Kenya: More Civic Education Needed, Archbishop Okoth

Nairobi — His Grace Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth has raised concerns that majority of Kenyans have not benefited fully from the initiatives on civic and voter education ahead of the March 4 General Election.

"Despite the importance of civic education to enable Kenyans participate in the immediate events that are necessitated by the constitution like the General Elections, setting up of county and others, majority have not benefited from the initiatives on civic and voter education,"

In his speech which targeted voters the Archbishop said that civic education is a requirement in the context of the new constitution of Kenya to enable citizen participation at both national and county levels.

Archbishop Okoth, who speaking during the launch of Project on civic education and citizens participation in a peaceful electoral process a joint project between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission held at the Waumini House, Westland.

The archbishop revealed that the civic and voter education project will be implemented in the dioceses of Garissa, Kisumu, Lodwar, Malindi, Nakuru, Ngong and Eldoret to help sensitize the voters.

"The elections are now around the corner, the Church's concern is on how we can facilitate the people of Kenya to participate in the electoral process peacefully," noted Archbishop Okoth, Chairman of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission.

Speaking at the launch where the Independent Electoral and Boundaries and the Ministry of Justice and ,National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs were represented, Okoth suggested that stakeholders should pull together.

He advised stakeholders to focus more on issues related to leadership and integrity, devolved government system, new roles of voters and leaders, electoral offences, political parties act and citizens fora in the counties.

He further appealed for the exercise to be extended after the election, "The is need to explore the possibility of having more intensive civic education to ensure Kenyans engage and participate in setting up of county governments ,demand for service delivery and accountability from their leaders."

He added that such a move will ensure realization of the objectives of the constitution especially service delivery.

Speaking at the same event the German Ambassador to Kenya Her Excellency Margit Hellwig-Boette who represented Federal Republic of Germany noted that voting and civic education are closely linked.

"People must understand the new political system especially the devolved system of government. They should understand why they are voting for the governors and senators, "said the Boette.

She lauded the Catholic Church for the civic and voter education initiative saying that it has the capacity of reaching majority despite the remaining few days to the election. The ambassador also revealed that they have financed the initiative to the tune of 70 thousand euros equivalent to over eight million Kenyan shillings.

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