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Gitari wants faithful allowed to decide

By | May 24th 2010 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

By Standard Team

Retired Anglican Archbishop David Gitari has warned clerics against imposing the ‘No’ stand on faithful.

Gitari said the clergy should instead help their flock understand issues in the document.

"We have come a long way in search of a constitution. In Christian ethics, when you are in a dilemma and forced to choose between two evils, you go for a lesser evil...the document is not and can never be perfect, but is progressive compared to the current one," said Gitari.

Speaking at the weekly news conference by the National Civil Society Congress at a Nairobi hotel, Gitari urged the Church to tread carefully not to frustrate reforms.

"I just wish devolution and representation in the draft was revisited, but it is late now. Legislators failed to effect amendments. We should now leave it to the people to say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’," said Gitari who expressed his support for the draft.

Rev Timothy Njoya called on Church leaders to stop selectively looking at the draft, saying it is not about abortion and Kadhis’ courts.

Sectarian benefits

"It is time Kenyans looked not at sectarian benefits of the proposed law, but also national ones," said Njoya, who called for tolerance of divergent views.

At the same time, Church leaders have been warned against spending faithful’s money to fund ‘No’ campaigns. The Chairman of the National Community-Based Organisations Council Tom Aosa said Church leaders should not assume all members are in the ‘No’ camp.

"Some clerics think that once you come to church, you will automatically support the their position on the draft," he said yesterday at a news conference in Nairobi.

And in Kikuyu, Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli accused the Church of taking hardline positions before consulting faithful.

He said the Church and ‘No’ politicians had lost the moral integrity to lead Kenyans to the right direction.

Mr Atwoli, who led Cotu members and two MPs at a funds drive, told politicians to delink the new constitution from 2012 politics.

Report by James Ratemo, Ally Jamah and Peter Orengo


Anglican Archbishop David Gitari Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli
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