KENYA: Religious Leaders warn Politicians not to Plunge Country into Chaos

NAIROBI AUGUST 4, 2017 (CISA) – Religious leaders, under the Multi-Sectoral Forum have urged politicians to respect the decision of voters and not resort to protests in next week’s general elections.

The religious leaders were speaking August 3, following a meeting at ACK Guest House in Nairobi, where they delivered what they termed “a final message to Kenyans before the elections”.

“They need to publicly commit to accept the election results announced by the IEBC or to file petitions in court if they are not satisfied with what is announced. They have no right to incite supporters to engage in demonstrations or violence against other Kenyans should the results not be in their favour,” the leaders said in a joint statement. 

The religious leaders claimed that they have information from observers that some politicians have organised gangs of youths to engage in violence and pretend that it was spontaneous. The clerics termed the alleged scheme ‘a grievous and evil political strategy’.

“This is the information we are getting from our election observation structures and we believe that the National Intelligence Service and other security agents should have this information so that they can stop those who may wish to employ this for their political capital,” said the Secretary General of the National Council of Churches of Kenya, Canon Peter Karanja.

The leaders urged security agents to be firm against political actors organising criminal gangs and avoid being intimidated by politicians.

“The security agents must conduct themselves within the law, and serve all parties without bias, but they must also be firm and refuse to be intimidated. Beyond engaging in riot control measures, they must ensure the sponsors of illegal groups are arrested and prosecuted to prevent bloodshed,” said Bishop Mark Kariuki of the Evangelical Churches of Kenya.

While expressing satisfaction with the way the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has so far managed the elections, they warned presiding and returning officers against being compromised and to ensure that the integrity of the election is upheld.

“They must constantly communicate with Kenyans so that there is no space for speculation and propaganda in the minds of Kenyans,” said Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC) Chair Bishop Cornelius Kenya Korir.

The leaders further urged the presidential front-runners; the Jubilee Party’s Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga of the National Super Alliance (NASA) – who are supposed to wind up their campaigns on August 5, to end their vote-hunting mission by assuring Kenyans that they will stand for peace throughout the process.

The religious leaders called on the winners to form an inclusive government to help attain national cohesion and integration.

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