KENYA: Insecurity is the Biggest Threat to Credible Elections, Religious Leaders Say

NAIROBI JULY 14, 2017(CISA)-Religious leaders from different faiths in Kenya have urged security agencies to enforce security coverage for all Kenyans noting that the strongest threat to credible, peaceful, free and fair elections is the compromise of peace and security.

Expressing worries at the rising number of violent attacks on citizens in different parts of the country such as the recent terror attacks in Lamu and bandit attacks in Baringo and Laikipia, the leaders urged the security agencies to firmly deal with the perpetrators of any breaches.

“We are convinced that these attacks, though masquerading as terrorism or banditry, may actually be orchestrated criminality aimed at displacing populations so that they don’t participate in the 2017 General Elections,” the religious leaders said in a press conference held in Nairobi on July 13.

They urged the National Cohesion and Integration Commission to clamp down on all individuals who are perpetrating hate speech and incitement to violence, “…even where it is sugar-coated in parables and similes.”

The religious leaders, meeting under the auspices of the Multi sectoral Forum to reflect on the status of the nation ahead of the August 8, General Elections noted that the primary factor that would cause conflict during and after the elections is the credibility and called upon stake holders to ensure credible elections.

The leaders urged the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to publish the voters register as required by the constitution and noted that the longer the commission takes before publishing the register the more the doubts are cast on its credibility.

They further called on the electoral body to test and ensure the integrity of the Kenya Integrated Elections Management System to assure Kenyans that history will not repeat itself.

“We are constantly reminded that the primary cause of discord after the 2007 General Elections was the delay in the announcement of the results of the presidential poll. The collapse of the results transmission system in 2013 was a crucial factor during the resultant petition,” they noted.

The religious leaders urged all Kenyans to resolve not to vote for any candidate who incite their followers into violence.

“Anyone seeking to offer elective leadership must be held to account to respect and uphold the rights of all Kenyans especially those who do not support them,”

The press statement was signed by Bishop Cornelius Korir, Chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, Rev. Peter Karanja of the National Council of Churches of Kenya, Bishop Dr. John Warari of the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya, Sheikh Ibrahim Lethome of the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims, Nitin Malde of the Hindu Council of Kenya, Pastor Festus Njagi of the Seventh Day Adventist and Rev. Joseph Mutie of the Organization of African Instituted Churches.

Also present at the meeting was Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth of the Catholic Archdiocese of Kisumu and Bishop Joseph Obanyi, Chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops Commission for Social Communications

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