TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE (John 8:32)
We, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, meeting in Nairobi, wish to address all Kenyans and all people of goodwill in regard to the recent elections. We do note with appreciation the manner in which Kenyans turned out in large numbers to vote peacefully and exercise their constitutional responsibility and right. Thank you Kenyans for this sense of patriotism and love for our Nation.
When we launched our Lenten Campaign in February this year, we called upon all Kenyans not only to pray for peaceful national elections we made an appeal to actively engage in the whole electoral process with particular attention to its credibilty and the quality of the candidates offering themselves to be elected. We stated clearly that we wanted men and women of integrity to rule this Country. We are grateful to God for the peaceful manner we all voted as Kenyans and we are full of hope that even the present situation we are in as a result of the disputed Presidental votes will be determined and concluded peacefully.
After voting peacefully and hoping for the completion of the electoral process, we started hearing allegations of hacking of the IEBC computers and the interference with regard to the Presidential votes. The protests and the violence experienced in some parts of the Country were very sad and painful. It reminded us of the post election violence of 2007/2008 that we, as a Nation, had vowed never again to experience.
We were, therefore, concerned, when, within a very short time after the recent declaration of the Presidential results, a section of Kenyans who were dissatisfied protested and were confronted brutally by the same security agencies that are meant to protect them. This led to painful loss of life, the barricading of roads and the destruction of property. This is a wake up call for all us, including our political leaders, to tread carefully and put the love of this Country above all other considerations. To all those who have lost their loved ones we want to assure you that we are grieving together and are with you in our prayers.
Dear Kenyans, to lose even one life because of elections is abominable. To injure and maim anybody is unacceptable. This must never be allowed in any civilized society like Kenya. It is imperative upon all State Agents of security and indeed all peace loving Kenyans, to exercise civility and restraint in responding to disputes and protests. We note with concern the discordant claims from the same State Agents and Commissions on one hand, reporting of several deaths, and on the other hand, denying any deaths. This is disturbing and confusing. Kenyans want the truth of exactly what happened.
Concerning the recent contested Presidential election results, our stand as your shepherds has been very clear: all the aggrieved parties should use the legal means as provided for in the Constitution to seek redress. Thus we applaud the decision by the opposition NASA Coalition to take their case to the Supreme Court for legal determination. It is only by respecting and having recourse to the established Constitutional institutions that we, as Kenyans, are able to enhance and strengthen the rule of law and the democratic process in our Country.
Let the Judiciary be given time to handle and determine the case for the greater good of all Kenyans. Similarly we call upon the Judiciary and other Constitutional institutions to jealously protect their independence and discharge their mandate justly, in a fair and impartial manner; to act without any favour, and not to give in to any form of coercion or intimidation. This is the only way these institutions will earn the trust and confidence of all Kenyans. In the meantime, it is incumbent upon all Kenyans, and especially politicians to exercise utmost charity and restraint in word and action, to think of this country and avoid any reckless utterance or behaviour that creates tension and division along tribal and party lines.
As Catholic Bishops, we are convinced that Kenya needs to pay attention to the post-election issues that are simmering underneath. We should have a deliberate agenda of post-election audit, review and reforms to be undertaken by all stakeholders. It is, therefore, important to understand that what is happening at every election time is pointing to underlying issues that affect many Kenyans. It is important for us to face boldly the unresolved issues of National healing, cohesion, reconciliation, inclusivity, corruption, poverty, unemployment and negative ethnicity.
In particular we need to evaluate the way we have been conducting our elections since the outcome and results have always been contested bitterly. It seems to us that there are too many loopholes that need to be sealed. As a country we need to seek for an electoral process that works for us, that respects and integrates the uniqueness and the diversity we have as Kenyans. The ugly divisions that we witness every election year, the tribal voting pattern that emerges, the hatred that is triggered by the winners and losers syndrome, and the win-it-all mentality that characterizes Kenyan politics are pointers to an electoral system that needs to be reviewed. These are issues that would require a united effort and to be looked at with sobriety. In this case we call for a national dialogue and a deeper reconciliation process among all Kenyans, so that we may heal our nation, and forge ahead together to build a united, prosperous Kenya, where the dignity of each person is respected and all have equal opportunities to enjoy the wealth of this Nation.
As we await the determination of the disputed Presidential elections by the Supreme Court, we call upon our Government leaders, beginning with the President to take the lead in uniting the country. We urge all political leaders to uphold the rule of law and respect constitutional institutions, Commissions and independent offices. We urge all Kenyans to avoid anything that incites others to violent protests.
Fellow Kenyans, let us have hope for our country, let us build confidence in our institutions and allow them to discharge their mandate in accordance with the constitution. We commend this country to prayer for peace, justice and prosperity. God bless you all. God bless Kenya.
Signed Date 17th August 2017
Rt. Rev. Philip Anyolo
Chairman Kenya conference of Catholic Bishops/Bishop of Homa Bay
Rt. Rev. John Oballa Owaa Vice Chairman (KCCB)/Ngong
His Eminence John Cardinal Njue Nairobi
Most Rev. Zacchaeus Okoth Kisumu
Most Rev. Martin Kivuva Musonde Mombasa
Most Rev. Anthony Muheria Nyeri
Apostolic Administrator, Kitui
Apostolic Administrator, Machakos
Rt. Rev. Cornelius Arap Korir Eldoret
Rt. Rev. Joseph Mairura Okemwa Kisii
Rt. Rev. Alfred Rotich KCCB
Rt. Rev. Maurice Crowley Kitale
Rt. Rev. Norman Wambua King’oo Bungoma
Rt. Rev. Peter Kihara, IMC Marsabit
Rt. Rev. David Kamau Ng’ang’a Aux. Bishop Nairobi
Rt. Rev. Anthony Ireri Mukobo, IMC Isiolo Vicariate
Rt. Rev. Virgilio Pante Maralal
Rt. Rev. Salesius Mugambi Meru
Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Okombo Kericho
Rt. Rev. Anthony Muheria Kitui
Rt. Rev. James Maria Wainaina Muranga
Rt. Rev. Paul Kariuki Njiru Embu
Rt. Rev. Maurice Muhatia Makumba Nakuru
Rt. Rev. Dominic Kimengich Lodwar
Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Barbara Malindi
Rt. Rev. Joseph Mbatia Nyahururu
Rt. Rev. Joseph Obanyi Sagwe Kakamega
Rt. Rev. Joseph Alessandro Garissa
Very Rev. Fr. Benjamin K. Maswili Apostolic Administrator