Statement by the Programmes Committee on the State of the Nation
October 4, 2017
The NCCK General Secretary Rev. Canon Peter Karanja with members of the Programmes Committee during their meeting at Jumuia Conference and Country Home, Limuru
RESOLVE UNDERLYING ISSUES THAT AFFECT KENYANS
The Programme Committee of the National Council of Churches of Kenya has met here at Jumuia Conference and Country Home, Limuru, over the last two days to reflect on the state of our nation.
The Programme Committee took time to reflect on the scripture recorded in Nehemiah 1: 3 – “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates had been burned with fire”. We recognized that similarly Kenyans are troubled due to the seemingly endless political bickering. It is absolutely necessary that we as a nation rebuild the pillars of our society as are defined in the National Anthem: Fear of God, Justice, Unity, Peace, Liberty and Prosperity.
We now wish to share the following message.
B. State of the Nation
The National Council of Churches of Kenya expresses deep concern regarding the status of the nation. We note that since the Supreme Court ruling, the political class has put the country on an edge by their constant grandstanding over issues that would otherwise be resolved through genuine engagement. The result has been violent demonstrations in which one death has already been reported, and there are indications of mobilization of gangs for violence in different parts of the country. The economy is on a downward spiral, and the health sector continues to be bedeviled by industrial action by nurses and medical staff. This state of affairs must not be allowed to fester any longer, and we recommend the following measures:
C. Drop Hardline Positions and Facilitate Fresh Presidential Elections
This Programme Committee calls upon the top leadership of Jubilee Party and the National Super Alliance (NASA) to drop their hardline positions regarding the management of the Fresh Presidential Elections and seek what is best for the people of Kenya. Failure to hold the Fresh Presidential Elections within the timelines set by the Constitution in line with the Supreme Court ruling, will take this country into a scenario fraught with danger and uncertainty. It will be greatly irresponsible for NASA and Jubilee to push Kenya to that scenario which is tragic for the country whatever benefit any political actors may get from it.
It is in this regard that we urge both NASA and Jubilee to reconsider and drop all the conditions they have put forth before the Fresh Presidential Elections are held. We have reviewed these conditions and found that most of them are not a matter of life and death. An uncertain future and exposure of the nation’s underbelly is more grievous than them.
D. Preparedness for the Fresh Presidential Elections
This Programme Committee appreciates that the focus of the IEBC and political parties should be on preparedness for the Fresh Presidential Elections to be held on 26th October 2017. We in this regard urge the IEBC to intensify its public communications so as to build trust by explaining to Kenyans the details of the arrangements being made for the elections. Of great importance is the need to show what the Commission will do differently so as to mitigate the shortcomings of the 8th August 2017 elections that were identified by the Supreme Court and which led to the nullification of the presidential election.
We urge all political formations to desist from adversorially engaging the IEBC in sideshows that undermine its credibility and capacity to prepare for the elections.
E. Use of Elections to Solve Deep Seated Pains
The virtual paralysis of all sectors of social and economic life in Kenya over the last two months is a stark reminder of the importance of a prudent management of the national and presidential elections value chain which has perpetually been a dangerous national fault line. Our analysis suggests that Kenyan politicians and communities try to use the elections to resolve deep seated mistrust, pains, bitterness and unresolved relational baggage that can never be resolved by an election. The current disproportionate anxiety of Kenyans has been fueled by hardline political positions held by both NASA and Jubilee party, moreso because of these underlying contradictions than because of genuinely material obstacles to the fresh presidential election.
Rev. Canon Karanja is flanked by members of the Programmes Committee during a press briefing in Limuru
F. Perception of Exclusivity
The life and death stakes at our elections in the new constitutional dispensation is exacerbated by the unfortunate “winner takes all” presidential system and “loser loses everything” fate that befalls those who lose in the presidential and gubernatorial elections.
Since ethnic communities have homogenously invested everything in their political formations, when they lose, they are unable to accept the outcomes and live with the new situation. In the meantime, the subtle ridicule of the leaders by the winners deflate their sense of dignity and community esteem hardening ethnic divisions.
NCCK considers that to resolve our underlying toxic relations, the leading politicians and political elite will need to face this underlying reality and address it in order to normalize relations and release our nation to both pursue cohesion and integration as well as realise its socio-economic potential.
In this regard, we propose that NASA and Jubilee Party commit to deal firmly with the underlying frustrations by facilitating a bipartisan parliamentary constitutional amendment soon after the elections of 26th October 2017, to:
(i) Expand the Executive of government by creating new positions to enable greater inclusivity and create wider ownership of government by Kenyan communities
(ii) Make provision for a dignified national opposition with facilitation and funding to be able to play its role of checking government in Parliament and outside and promoting national integration and development
(iii) Consideration should be create to make a similar provision within counties where the rampant abuse of power, pilferage of resources and outright theft is denying Kenyans the full benefit of the tax payers’ resources devolved to the units for delivery of services
The amendment should be implemented once it is passed and assented to. We appeal to Kenyans to look beyond the current house keeping contests which are draining all our energies and ask our leaders for such solutions that will restore our nationhood, dignity and pride as one united and cohesive nation.
G. Message to Kenyans
This Programme Committee urges all Kenyans to objectively engage in the electoral process in a peaceful manner. The last two months have already shown that political disputes cause great suffering to individual Kenyans who are not responsible for the management of elections.
It is important that you endeavor to exercise your democratic right to participate in the Fresh Presidential Elections and vote for the candidate of your choice. We however urge you to do so peacefully while respecting the rights of other Kenyans who may hold opinions different from yours to express and pursue their political conviction.
In addition, we urge our brother and sister faith leaders to mobilize prayer within their structures for peace and stability of our nation.
We conclude by calling on all Kenyans to continue praying for our nation and commit to nurture peace and strengthening of our institutions. Let us especially pray that the political formations will drop their hardline positions and engage the electoral process with a mind of achieving what is best for the nation, not just for themselves as individuals.
May God bless Kenya now and forever more.
Signed on this 4th day of October 2017 at Jumuia Conference and Country Home, Limuru.
Archbishop Mophat Kilioba
Chairperson, Programmes Committee
Rev Canon Peter Karanja