Change law to create inclusive government, churches say

Protestant churches have called for a change in law to create more positions at the executive arm of government.

The group, under the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), on Tuesday said creation of additional cabinet posts would help address ethnic tensions and divisions witnessed in the country during elections.

According to the clergy, the current arrangement in law that allows the winner to take it all while the loser gets nothing, could polarise the country further.

NCCK secretary general Peter Karanja, while speaking to journalists a few hours after Nasa leader Raila Odinga vowed to intensify street protests to push for removal of officials of the electoral commission, said the changes should be done through a bi-partisan parliamentary committee comprising Jubilee and Nasa coalitions.

CONSTITUTION

Currently, the Constitution allows a maximum of 22 cabinet secretary positions. An amendment to change the number can, however, be done through an Act of Parliament.

“To resolve our underlying toxic relations, the leading politicians and political elite will need to face this underlying reality and address it in order to normalise relations and release our nation to both pursue cohesion and integration,” said Canon Karanja.

Speaking at Jumuia conference and country home in Limuru, the clergy also proposed the facilitation and funding of the opposition, both at the county and national government levels, to help in oversight.

The church further asked Jubilee and Nasa coalitions to drop hard-line positions on management of the fresh presidential elections to avert a constitutional crisis.

COMPROMISE

They said the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) should give regular updates on the progress of the fresh presidential elections, to ease tensions.

Already, Jubilee and Nasa coalitions are pushing for respective changes ahead of the polls, even as envoys and poll observers call for compromise to facilitate the poll.

Nasa has been agitating for the sacking of IEBC officials who bungled the August polls even as Jubilee, using its numerical strength in Parliament, is seeking to change electoral laws, reportedly to seal grey areas in the current law.

“We have reviewed these conditions and found that most of them are not a matter of life and death. An uncertain future and exposure of the nation’s underbelly is more grievous,” said Canon Karanja.

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