Religious Leaders Convocation Communique
December 5, 2019
DIALOGUE REFERENCE GROUP
RECONCILE AND RESTORE KENYA THROUGH STRUCTURED DIALOGUE
COMMUNIQUE OF THE SECOND RELIGIOUS LEADERS CONVOCATION
The Second Religious Leaders Convocation has been held at Ufungamano House on 4th and 5th December 2019, bringing together more than 300 Religious Leaders from different faiths across the country. The objective of the Convocation was to validate the report of the County Dialogue Conferences held between April and July 2019, and to review the report released by the Presidential Taskforce on Building Bridges to Unity.
The Convocation reflected on and invites all Kenyans to be inspired by the scripture recorded in Jeremiah 32: 38 – 39
They will be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them.
And also from the Quran Chapter 26 verse 38 which says
…. Dialogue amongst yourselves
And also from the Chapter 16 verse 125 which says
…. And dialogue with them in ways that are best and most gracious
The Convocation was thus inspired to re-emphasize the centrality of dialogue in resolving conflicts and disputes, and wishes to highlight the following:
- CONSOLATION TO ALL AFFECTED BY FLOODS
We are deeply saddened and concerned by the high number of deaths, injuries and destruction of property due to the ongoing heavy rains and floods. We continue to pray for comfort and consolation of the bereaved families, and for those affected that God will grant them quick recovery. In the meantime, we appeal to families and neighbours to help each other to recover from the disaster, even as we commend the government for the interventions to rescue affected individuals and families. On our part, we will have campaigns in our places of worship to mobilize support for the affected Kenyans.
Nonetheless, we call upon the national and county governments to take seriously the importance of effective Disaster Preparedness and Management. It is a great rebuke on the governments that despite clear warnings about the coming heavy rains, viable mitigation measures were not taken. We indeed foresee that a time is coming when Kenyans will rightfully demand compensation from the government for destruction that arises from mitigatable disasters.
- NATIONAL DIALOGUE PROCESS
In February 2018, we met here at Ufungamano House for the first Religious Leaders’ Convocation during which we initiated the National Dialogue Process. This was in recognition of the fact that no single institution or event in Kenya has exclusive legitimacy or legality to comprehensively resolve the underlying conflicts and challenges that afflict our nation. We reiterate that a national dialogue process that gives all Kenyans opportunity to build consensus is the pathway to national cohesion, equity and justice as envisaged in the Constitution of Kenya 2010.
- COUNTY DIALOGUE CONFERENCES
In this regard, we thank the more than four thousand multi-sectoral leaders who participated and shared their views during the 44 County Dialogue Conferences that were held earlier this year. The CDCs were organized by the Dialogue Reference Group as the second stage of the national dialogue process after the National Dialogue Conference.
The consolidated report from the Conferences indicates that the resolutions made by the National Dialogue Conference of September 2018 were endorsed. In addition, the Conferences profiled other national and county-specific issues of concern that should be part of the dialogue process. These include:
- Strengthening the family
The family is the foundation of our society, and there is a great need to protect, nurture and strengthen the family as a basic social unit to address the current wave of violence within families. Towards this, we urge the government and involved stakeholders to accelerate the development of the Family Policy together with its implementation plan. It is expected that the Family Policy will institute a life-long character formation framework and inculcation of values. Strengthening the family unit will in essence enable the country to address the prevailing moral decadence.
On our part as religious leaders, we will continue to partner with different stakeholders to enhance marriage and parenting capacity building, while establishing safe spaces for inter-generational consultations and dialogue.
- Natural resources
In many counties there is bitterness at the inequitable exploitation of natural resources that only benefits local and international business corporations. There is a need to recognize that if dialogue is not initiated with community members in the affected areas, violent conflicts of huge magnitude are likely to erupt in coming years. Towards this, there is need for realistic public participation in the finalization and implementation of laws on extractives.
- Land ownership and use
In most counties, there is deep anger that citizens have for decades not been issued with title deeds, while the few who are privileged and influential are granted ownership of prime lands. Indeed, land tenure and use has been the trigger of many conflicts in the country. We call upon the different arms of government to play their role in addressing the chaos and impunity associated with land registries, which must be brought to an end.
- REPORT OF THE BUILDING BRIDGES INITIATIVE TASKFORCE
As religious leaders, we appreciate that the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Right Honorable Raila Odinga not only facilitated calmness in the country, but has also produced strong content for the national dialogue process.
In this regard, we have welcomed the launch of the Report of the Presidential Taskforce on Building Bridges to Unity, noting that we made recommendations to the team.
Having taken time to review and understand the Report by the BBI Taskforce, we have recognized that there are many recommendations that have potential to transform Kenya to a better nation. On this, we recognize our concurrence with the Taskforce on:
- The need for expansion of the Executive
- The need to dignify the opposition to deflate the Winner Takes All nature of politics
- The tax relief for small businesses established by young Kenyans and efforts to curb unemployment
- Strengthening of devolution by increasing the capacity of County Governments to deliver services
- The fight against corruption
Nonetheless, there are proposals which require further consultations and refinement, which include:
- The establishment of the office of the Prime Minister to ensure it reflects national consensus on an inclusive executive
- Strategies and solutions for national reconciliation, healing and cohesion
- Involvement of political parties in the appointment of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) commissioners
- Strategies for implementation of Chapter 6 of the Constitution in its entirety
- Strategies for implementation of gender equity at all levels
We therefore urge all Kenyans to read, discuss and debate the BBI report, whether individually or in groups, so as to effectively participate in the dialogue on the same. There is need for all Kenyans to avoid divisive debates on the BBI Report, and we especially urge the government to speak as one to avoid dividing the people.
- MOVING NATIONAL DIALOGUE FORWARD
During this Second Religious Leaders Convocation, we received and validated the Report of the County Dialogue Conferences. The Convocation also received and reviewed the draft National Dialogue Consensus Agreement (NDCA). Consequently, the Convocation resolved on the following measures to move the National Dialogue Process forward:
- To hold the Second National Dialogue Conference in early 2020 to adopt and launch the Report of the County Dialogue Conferences and the National Dialogue Consensus Agreement and advocate for its signing by the stakeholders
- To hold a Multi Sectoral Forum in 2020 to expand scope of dialogue and representation
- To mobilize for the creation of a legal and legislative framework for the monitoring and implementation of the National Dialogue Consensus Agreement and process
- To prepare and issue comprehensive proposals on the Building Bridges Initiative Report with a view to enhancing and strengthening the national dialogue process
- To hold consultations with the government and key stakeholders to move national dialogue process forward
We conclude by calling upon all Kenyans to remember the words of 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
Let us always remember the lesson we learn from the question asked in Amos 3: 3 – “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” For us to move our nation forward, we must agree to have national dialogue.
May God bless Kenya now and always.
Signed on this 5th day of December 2019 at Ufungamano House, Nairobi:
Evangelical Alliance of Kenya
Bsp John Warari W
Hindu Council of Kenya
Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops
Most Rev Martin Kivuva Musonde
National Council of Churches of Kenya
Rev Canon Chris Kinyanjui Kamau
Organisation of African Instituted Churches
Rev Fr Joseph Mutie
Seventh Day Adventist Church
|Pr Paul Kithinji|
Shia Asna Ashri Jamaat
Dr Faridun S Abdalla
Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims
Abdalla M Kamwana