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Church leaders urge politicians to heal divisions

Church leaders pleaded with rival political factions to close ranks to heal the divisions in the country caused by the disputed presidential vote.

The clergy in sermons in various churches also urged security forces to exercise restraint while quelling protests to avoid loss of lives.

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Anglican Archbishop Jackson ole Sapit and Provost Sammy Wainaina urged National Super Alliance (NASA) presidential candidate Raila Odinga to commit to pursue the election dispute in the Supreme Court.

ACCEPT VERDICT

Speaking after a church service at the All Saints Cathedral, Archbishop Sapit asked the politicians who had lost to accept the verdict of the people and let the country move on.

“Elections are over and declarations made. Politicians who lost together with opposition leader Raila Odinga should come out and tell Kenyans to move on and the grievances encountered taken to court as expected,” said Sapit.

He asked the security agencies to refrain from handling protesters with force, adding that it was not necessary to lose any lives.

“We acknowledge that security agencies have been calm through the elections and we continue urging them to contain protesters humanely. Let none of us inflict pain or injury or cause death unnecessarily,” said the cleric.

PROVIDING COUNSELLING

Sapit also promised to work with both the election winners and losers, saying the church would join them in their journey by praying for them, encouraging them, and providing counselling.

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The presiding bishop of the Methodist Church in Kenya, Joseph Ntombura, also appealed to the Opposition to concede defeat ‘for the sake of peace’.

Bishop Ntombura said since the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had pronounced President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, the winners, the Opposition should respect the verdict.

“We commend and are proud of the IEBC for a job well done. They did a good job of delivering a transparent, fair, and credible elections from the beginning to the end of the exercise,” said Ntombura during a service at the MCK Charuru in Tigania East.

Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) Secretary General Reverend Peter Kania urged leaders to lead in preaching unity.

Speaking in Nakuru during the launch of the PCEA Lanet Rehabilitation Centre, Reverend Kania urged Kenyans not to be used by a section of leaders whom he said were not content with the poll results to cause chaos.

“I urge leaders to advise their supporters to remain calm. Kenyans should also note that it is true leaders who die for their subjects, not the reverse,” he said.

He defended the police against accusations that they were using excessive force on protesters in various parts of Nairobi and Kisumu, saying those who were shot were not acting in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

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The Evangelical Alliance of Kenya (EAK) has also called for calm.

Bishop Mark Kariuki, while addressing the press in Nairobi, said security agencies carried themselves professionally before and during the electoral process.

Bishop Kariuki, however, expressed concern about what he described as brutality witnessed in some parts of the country, which he termed ‘unacceptable’.

“No Kenyan should die because of exercising their democratic right to vote,” said Kariuki.

David Oginde, the EAK vice chairman, urged Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet, and the Independent Policinge Oversight Authority to take stern action against errant officers.

Fr Fredric Chege of Holy Family Minor Basilica in Nairobi said leaders should come out and address their followers to ease the tension in some parts of the country.

“We may compete and some may lose or gain, but the most important thing is that we remain as one people and one nation built on the values and foundations of this great country – peace, love, and unity,” said Fr Chege.

UNFOLDING EVENTS

Fr Calisto Nyagilo in his sermon voiced concern over the unfolding events after the announcement of the results on Friday evening.

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“Remember how we sunk in 2007/2008. If we are not careful, we might reach that level. Let us not lose blood because of the results,” said Fr Nyagilo.

He also urged Kenyans to embrace one another as equals and not to be divided along ethnic lines.

“Kenya is for us all, no one is superior. Be an agent of peace and let us exercise prudence in everything we do. Kenya remains one and we remain as Kenyans. Let the will of God be done,” he added.

Fr Nyagilo encouraged Christians to continue praying for the country.

“As a church, we congratulate President Uhuru and his Deputy William Ruto for emerging the winners of the presidential election. Those who lost should accept the hand of peace the president has extended,” said Ntombura.

 

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