LET JUSTICE AND PEACE PREVAIL
The Executive Committee of the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) has met here at Jumuia Conference and Country Home, Limuru, for a two-day extra ordinary meeting. The meeting reviewed the just concluded General Elections and the unfolding events following the declaration of the presidential results by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on 11th August 2017.
We were encouraged and challenged by the word of God recorded in Isaiah 2: 3 – 4
Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us His ways, so that we may walk in His paths. The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war any more.
Appreciating this promise of peace that comes when God settles disputes between people, we wish to share the following message with the nation.
a) Message of Condolence to Families of Victims of Police Brutality
This Executive Committee sends our deepest condolences to the families and friends of Kenyans who lost their lives during the events that unfolded following the declaration of the Presidential Poll results. We are especially saddened by the demise of Stephanie Moraa and baby Samantha Pendo. We pray that God will console all the bereaved families and grant them peace, knowing that they have been left with deep-seated wounds that will forever remind them of the trauma occasioned by disputes around presidential election contests.
We also pray that God will grant quick and full recovery to all citizens who were injured during the skirmishes.
To prevent such brutality and pain in future, we urge political leaders to unequivocally commit to follow the law, firmly advice their supporters to respect life and property, and be peaceful when they demonstrate so as to mitigate against confrontations with law enforcers. We also urge the security agencies to use non-lethal means during crowd control operations. There is no justification for use of live bullets and excessive force when controlling crowds.
On its part, we urge the government to show compassion to the families of the victims and provide them with financial and material support as they come to terms with their losses.
Recognizing the impact that these deaths and injuries have had on Kenyans, this Executive Committee calls upon the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) to speedily and thoroughly complete the investigations and bring to book any members of the police service who are found culpable.
In the meantime, we call upon the security agencies to intensify the execution of their mandate so as to assure all Kenyans of the safety of their lives and property. There is growing concern regarding the continued attacks on civilians by terrorists at Lamu.
b) Commending Kenyans for Commitment to Democracy
This Executive Committee commends all Kenyans for enthusiastically and peacefully turning up in large numbers to exercise their democratic right during the just concluded General Elections. The fact that many of them withstood many challenges including queuing for long hours is a testimony that Kenyans believe in electoral processes as a way of endorsing leadership. We laud this undying spirit and the uncompromising nature of Kenya’s citizenry and encourage all to remain steadfast in safeguarding this civic right.
c) Petition on the Presidential Result
This Executive Committee recalls that prior to the elections, we urged all Kenyans to vote peacefully and address any disputes through the Courts of Law. We therefore commend the National Super Alliance (NASA) for the decision to file a petition against the outcome of the presidential vote in the Supreme Court.
We call upon all Kenyans to carry on with their lives as they await the outcome of the Supreme Court process. Let all the people prepare to be guided by the judgement of the Supreme Court as regards the next course of action so that the 2017 elections are brought to a closure.
In the meantime, we urge President Uhuru Kenyatta and Rt Hon Raila Odinga to diffuse tensions in the country and manage the expectations of their supporters.
d) Let New County Governors Serve Kenyans
This Executive Committee commends all those who were elected to serve as Governors of the 47 counties. We remind them that the previous term was marked by massive corruption and dismal performance, and advise them not to carry this trend into the next term. The devolved units of governance were meant to bring services closer to the common person as a way of addressing socio-economic challenges, and thus Governors have a cardinal responsibility to device strategies that reduce wastage of public resources, promote public participation and enhance service delivery.
Further, both national and county governments need to adhere with the constitutional provisions that require inclusivity of women, youth and persons with disabilities.
On their part, we urge all the people to actively engage in the governance processes by holding the governance organs at both national and county levels to account.
e) Respect Civic Space
This Executive Committee condemns in the strongest terms possible the recent attacks on civil societies by the NGO Coordinating Board.
Kenyans have fought and sacrificed their blood for many years to gain the democratic and civic space they enjoy today, and the government has a moral obligation not only to protect that space but also create a conducive environment for the operations of civil society. We call upon the government to gazette and operationalize the Public Benefit Organisations Act and forthwith cease intrusion on the operations of civil societies.
f) National Cohesion and Integration
This Executive Committee observes that the conflict and destruction that has occurred repeatedly around elections is usually an expression of grievances and suspicions that remain latent in normal life. We urge that whoever forms the next government prioritizes the breaking of the walls that divide communities and reverse the toxic narratives that create conflict.
We also urge that mechanisms be explored for the realization of substantive inclusivity in both national and county governments in order to enhance justice and national dignity.
We conclude by affirming our commitment to building a better Kenya through continued strategic engagement with stakeholders to address the challenges that afflict our nation. We therefore urge all Kenyans to maintain peace and constantly follow the tenets of justice, unity, peace and liberty just as we pray for through our National Anthem:
O God of all creation, bless this our land and nation; Justice be our shield and defender
May we dwell in unity, peace and liberty; Plenty be found within our borders
May God bless Kenya with peace, joy and prosperity at all times.
Signed on this 18th day of August 2017 at Jumuia Conference and Country Home, Limuru
Rev Canon Rosemary Mbogo
Rev Canon Peter Karanja