Bishops remind Kenyans of their civic responsibilities for peaceful and just elections.
In less than a week, Kenyans will elect a new republican president and 47 governors to head the executive at national and county levels, respectively. Also vying for office are members of the legislature, namely, 47 senators, 290 members of Parliament and 1 450 members of county assemblies. Voting is scheduled for 9 August.
Elections cannot be a do-or-die contest
Kenya’s Bishops, concerned about the possible outbreak of post-electoral violence, hope and pray that political parties and candidates, especially at the presidential level, will play their part in calming supporters, particularly when they lose the election. Kenya has had a history of post-election violence.
“Dear Kenyans, the election contest cannot be a do-or-die. We know it is not possible for all the candidates to emerge winners. For every elective seat, there will be only one winner. We have learned from the past how those who emerge victorious quickly develop a condescending attitude towards unsuccessful candidates. We urge modesty and respect from those who emerge winners. Please do so with some humility. As our Kenyan athletes have taught us, any worthy winner will first congratulate a worthy unsuccessful competitor. Those who lose should equally concede graciously without causing chaos. Unmeasured celebrations or mayhem do not advance the democratic space we are enjoying,” said the Chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde. He is the Ordinary of the Archdiocese of Mombasa.
Do not give in to voter apathy
Archbishop Kivuva reiterated the recent call of Kenyan Bishops urging eligible voters to freely exercise their civic duty and vote for candidates of their choice.
“We recognise our common aspirations as Kenyans who are here to create the best environment for the development for ourselves. With our vote, we have a say on who takes charge of our development agenda right from the Ward all the way to the National level. To vote is to develop our country. Not only are we encouraging each eligible voter to go out to vote, but also to vote wisely for those who best embrace our aspirations in the most practical way. The risk we warn everyone against is feeling helpless or losing interest in voting for many reasons. Not going to vote gives room for less qualified candidates,” said the Mombasa prelate.
IEBC should guard the integrity of the vote
Archbishop Kivuva also appealed to the electoral body, the IEBC, to do whatever is in its powers to address legitimate concerns that threaten the integrity of the electoral process meant to deliver the will of Kenyans at the ballot.