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Religious Leaders Caution Kenyan Electorate

Posted on: December 22, 1997 11:10 AM
Related Categories: Kenya

Church leaders in Kenya have called on the electorate to participate fully in the general elections on 29 December and disregard those calling for a boycott.

"We are against all forms of election boycott, disruption and related violence and encourage all Kenyans to participate fully in the electoral process and especially to cast their vote," said the Protestant National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) in a pastoral statement released on 22 November.

Entitled Kenya Our Common Future: Towards Just and Peaceful General Elections, the NCCK pastoral letter reminded Kenyan voters that "a vote not cast is a vote against Kenya."

The church body's concern for the participation of all eligible Kenyans in the elections follows a recent threat by a section of the Opposition that they plan to disrupt the forthcoming poll.

Saying that the council shall be involved in campaign monitoring as well as poll watching, the NCCK stressed its determination to reject incompetent, immoral, and vote buying leaders.

NCCK also plans to hold nation-wide peace prayers between December 7 and 24. "And at noon everyday we shall stop and pray for one minute for peace during and after the general elections," the council stated.

On widespread insecurity and violence, NCCK challenged the government to set a commission of inquiry to investigate the causes of violence in various parts of the country as a matter of urgency.

Also calling upon Kenyans to shun elections' boycott was the country's head of the Roman Catholic Church Archbishop Ndingi Mwana a'Nzeki, who urged fellow countrymen and women not to be cheated by anybody against participating in the elections irrespective of where they come from.

The clergyman criticised political leaders advocating a boycott of elections saying they should instead participate in the polls to fight for democracy from inside parliament.

And the head of the Anglican Church in the country, Archbishop David Gitari, agreed with both the NCCK and Archbishop Ndingi's sentiments on elections' boycott.

"Kenyans should refrain from listening to those ascribing to the boycott of elections," Archbishop Gitari said.