Catholic Bishops warns of violence in the run-up to August 8th polls

Catholic Bishops warns of violence in the run-up to August 8th polls
  • The catholic bishops said there is a great potential possibility of to plunge our country back to violence and conflict as witnessed in post 2007/08 election skirmishes.
  • They held the country is already witnessing inciting statements from the political class that may lead to violence and confrontations.
  • Chairman of Kenya Editors Guild Linus Kaikai bashed churches for accepting politicians and playing host to politicians.

Skewed party primaries, fraudulent registration of voters, spread malice among political supporters and possible technological failures during elections have been cited by the Catholic Church as some of the potential reasons why the country may plunge into post-election violence after the August 8 polls.

Other causes include ethnic incitement, the polarisation of borders and failure by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to adhere to the strict election timelines set out in the new law may further lead to a political confirmation.

The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) said if not well checked the political stabilisation and democratisation process gained by Kenyans will be eroded.

READ MORE: Why Kenya may plunge into chaos similar to 2007/08

Speaking during a breakfast meeting with media practitioners at Hotel Intercontinental Nairobi yesterday, Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), Ecumenism Chairman Alfred Rotich said the country is already witnessing increased political tension and inciting statements from the political class that may lead to violence and confrontations.

“This year depending on how elections process is conducted there is a great potential possibility of to plunge our country back to violence and conflict as witnessed in post 2007/08 election skirmishes,” Rotich warned.

He lamented that provocative statements from politicians will lead to fierce battles among supporters of different political factions.

READ MORE: Keep off incitement, violence, peers tell MPs

“It is important to put in place efforts so that the past gains in regards to political stabilisation and democratisation is not eroded,” he noted.

The Bishop said it was unfortunate that Kenyans have forgotten what dogged the country in the run-up to the 2007 elections and its aftermath.

Rotich said his church has taken a lead in ensuring there will be peaceful elections by cautioning its clerics to avoid the inducement and being partisan.

He said bishops and priests have been told to use the church services to campaign for their preferred candidates or allowing politicians to use the church podiums to campaign or make donations.

READ MORE: We will bar politicians who spew hate messages from contesting in August polls-NCIC warns

“Bishops and priests have been advised not to campaign for any candidate or party. We are alert that there may be one or two priests who have engaged in political issues. We will train our priests,” Rotich reckoned.

He said politicians who are members of parishes should make their donations to the development committee “silently”.

“The church should not be used for campaigns. Politicians of whichever rank in society should not be allowed to campaign in a church.”

On his part, the Chairman of Kenya Editors Guild Linus Kaikai criticised churches for accepting and playing host to politicians.

“Churches have become very well organised political rallies, we get invites in the newsrooms that politician x or y will be a certain church. Should we film you praying or what are your intentions,” Kaikai asked.

“It is time as a church you kept off politics and politicians,” he noted.

During the event, the bishops announced that on February 25, 2017, they will launch a nationwide campaign dubbed “Lenten Campaigns” to call for peaceful and credible elections.  The peace campaign will run for 40 days and will end on Easter.

READ MORE: DP Ruto tells off Cord, says there won’t be violence after 2017 election

READ MORE: Kidero accuses political rivals for Dandora attack on journalists

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