2022 elections must be held as scheduled, NCCK says
The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) has warned against any attempt to postpone the General Election slated for August 9, 2022.
NCCK’s upper eastern region leaders have also raised concern over what they say is lack of preparedness for the General Election that is 13 months away.
The clergy from Tharaka Nithi, Meru, Isiolo and Marsabit said all efforts should be made to ensure the elections are credible, peaceful, free and fair.
“Everything must be done to ensure that the general election is held on August 9, 2022 as scheduled. No one should use any pretexts to attempt to change the date of the elections,” said Rev Samuel Riungu, NCCK upper eastern region chairperson.
The remarks by the clergy come following reports that proponents of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) were keen on having a referendum before the next general election.
He spoke on Tuesday after a three-day regional conference at Gitoro Conference Centre in Meru town.
Rev Riungu expressed concern that challenges that led to the nullification of 2017 presidential poll are yet to be addressed, while the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is not fully constituted.
“This regional conference is cognisant that the constitutionally scheduled general election is 13 months away. However, there has been neglect by [those responsible] to put in place the necessary structures to prepare the nation for the general election,” he said.
The religious leaders also put Parliament on the spot for delaying in passing bills related to electoral reforms, including the Political Party Primaries Bill, Referendum Bill, Campaign Finance (Amendment) Bill, Representation of Special Interest Groups Bill and Gender Parity Bill.
NCCK also wants the IEBC to speed up the appointment of commissioners in time to prepare for the elections.
“We call on the IEBC secretariat and commissioners to commence monthly updates to Kenyans on preparations made for the elections to ensure accountability of the process and avoid last minute rush and irregular procurement of materials and services,” the NCCK regional chairperson said.
They also want the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, the IEBC and other regulatory bodies to strictly enforce the law against those who incite violence, engage in hate speech or hire gangs to cause violence.
On the BBI, Rev Riungu reiterated NCCK’s position that the process be postponed until after the 2022 General Elections.
“Since the Constitution touches and controls the lives of all Kenyans, a process to amend it is crucial and all Kenyans must be given adequate time and understanding to participate effectively,” he said.
The upper eastern church leaders also called for active involvement of the youth in development to protect them from abuse by politicians during the campaigns.