The Star (Nairobi)

10 November 2012

Kenya: Bishops Want Assurance On Election Date

CATHOLICS bishops have expressed concern over the confusion on the voter registration. They urged the government to re-assure Kenyans that the March 4 election date will not be changed.

Addressing the press at the Saint Patrick's Pastoral Centre, Kabula in Bungoma County, the head of the Catholic Church in Kenya John Cardinal Njue led 27 Bishops in demanding for an assurance from the government that the elections will not be postponed under any pretext.

The Bishops said that even though the Biometric Voter Registration {BVR} kits have finally been delivered in the country, a clear date for the exercise of voter registration should be set in order to give Kenyans ample time to register and participate in the elections.

Cardinal Njue also expressed fears that the second liberation of this country which the church fought for bravely risks being defeated unless the constitutional chapter on integrity and leadership is followed and implemented to the latter.

"In particular, we make a strong appeal to all Kenyans to examine and assess all candidates seeking elective positions in the next general elections because we can not expect good leadership from persons who have already compromised their integrity," said Cardinal Njue.

The church leaders also said that they are perplexed and dismayed by the rising insecurity and terrorist attacks especially targeted at innocent Christians in their places of worship.

Expressing fears that the attacks are scaring faithful from congregating to worship God, the Bishops also took issue with the constant assurances from the police department promising investigations into the attacks, investigations that they complained haven't borne any fruits.

They said that there's an influx of guns and other dangerous weapons into the country while on the other hand, there seems to be some reluctance and lack of vigilance among the country's security personnel, a situation that they said had allowed criminal elements to operate freely in the country.

The bishops at the same time advised the government to expeditiously address the go-slow strike by police officers saying that it's a dangerous trend to be ignored.

They however warned that different cadres of the civil service going on strike to demand for pay hikes and better working conditions may in the long run hurt poor Kenyans since the awards might force the government to raise taxes on all basic commodities.

Cardinal Njue who is also the Chairman of the Kenya Episcopal Conference cautioned Kenyans to be wary of emerging political alliances being formed by politicians ahead of the next general elections saying that majority of the alliances are being mooted along tribal lines.

"While bringing people together is good, we are also urging our leaders to stop forming groups which will isolate particular communities from the rest of the country as this might bring about tribal animosity and hatred among Kenyans," said Njue.

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