KENYA: Religious Leaders call for Urgent Political Solution to Electoral Commission Dispute

NAIROBI MAY 27, 2016 (CISA) — The religious leaders in Kenya have come together to urge for an urgent political solution to the dispute around the Electoral Commission ahead of the General Elections of 2017.

In a press statement read in part by Rt Rev Philip Anyolo, chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) and Reverend Canon Peter Karanja the General Secretary, National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) the religious leaders appealed to President Uhuru Kenyatta, “Whose mandate rises above party, ethnic and sectoral interests, to support structured discussions with the opposition in person and in addition help create a structure for engagement of other stakeholders”

“We urge the leadership of the ruling coalition Jubilee to genuinely reach out to CORD and soberly engage on the issues raised and build consensus on the management of the next election. We wish to remind Jubilee, CORD and other political parties that Kenyans will hold them accountable should the country slide back to anarchy because of unyielding competing political interests,” said the religious leaders.

The religious leaders representing the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), National Muslim Leaders Forum (NAMLEF), Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK), Organization of African Instituted Churches (OAIC), Hindu Council of Kenya (HCK), Seventh Day Adventist Church (SDA) and the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya (EAK) were addressing the press from St. Joseph Retreat Centre, Karen where they gathered to reflect on the state of the nation ahead of the 2017 General Elections.

“Having analyzed the situation keenly, we are concerned that the political grand standing exhibited by the two main political formations, especially the dispute around the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), is a threat to national peace, cohesion and unity of Kenyans,” the religious leaders said.

“We believe that an urgent political solution is required to avert an imminent crisis that could complicate next year’s election and plunge the country into election violence,” the leaders said.

While condoling with the families of those who died in the latest demonstrations by the Coalition of Reform and Democracy (CORD) to remove IEBC from office, the leaders called on “the political coalitions and their respective leadership to reconsider the current political grandstanding over the term of office of IEBC Commissioners and tone down their rhetoric for the common good of our nation.”

“We thank and appreciate the CORD leadership for calling of the weekly demonstrations. We further urge them to unconditionally call off the planned parallel Madaraka Day event… In the same breath, we appeal to the government to formally invite the CORD Principals to the National Madaraka Day event.”

The Coalition of Reforms for Democracy (CORD) has since May 9, been holding demonstrations every Monday in an attempt to remove the Electoral Commission from office.

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