Bishop Philip Anyolo of the Homabay Catholic Diocese addressed the faithful iat Kiteere Catholic Church in Rongo on 27/12/2016.PHOTO:STANLEY ONGWAE/STANDARD
The Catholic Church has called on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to ensure free and fair polls.
In a pastoral letter titled ‘Peaceful and Credible Elections for Leaders of Integrity’, the leaders said the electoral commission and other stakeholders had a responsibility to ensure that the will of Kenyans prevailed, noting that IEBC “carries the greatest responsibility and must be alive to that”.
“The IEBC and other key stakeholders should ensure that all the electoral processes are credible, based on compliance to the Constitution… it is only in doing so that Kenyans will have peaceful and credible elections,” the Church said in the letter signed by 22 bishops.
The communication made at the Catholic Secretariat in Nairobi was read by the Chair of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, Rt Rev Philip Anyolo of Homa Bay Archdiocese.
The Church further called for dialogue in the controversy surrounding the awarding of the ballot printing tender to a Dubai company, a move that has placed the ruling Jubilee Party and IEBC at loggerheads with the Opposition National Super Alliance (NASA).
According to the Church, proceeding with the elections before seeking a middle ground on the matter would compromise the integrity of the process.
“The IEBC and political players should embrace dialogue. It is good to start the elections… when all parties have agreed. Transparency and accountability by IEBC is important,” said Bishop Cornelius Korir of Eldoret.
The Church also expressed concern about runaway corruption in the country, condemning cases of corruption suspects being allowed to contest for elective positions.
The bishops said this showed a lack of commitment to tackle the vice.
“There is little that has been done to prosecute or even recover misappropriated resources from those suspected or found to be involved… the fact is that some of the names mentioned have been cleared to contest for elections while some have remained in public offices,” the bishops said in their letter also signed by John Cardinal Njue.
Others who attended the press conference were bishops Martin Kivuva (Mombasa), Maurice Crowley (Kitale), Peter Kihara (Marsabit), James Wainaina (Murang’a) Paul Njiru (Embu) and Joseph Obanyi (Kakamega).