KENYA: Council of Churches Condemns Bribery Influence on BBI Vote

By Njoki Githinji

NAIROBI, FEBRUARY 19, 2021 (CISA)-The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) has warned against bribery of citizens in a bid to influence their decision on the proposed Constitution of Kenya Amendment Bill 2020, popularly known as the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Bill.

“This is a crucial process in which all Kenyans should participate. The amendments to the constitution will touch the lives of all Kenyans. Of importance is that we must all maintain peace before, during and after the referendum… We also call for a stoppage of the trend of bribery of Members of County Assemblies and the general public to vote one way or the other during the referendum. This offends the principle of free choice as a tenet of democracy. We all must end this culture of handouts to influence decisions,” the council said.

In a February 18 statement signed by Archbishop Timothy Ndambuki, Chairman and Rev. Canon Chris Kinyanjui, General Secretary of NCCK the council encouraged Kenyans to participate in civic education to understand the bill and make an informed choice during the referendum.

“We therefore urge all Kenyans to attend civic education events, and to read and understand the Bill so as to make an informed decision during the anticipated referendum… of importance is that we must all maintain peace before, during and after the referendum. No Kenyan should suffer or die because of the referendum,” the council said.

The council noted with concern how the country gets caught unprepared when environmental emergencies occur especially floods and droughts.

It urged citizens and the government, to make adequate preparations before the emergencies happen so that lives and livelihoods are protected.

“Current reports from the Meteorological Department indicate that heavy rains are expected in the medium term period, and therefore this is the time to clean up drainages, repair roads, and check flood-prone areas to ensure the extra rain does not lead to floods. We further urge the government to mitigate the impact of the flooding of lakes in the Rift Valley that has displaced many people,” the council said.

The council also urged faith leaders to set a good example to the faithful entrusted to them and not allow politicking and foul language in places of worship in exchange for donations.

“…We have a responsibility to maintain the sanctity of our sanctuaries. We therefore should not allow any persons to engage in foul language and politicking in places of worship. Of note, we urge all religious leaders to resist the temptation to ask for donations from politicians and aspirants in exchange for allowing the sanctuaries to be platforms for political vitriol and campaigns,” the council said.