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PROMOTE TRANSPARENCY AND CREDIBILITY IN ELECTORAL PERIOD – Press Statement

PROMOTE TRANSPARENCY AND CREDIBILITY IN ELECTORAL PERIOD

Press Statement

A.        Preamble

The Programme Committee of the National Council of Churches of Kenya has held a two-day meeting here at Jumuia Conference and Country Home, Limuru, on 2nd and 3rd March 2022. The extra-ordinary meeting was attended by Heads of Member Churches, Chairpersons of the NCCK Regional and County Coordinating Committees, Women and Youth Representatives from the Regions, and the heads of women ministries in the member churches. The goal of the meeting was to formulate strategies and action plans for Securing Elections 2022.

B.        Walk in the Light

The Bible in Luke 8: 16 – 17 teaches us:

No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.

Indeed the Bible in various sections teaches that light is essential for wholesome living, while darkness is equated with evil and death. Leaders of all cadres are therefore expected by God to act in a transparent manner so that the society does not stumble and perish. In this regard, we wish to call the following matters to attention of all Kenyans.

C.        Secure Elections 2022

As is provided in the Constitution of Kenya 2010, sovereignty belongs to the people of Kenya, and they have the power and mandate to choose those who serve in their government. For this reason, the Constitution in Article 38(2) that “Every citizen has the right to free, fair and regular elections based on universal suffrage and the free expression of the will of the electors”. Seeking to secure this provision with regard to the General Elections scheduled for August 9, 2022, we make the following observations and recommendations:

(i)         We call upon His Excellency the President, Hon Uhuru Kenyatta, to lead the government in assuring all Kenyans that the 2022 General Elections and subsequent transitions will be peaceful, free and fair.

(ii)        We call upon the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government to make adequate preparations, and coordinate with the state and non-state actors, so as to secure the General Elections. Assurance must be given that the scenes witnessed during past by-elections where electoral officials were harassed and assaulted in the presence of police officers will not be repeated. The law should be applied equally to all.

(iii)       We urge the National Treasury to fully finance the budget of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

(iv)       We call upon the National Assembly and the Senate to withdraw the Elections Laws (Amendment) Bill 2022 and any other elections related laws to create space for adequate public participation in a less tense environment after the polls. Radical changes to the law governing elections so close to the polls undermines free and fair elections.

(v)       We call upon all political parties and coalitions to hold free and fair primaries, and also address the fears of aspirants that some are more equal than others

(vi)       We call upon religious leaders to provide civic and voter education to the people of Kenya so that they can make informed choices.

D.        Speak Peace, Not Hatred

Recognizably, the character of the people is shaped by the narratives they hear and believe. Negative narratives in the past have resulted in violence and death in our nation.

We call upon all leaders, politicians, aspirants and religious leaders to remember that the Kenya they paint and shape with their words is the Kenya they and their parents, spouses and children live in. Let every person tell stories of hope and not despair. Let us promote peace, not violence; Unity, not discord; Love, not hatred.

As Kenyans, let us hear and heed the warning of James 3: 6

The tongue is also a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

Let us not set our nation on fire with the words we speak.

E.         Ministering to Politicians and Aspirants

To enhance and ensure impartiality in delivery of spiritual nurture to all, the NCCK General Assembly in August 2021 issued guidelines on ministry to politicians and aspirants. Key elements of the guidelines are:

  • Political leaders and aspirants are welcome to participate in worship services
  • Places of worship will endeavour to minister to aspirants from the different political formations
  • Church leaders will avoid anointing or commissioning any individuals for any positions
  • Politicians will be barred from speaking to congregants from the pulpit
  • Churches can receive donations and contributions from all worshippers, including politicians and aspirants
  • The donations or contributions to churches should not be used as campaign forums, and churches will avoid announcing what a particular individual has given

We do note that in the Bible, the responsibility for ensuring the sanctity and acceptability of the offering given is placed on the giver, not on the priest receiving on behalf of God.

F.         End Corruption and Impunity

The NCCK is deeply concerned that the cancer of corruption and impunity continues to thrive in Kenya despite the powers and instruments provide in the Constitution and Laws of Kenya to the government and specialized agencies. Over the years, little has been achieved in the fight against corruption, and the culture is getting ingrained deeper in the nation. We call upon all designated agencies to take responsibility and urgently address corruption in the electoral process. Leadership of the nation should not seem to be premised on the corruption capacities of the aspirants. Kenyans want to hold General Elections, not a public auction of political seats to the highest bidder.

G.        Lower the Cost of Living

The people of Kenya are deeply suffering from the spiraling cost of living. The prices of consumer goods and services have skyrocketed, while taxation is more than most citizens can bear. This is happening in a context where the cost of doing business is very high, leading to low profits and reduced job creation. The result of this is low economic capacity at the family level despite the announced growth of the national economy. We call upon the government to take the necessary measures to lower taxation and make the business environment friendly for all.

H.        Message of Encouragement to Examination Candidates

We in NCCK wish to bring to all Class Eight and Form Four students a message of encouragement and prayers as they sit for their examinations. We speak the words Jeremiah 29: 11 into your lives:

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

We encourage you to approach the exams with confidence and hope, for God is with you.

On its part, we call upon the government to ensure the security of all the examinations candidates and examiners across the country.

I.          Conclusion

We conclude by once again calling upon all Kenyans to actively play their role to Secure Elections 2022. Let us promote peace, national cohesion and freedom of expression as different actors campaign for support. May the words of our National Anthem inspire us to raise national interests above personal interests, even as we together sing:

Let one and all arise, with hearts both strong and true; Service be our earnest endeavour; And our homeland of Kenya, Heritage of splendour, Firm may we stand to defend

May God bless Kenya now and always.

Signed on this 3rd day of March 2022 at Jumuia Conference and Country Home, Limuru.

Bishop Dr John Okinda

NCCK Vice Chairman

Rev Canon Chris Kinyanjui

General Secretary

January 2023
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