Respect Kenyans – Executive Committee Press Statement
July 30, 2021
The Executive Committee of the National Council of Churches of Kenya held a blended meeting on July 28 and 29, 2021 with some delegates present at Jumuia Conference and Country Home, Limuru, while others joined on a virtual platform. During our meeting, we took note of the dire warning and rebuke recorded in Isaiah 10: 1 – 3
Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issues oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice form the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless. What will you do on the day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar? To whom will you run for help? Where will you leave your riches?
- Stop Backdoor Constitutional Amendments
NCCK has been greatly appalled by the action of Parliament to initiate a process of amending the Constitution of Kenya. The NCCK, as well as other Kenyans, have consistently declared that amendment of the Constitution should be a people driven process. The eighth article of the Preamble of the Constitution states that “We the people of Kenya Adopt, Enact and give this Constitution to ourselves and to our future generations”. Since it is the people who gave themselves the Constitution, it is the people who should initiate and carry through the process of amending it. We call to mind that over the last few months, in response to the Constitution of Kenya Amendment Bill 2020 developed under the Building Bridges Initiative, all the religious leaders have advised that the process be postponed until after the 2022 General Elections.
It is therefore immoral, disrespectful and wrong for Parliament to initiate piecemeal Constitutional amendments. We reiterate that the Constitution touches and controls the lives of all Kenyans, and therefore all Kenyans must be accorded adequate time and understanding to participate effectively. As the courts have ruled in the past, amendment of the Constitution should be preceded by adequate Civic Education and public participation.
We call upon all Members of Parliament to stop the process they have started of amending the Constitution. Do not betray Kenyans. Do the right thing.
- Prepare the Electoral Management Body and Electoral Basics
NCCK has noted with dismay the sentiments of political actors who are calling for postponement of the 2022 General Elections. We wish to remind all Kenyans of the Constitutional provision in Article 3 (1): “Every person has an obligation to respect, uphold and defend this Constitution”. It is therefore unconstitutional for any person to imply that an excuse can be created to breach the electoral calendar defined in the Constitution.
We call upon the state and non state institutions that are responsible for elections to instead focus on making adequate preparations to deliver to Kenyans credible, peaceful, free and fair polls.
Of essence, we recommend the following:
- That the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission facilitates public discussion of the findings and recommendations arising from the Post Election Evaluation of the 2017 General Elections. The shortcomings of the previous elections should not be repeated.
- That a nationwide campaign for registration of voters be initiated to ensure the youth who have attained majority age are added to the roll
- That speedy and visible action be taken by the IEBC, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, and security agencies against any persons who mobilize for violence
- That faith institutions and other non state bodies be facilitated to undertake civic and voter education to prepare the people to actively and responsibly participate in the elections.
- That the process of appointing commissioners for the Kenya National Commission for Human Rights be completed urgently
- Message to the Youth
NCCK has noted with concern the reports by state agencies that youth in Kenya are already primed for violence in the elections, with a clear emergence of gangs and vigilante groups which are ready to be hired by politicians.
We therefore share the following message with the youth in our nation:
Our dear youth, we dedicate to you the word of God recorded in 1 Timothy 4: 12
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
We are now at the point where political leaders and aspirants are positioning themselves for the 2022 General Elections. As youth, do not be left behind. We counsel you to position yourselves as leaders in political parties, knowing that the party that embraces the youth in its leadership will have the greatest influence in the elections. Do realize that no politician is spending time thinking about you, they are strategizing for themselves.
Do not sit back waiting to be hired to support politicians, and do not allow people to use you then dump you. It is a great insult and disrespect on you when people hire you to cause violence against their opponents. You deserve better. Instead, prop up youthful leaders to stand for positions in the coming elections and vote for them.
Our Dear Youth, your future is in your hands, and this pre-election period is a golden opportunity to position yourselves. We are praying for you.
In conclusion, we recall the event that God has recorded for us in 1 Kings 12: 16
When all Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, they answered the king: What share do we have in David, what part in Jesse’s son? To your tents, O Israel! Look after your own house, O David!
We remind all those in leadership in any position that whenever you fail to listen to the people you lead, it leads to frustration and rebellion, and the citizens will eventually break away from you. We urge our national leaders to respect the wishes of Kenyans.
May God bless Kenya now and always.
Signed on this 29th day of July 2021 at Jumuia Conference and Country Home, Limuru.
Archbishop Timothy Ndambuki
Rev Canon Chris Kinyanjui