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Wholesome Youth for a Wholesome Society

Communique of The NCCK 64th General Assembly

Preamble

The 64th General Assembly of the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) has been held here at the Jumuia Conference and Country Home, Limuru between 23rd and 26th August, 2021, guided by the theme “Wholesome Youth for a Wholesome Society (1 Timothy 4:12)”, which reads;

Do not let anyone look down upon you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

Reflecting on this and other scriptures, this General Assembly has recognized the need to elevate the role of the youth from peripheral players to active and reliable leaders in the spiritual and socio-political realms of our society.

It is in this regard that the NCCK held the National Youth Conference on 22nd and 23rd August 2021 during which the NCCK Youth Fragility Survey Report and the NCCK Youth Engagement Policy and Framework were launched. The findings and recommendations in the two documents will guide the NCCK and her member churches and organisations in engagement with the youth over the next five years.

Further to this, the General Assembly has prayerfully reflected on issues of national concern, and wishes to share the following message with the people of Kenya.

1.         New Council Officials

This General Assembly is honoured to announce that in exercise of its statutory business, the following were elected as officials to hold office for the next 3 years:

Chairperson – Archbishop Timothy Ndambuki (Africa Brotherhood Church)

Vice Chairperson – Bishop Dr John Okinda (Pentecostal Evangelist Fellowship of Africa – PEFA)

2.         Prayers for Kenya

This General Assembly has taken time to pray for our nation, taking note that Kenyans have been hard pressed by a myriad of challenges that include Covid-19 pandemic, perpetually rising cost of living, incessant emotive political activity, and weakened physical and mental health. It is quite unfortunate that the attention and efforts of political leadership across the country has been on politics rather than on social-economic development aimed at enhancing the quality of life of the people. We nonetheless are encouraged, and do share with our fellow Kenyans the promise of God in Isaiah 43: 2

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned, the flames will not set you ablaze;

Our member churches will continue to pray for our nation, and will organize inter-denominational prayers at local levels when the situation allows. In the meantime, we urge all Kenyans to take time to pray and fast for our nation.

We support the government campaign on the Covid-19 vaccine program and urge Kenyans to come out and take the vaccine to protect the nation.

3.         Our Youth, Our Heritage

This General Assembly recognizes that our Youth are our heritage as a Nation, in whom the promise of continuity and future prosperity is premised. It is essential for all Kenyans to appreciate that the youth aged 35 years and below constitute 77% of the population. This youth bulge presents a great opportunity for our nation to advance should we develop effective and strategic approaches to build the nation. If we fail to strategize and engage the youth, the bulge will however turn into a tragedy, with a high probability of throwing the nation into the chaos.

Of great essence is that the youth be equipped with relevant training and skills, as well as mentorship opportunities, to enable them be involved in leadership and social-political life of the nation. Towards this, we counsel as follows:

  • Community Leadership Structures

We recognize that times have gone by when the youth are treated as passive recipients of the instructions of elders. The youth need to be engaged and involved in decision making processes, else the gap between the youth and community leaders will continue to widen. We advise community leaders to create space for the youth in their structures.

  • Government and State Agencies

We urge the Ministry of ICT and Youth Affairs to establish an inter-ministerial and multi-stakeholder committee to oversee the review and implementation of the National Youth Policy.

We also urge the government to ensure that the police works within the law to serve and protect the people of this nation.

  • Churches and other Faith Institutions

The member churches of NCCK are committed to the implementation of the NCCK Youth Engagement Policy and Framework, which includes expanding opportunities for the youth in our leadership structures.

4.         Readiness for the 2022 General Elections

This General Assembly has recalled that Kenya goes through tension, anxiety, crisis and violence every five years when we have elections. Indeed when we held our last Assembly the country was just emerging from the elongated post-election crisis following the dispute on the results of the presidential poll in the 2017 General Elections. We are now only one year before the next general elections, and we call upon Kenyans to do all in their power to prevent a repeat of the violence cycle.

Having reflected on the state of the nation, and the danger that is looming should appropriate and adequate measures not be taken, this General Assembly recommends the following to ensure peaceful, free, fair and credible General Elections 2022:

  1. That the President and Deputy President explore a path of reconciliation as an example to the nation that dialogue is the best route to peace and cohesive relations
  2. That the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission be properly constituted in the shortest time possible to facilitate adequate and timely preparations for the next General Elections
  3. That the IEBC facilitates public discussions on the findings and recommendations arising from the Post-Election Evaluation of the 2017 General Elections to ensure that the shortcomings that led to the annulment of the results of the presidential poll are not repeated
  4. That the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, together with security agencies, take just, equal and speedy action against any person who engages in hate speech or mobilizes for violence
  5. That the criminal justice system ensures that the persons who commit crimes during the Electoral period are punished regardless of their status in society
  6. That faith institutions and other non-state actors commits to undertake civic and voter education to prepare the people to responsibly participate in the elections
  7. That the General Elections are held as constitutionally scheduled on August 9, 2022. We call on all persons or institutions to cease and desist from blocking the General Elections.

