Catholic bishops call for decorum ahead of elections

Nyeri Archbishop Anthony Muheria at his offices in Nyeri Town where he issued a press statement from the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops on upcoming General Elections. [Edwin Mbugua,  Standard]

The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops has urged political leaders and Kenyans to conduct peaceful and civil campaigns in the final week before the General Election.

In a press statement, Nyeri Archbishop Anthony Muheria read the message from the KCCB that called on Kenyans and leaders to conduct peaceful polls and campaigns.

In the three-point agenda, the bishops asked Kenyans to elect political leaders with the right development agenda from the ward to the national level.

“Not only are we encouraging each eligible voter to go out to vote but also vote wisely. If faced with the poor choices we must avoid the worst, we cannot turn to God to deliver us from corruption when a chance to address corruption is here now,” Muheria said.

They asked the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and all major actors in the electioneering process to take their obligations to safeguard a legitimate result.

“We urge the political players to desist from frustrating IEBC efforts to deliver free, fair and credible elections. Politicians must desist from insulting and humiliating each other.” 

The Archbishop said Kenyans must demand dignity and respect from those who win. He asked them to accept the victory with humility.

“They should be just like our athletes who often start the race with a little anxiety and when they win they congratulate their fellow athletes with grace,” he said. Muheria asked leaders who lose the elections to be ready to accept the results without causing chaos.

The bishops also asked leaders to avoid pronouncements that could provoke or incite violence from supporters. “Prepare your supporters for either of those outcomes, whatever the final result we must have peace,” he said.

Muheria asked for levelheadedness as Kenyans head to the final lap of electing leaders. The Catholic Bishops asked voters to be patient as the leaders work to address the cost of living which has been a major campaign agenda.

Muheria said the tone and nature of campaigns had turned bare-knuckled and asked leaders to stop hurling insults at their rivals. “We ask our leaders to carry themselves with decorum as they campaign."