Religious leaders have asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to quickly embark on bringing the country together, following the just-concluded highly contested General Election.
Clerics from the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) and seven other inter-denominational groups also appealed to Opposition leader Raila Odinga and all those aggrieved by the polls’ outcome to seek peaceful means of resolving any issues they have.
“We appeal to the President-elect and his government to move with speed to heal and unite the country, which is seemingly divided after the emotive electioneering period,” said KCCB chair Rt Rev Philip Anyolo.
“We hope that no community will be blacklisted, isolated or profiled on account of whom they supported in these elections or where they come from,” Rev Anyolo told a press briefing in Westlands, Nairobi.
At a separate press conference at Ufungumano House, senior religious leaders under the umbrella of the Multi-Sectoral Forum asked those protesting the outcome to do so peacefully.
“We call upon our brothers and sisters who so wish to only engage in peaceful protests and demonstrations after informing the police as is required by law. Do not attack other people or destroy property. Do not provoke the police,” they said in a joint statement.
The clerics asked all political leaders to urge their supporters to maintain peace and sensitivity when either celebrating a win or grieving after a loss in the elections.
“Do not provoke your supporters or those of your opponents with the words you use. Instead, speak to build bridges and promote the brotherhood of all Kenyans,” they added.
The religious leaders also congratulated those who won various seats and all the presidential candidates, saying they had played a role in developing Kenya's democratic process.
Speaking separately, Eldoret Catholic Diocese Bishop Cornelius Korir cautioned police officers against using excessive force to calm protests in various parts of the country that followed the announcement of the presidential election results on Friday night.
“It is sad that people have been killed due to an election outcome, something that should be addressed urgently and comprehensively. The police are deployed to maintain order but not to shoot and kill people. The real issues that have led to this situation should be addressed first,” said Korir.
The cleric urged the Opposition to move to court if they are dissatisfied with the results or concede defeat, warning President Kenyatta’s and Raila’s camps against inciting their supporters to violence.
“Uasin Gishu is calm despite being pointed out as a hotspot and this is courtesy of the unending efforts of the church, elders and government administrators to engage the politicians and the masses ahead of the elections. Peace building should continue in this country on a high intensity because there is a lot of silent division that needs to be resolved,” said the bishop.
He urged elected leaders to bring all communities and the nation together, irrespective of the voting patterns in order to sustain peace.
“The leaders need to dialogue on what is happening in the country and do it honestly because people need to understand every aspect for them to be contended with the decisions made so far and more that are to come. The voters did well by turning out in large numbers and now the elected persons and the church need to amplify a voice of peace and unity,” said Korir.