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Catholic Church urges peace ahead of polls, decries early campaigns

Mombasa Catholic Archbishop Martin Kivuva says the church is disturbed by the early campaigns as the country heads to the August 8 elections.

The campaigns, he said, are sending dangerous signals.

Speaking at the Holy Ghost Cathedral, Archbishop Kivuva called on Christians to preach peace and tolerance ahead of the polls.

He warned about re-emergence of criminal gangs adding that they could be used by aspirants to cause chaos and violence.

“Security personnel must be cautious and prudent in dealing with these exploited youths. As we speak, there are notorious areas in Mombasa that are no-go zones. We are concerned that the gangs will cause chaos,” he said.

CRIMINAL GANGS

A national conflict prevention and response strategy dubbed as “Uwiano Platform for Peace” report ranked Mombasa as the county with the highest number of organised criminal groups in the country.

The report states that a total of 36 illegal groups are operating in the sub counties of Mvita, Nyali, Kisauni, Likoni and Changamwe most of whom are linked to local politicians.

Archbishop Kivuva urged Kenyans to elect leaders of integrity and avoid tribalism.

He regretted that many Kenyans had failed to exercise their democratic right to register as voters.

The archbishop condemned politicians who used the voter registration to launch their election campaigns.

LEAD BY EXAMPLE

“We must lead by example and curb threats, lies and games of the thousands of aspirants. Politicians, please do not re-ignite or incite Kenyans to violence. Kenya is much greater than your ambitions. We say no to voter bribery,” he said.

He urged religious leaders to preach peace during their sermons.

Muslims for Human Rights (Muhuri) executive director Hassan Abdille, Fr Gabriel Dolan of Haki Yetu and deputy governor Hazel Katana also urged Kenyans to embrace peace and shun violence.

“All aspirants should [preach] peace, we all want peace. We don’t want a repeat of the 2007-2008 (post-election violence). Let us pray for one another,” said the deputy governor, who is a Catholic faithful.

Mr Abdille urged Kenyans to cautiously look at the politician’s manifestos and development records before electing them.

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