5.         Amendment of the Constitution of Kenya

This General Assembly has taken note of the recent ruling by the Court of Appeal on the Constitution of Kenya Amendment Bill (2020). The Bill was developed through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) process arising from the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Rt Hon Raila Odinga in March 2018.

We continue to emphasize the centrality of dialogue in the nation, and urge all leaders to embrace all-inclusive processes to address the past challenges and develop viable solutions.

In the meantime, the NCCK calls upon all Kenyans and institutions to postpone proposals for amendment of the Constitution until after the 2022 General Elections. We do not consider it feasible for Kenyans to effectively engage in a constitutional Amendment before the 2022 General Elections.

6.         Vet Aspirants Early

This General Assembly recognizes that leaders assume a great responsibility over the people. We learn from the Bible that God specifically pointed out the qualifications that leaders should have. It is our considered position that the challenges facing Kenya largely arise from the quality of leaders we have been electing into office.

As we prepare for the 2022 General Elections, we advice all Kenyans to keenly vet the aspirants to determine who will best serve the position. The vetting can be done at church, community, and through thematic groups such as women, youth, men and economic activity associations. If Kenyans adopt this approach, we will together break the trend where aspirants whip up tribal emotions and use that to put voters in straight jackets.

In vetting aspirants, we recommend consideration of the following traits that we draw from Deuteronomy 17: 14 – 20:

  1. Be a Good Role Model
  2. Be devoted to leadership and good governance
  3. Be diligent in upholding the rule of law and constitutional principles
  4. Persevere the propaganda and attacks by those who would want to push selfish interests
  5. Be qualified for the positions in line with the qualifications set by the Constitution and relevant laws

7.         Ministering to Political Leaders and Aspirants

This General Assembly recognizes that faith institutions exist to provide spiritual nurture to all who seek the same, regardless of their status in society. No faith institution should discriminate against any category of the people in ministry.

However, we appreciate that in times of intense political activity leading up to the elections, political leaders and aspirants at all levels will seek to access and campaign to the congregations attending worship services. This could potentially lead to reduced ability to minister to the people should the faith institution be perceived to be aligned to an aspirant or political party.

To prevent this, we recommend the following Protocol for Ministering to Political Leaders and Aspirants for adoption by churches and other faith institutions:

  1. Participating in Worship Services
    • Faith institutions to welcome political leaders and aspirants to worship services so that they are ministered to
    • The worship service programme should flow as set and the political leader or aspirant to participate same as other worshippers
    • Faith institutions to endeavour to minister to aspirants from the different political persuasions, and to pray for each when they attend the service
    • Faith leaders to avoid anointing or commissioning any individuals to be aspirants or to declare any to be the God-ordained candidate
  • Speaking to the Congregation
    • No political leader or aspirant to be allowed to speak to the congregation from the pulpit
    • Political Leaders and Aspirants to be encouraged to speak to the congregants after the worship service
    • Clergy in charge to agree with the political leader or aspirant what they will speak about to the congregants to avoid foul language and incitement
    • Should a political leader or aspirant be allowed to speak during the worship service, they must be stopped from campaigning
  • Contributions and Offerings by Political Leaders and Aspirants
    • Faith institutions can receive contributions and offerings from political leaders and aspirants
    • The giving of such contributions should not be used as campaign forums or to access the pulpit for political messaging
  • Accountability Forums at faith premises
    • To the greatest extent possible, congregants will be organized to develop memorandums to present to political leaders and aspirants
    • The memorandums will be developed either as a whole congregation, or through the different groups such as men, women, and youth
    • The memorandums will indicate what the congregation expects of the person who will be elected Member of County Assembly, Member of National Assembly, Women Representative, Senator, Governor or President
    • The Clergy in Charge will present the memorandum on behalf of the congregation, or create a forum after the worship service where the different groups engage the aspirant who attend a worship service

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, call upon all Kenyans to pursue peace, while shunning divisive tendencies that lead to disharmony, discord and violence. We all have a collective responsibility to work for peace and unity, and this should be our guiding star in all matters.

We also ask all Kenyans to take time to pray and fast for the nation, always referring to the words of our National Anthem:

O God of all creation, bless this our land and nation, justice be our shield and defender; May we dwell in unity, peace and liberty, plenty be found within our borders

Signed on this 26th day of August, 2021 at Jumuia Conference and Country Home, Limuru.

Archbishop Timothy Ndambuki                               Rev Canon Chris Kinyanjui

Chairperson                                                                 General Secretary

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