our region, we now share the following message with the nation and the residents of our counties.

1. Readiness for the 2022 General Elections

This Regional Committee has taken time to pray for our region, especially Machakos County which will be going through a by-election later this week. This is in light of the violence and chaos witnessed in the by-elections held recently in different parts of the country.

The chaotic by-elections are the latest indicator that the nation is not ready for the Constitutionally scheduled 2022 General Elections. The shortfalls that befell the 2017, the elections before that, and the recent by-elections, still remain. If these are not adequately and urgently resolved, then the 2022 elections will most likely be chaotic with a high potential for violence.

We now call upon His Excellency the President to facilitate the appointment of commissioners for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, as well as strengthening of the IEBC secretariat, to facilitate early preparations for the elections.

Further, we call for a cessation of the use of foul language and entrenchment of toxic politics in the country. Politicians should not train our children that it is okay to insult one another, spew out lies, and malign the characters of other people. We strongly recommend to all Kenyans to reject any political actor who engages in foul language or violence. As citizens, we can teach our leaders to have decorum by ensuring that those who engage in hooliganism are not elected to any positions.

2. End Alcohol and Drug Abuse

This Regional Committee has recalled that when schools were closed for nine months, many of our children were drawn into illicit behaviours including rampant sexual activity and drug consumption. So prevalent were these delinquencies that bhang and miraa are being sold openly. We call upon the national and county governments to enhance security surveillance and controls to bring the sale and consumption of drugs under control. Further, we have committed to make our church congregations and meetings open to the National Authority for Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) to enhance sensitization and enforcement of anti-drug policies and laws.

3. Constitution of Kenya Amendment Bill 2020

Recognizing that the preparations for the Referendum on the Constitution of Kenya Amendment Bill 2020 are in high gear, this Regional Committee laments that many Kenyans are not aware of the proposed amendments. Considering that amendment of the Constitution is a crucial process in which all Kenyans should participate, we urge all citizens to read and understand the Bill. Do not make a decision on the Constitution of Kenya based only on the sentiments of politicians, or on whether the politician you like or hate supports or opposes the proposed amendments.

On our part as the NCCK, we are continuing to implement a Civic Education Programme that entails sessions in all our regions which are streamed live on Facebook. We welcome Kenyans to join the Livestreams or watch the recorded clips on our social media platforms.

Nonetheless, what is very important to us is that there is peace and national cohesion before, during and after the referendum. We urge all Kenyans to allow their neighbours and fellow citizens to hold and express their opinions, whether they support or oppose the Referendum Bill.

4. Message to Faith Leaders

Having monitored the progression of the early campaigns for 2022 and the upcoming referendum, this Regional Committee is deeply concerned about the rising trend of defilement of places of worship by politicians.

We take this moment to remind our fellow faith leaders that our primary mandate is the spiritual nurture of the people. This behooves on us to strictly maintain the integrity and sanctity of the places of worship so that we can minister to all who come to seek God, regardless of their status in the society.

In this regard, we strongly encourage you to avoid asking political aspirants for donations during the referendum or the 2022 General Elections. When you ask them for donations, they in return ask for opportunities to speak to congregants during the worship services, which is highly inappropriate since the pulpit is for spiritual nurture, not political campaigns. Do not allow anyone to stand in a place of worship and use foul language or engage in politics.

Conclusion

As we conclude, we wish to join all Kenyans in the prayer we all make through our National Anthem:

O God of all creation, bless this our land and nation, justice be our shield and defender. May we dwell in unity, peace and liberty, plenty be found within our borders.

Further, we pray for and wish all candidates in Grade Four, Class Eight and Form Four success in their exams, and wish all our children safety as they embark on their seven-week holidays.

Signed on this 16th day of March 2021 at ACK All Soul’s Cathedral, Machakos

Rt Rev Joseph Mutungi

Regional Chairman, NCCK Lower Eastern Region

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