Upper Eastern Regional Conference Press Statement
June 8, 2021
PREPARE WELL FOR ELECTIONS 2022
The Regional Conference of the NCCK Upper Eastern Region has convened here at Gitoro Conference and Training Center, Meru, from 6th to 8th June 2021 to transact statutory business and reflect on the state of the Region. The Regional Conference is the highest governance organ of NCCK at the Region, which comprises of Isiolo, Marsabit, Meru and Tharaka Nithi counties. The Regional Conference is guided by the theme “Wholesome Youth for a Wholesome Society (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.
The future of Kenya, especially in the context of the upcoming General Elections in 2022, will be shaped by the youth, who constitute 70 per cent of our population. It is therefore imperative that the nation lays adequate focus on the status and welfare of the youth. It is in this regard that we share the following message:
2. Secure Elections 2022
This Regional Conference is cognizant that the constitutionally scheduled General Elections are a mere 13 months away. However, there has been a neglect by responsibility holders to put in place the necessary structures to prepare the nation for the General Elections. It is a great concern to us that the challenges that emerged during the 2017 General Elections, which culminated in the nullification of the results of the presidential poll, have not been addressed. Even the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission does not appear ready to conduct the elections. This is a very risky position for the nation, and urgent interventions are required. We especially recommend the following:
- We call upon all the Members of Parliament to urgently and prudentially conclude processing and passing of the electoral reforms related Bills pending before them. These include:
- Political Party Primaries Bill
- Referendum Bill
- Campaign Finance (Amendment) Bill
- Representation of Special Interest Groups Bill
- Gender Parity Bill
- We urge the concerned bodies and stakeholders to ensure a speedy process of appointment of the Commissioners of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission
- We call upon the IEBC secretariat and commissioners to commence monthly updates to Kenyans on preparations made for the elections to ensure accountability of the process and avoid last minute rush and irregular procurement of materials and services
- We urge our brothers and sisters in the faith sector, and commit ourselves, to use our spiritual messages to promote cohesion and peaceful co-existence within our communities
- We urge the Peace Committees at county, constituency, ward and village levels to work with the churches and wider faith community to engage the youth to genuinely address their issues so that they do not have to depend on handouts from politicians who use them to cause violence
- We encourage the community and church structures to embrace and accord the youth equal opportunity to rise to leadership positions
- We call upon the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, the IEBC and other regulatory bodies to strictly enforce the law with regard to punishment of any persons who incite violence, engage in hate speech or hire gangs to cause violence
We reiterate that everything possible must be done to ensure that the General Elections will be held on August 9, 2022 as scheduled, and that the elections will be credible, peaceful, free and fair. No one should use any pretexts to attempt to change the date of the elections.
On our part, we commit to pray for peaceful and credible elections in August 2022.
3. The Building Bridges Initiative Process
This Regional Conference has noted that the proposed amendment of the Constitution of Kenya arising from the Building Bridges Initiative process is now going through a judicial process, awaiting determination by the Court of Appeal. Since the Constitution touches and controls the lives of all Kenyans, a process to amend it is crucial and all Kenyans must be given adequate time and understanding to effectively participate. For this reason, this Regional Conference calls upon the promoters of the BBI to postpone the process until after the 2022 General Elections. It is not feasible for our nation to hold a referendum and a General Election within one year. Priority should be given to the 2022 General Elections.
4. Address Land Demarcation In Our Counties
This Regional Conference is deeply concerned that nearly six decades after independence, land in all our counties has not been fully demarcated. This continues to foster conflict and violence within and between communities. The upcoming transitional elections are likely to worsen this situation.
We therefore call upon the national and county Ministries of Lands to prioritize the demarcation and issuance of title deeds to the genuine residents.
5. Qualification for Leaders and Aspirants
This Regional Committee recognizes that the society is established and held together by the laws the people set for themselves. It is therefore of great importance that those who make laws be those who are inspired by justice and rightness, not those who are motivated by selfishness and greed. As we prepare for the 2022 General Elections, we remind Kenyans of the warning in Isaiah 10: 1 – 2
Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from 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?
We advise all Kenyans to watch out for and vote for leaders who promote the aspirations we pray for in our National Anthem: Godliness, Justice, peace, unity, liberty, selfless service, and mutual prosperity. Let us reject those who hide behind ethnic propaganda to drive their selfish agenda. We must no longer allow people to use us to enrich themselves while condemning the people to poverty and despondency.
6. Message to Faith Leaders
This Regional Conference recognizes that actors during electoral campaigns seek to benefit from every place where people meet, including churches and other religious gatherings. We wish to remind church leaders and clergy the admonition that God put in Numbers 18: 1
The Lord said to Aaron, “You, your sons and your father’s family are to bear the responsibility for offenses against the sanctuary, and you and your sons alone are to bear the responsibility for offenses against the priesthood.
We encourage each of us to jealously guard the integrity and respect of our places of worship. We should not let anyone to stand in a place of worship to speak politics or engage in foul language. The places of worship must remain sanctuaries where all people, regardless of their status in the society, can come to meet with and worship God. Each sanctuary should be open to all candidates to seek spiritual nurture.
As a first step, let us avoid asking for donations from politicians or aspirants. When we do, they in turn ask for opportunities to use the sanctuaries to engage in political vitriol and divisive campaigns. God will hold us responsible if we allow this to happen.
Let us also use the places of worship to promote peace and prosperity of Kenya. Let us keep the sanctuaries holy and avoid taking sides in partisan politics or promoting divisive elections. Our impartial voice is needed to offer guidance to all the candidates without fear or favour.
In conclusion, we encourage all Kenyans to have the words recorded in Amos 5: 24 as the yardstick for engagement in electoral processes:
But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream
In the meantime, we encourage all the residents in our region and the entire nation to observe the Covid-19 control protocols so as to safeguard lives.
May God bless Kenya now and at all times.
Signed on this 8th day of June 2021 at Gitooro Conference and Training Center, Meru.
Rev Samuel Riungu Muratha
Chairperson, NCCK Upper Eastern Region