As Kenya holds its breath waiting for the electoral commission to announce the fifth president, Deputy President William Ruto and Azimio la Umoja One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga returned to church for guidance even as clerics prayed for peace.
All the four presidential candidates DP Ruto (UDA), Odinga, Prof George Wajackoya (Roots Party) and Mwaure Waihiga (Agano Party) told their supporters to be patient when they separately appeared in public for the first time after the polls.
Their call for patience came as the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission(IEBC) continued with its tally of the presidential vote.
Prof Wajackoyah told his supporters to wait for the official announcement of the winner from the electoral commission.
Speaking during service at his Karen residence, Nairobi, yesterday, Ruto appealed to Kenyans to remain calm. He was accompanied by his wife Rachael, his mother-in-law Sarah Cheruiyot, running mate Rigathi Gachagua and his wife Dorcas among other leaders.
The DP said just as Kenyans voted peacefully, they should also wait patiently as the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) concludes the verification of results at the Bomas of Kenya.
‘‘I want to thank all Kenyans, I think over 14 million, who went to vote early to elect leaders for the next five years. This is the first Sunday since we went into elections. I also want to congratulate all leaders who were elected by all parties. The word of God reminds us in Proverbs 16:33 that voting is done to know what will come next, but the final decision is from God. So, much as we all went to vote, the final decision is God’s,” said Ruto.
He urged Kenyans to pray for IEBC to complete the exercise.
‘‘We have voted peacefully and gone through this process peacefully and it’s my prayer that we end this process peacefully. The Bible says the end of something is better than the beginning and we pray to God to be so. I urge all Kenyans across the country to be patient and persevere to give IEBC time to perform its mandate. As we have done this election peacefully and in agreement, let us also finish the same way so that we continue ahead as a nation as we celebrate our citizenship as Kenyans,” he added.
The DP spoke during a church service which was streamed live on his Facebook page.
The service was presided over by the Rev Davis Kisotu of Redeemed Gospel Church in Narok town.
Rachael said just like the biblical story of two women, who were claiming one child before King Solomon, they are praying that the child (victory) will not be exchanged for the one who does not deserve the victory.
Odinga, who attended service at St Francis ACK church in Karen, prayed to God to make him “an instrument of peace where there is conflict, light where there was darkness, healing where there was sickness and hope where there was despair.”
The Azimio presidential candidate, who was accompanied by his running mate Martha Karua, drew his inspiration from St Francis of Assisi and told Kenyans to keep the peace as they waited for the presidential results to be announced.
Odinga said he wants to be an instrument of peace, light and hope as the country navigates through the transition after the conclusion of the General Election.
“We are very grateful to God for the peaceful election exercise, it is my prayer and belief that the situation will remain calm even as we wait for the IEBC to give us the final verdict and have our new leaders in office since this is the wish of all Kenyans,” Raila said.
The Azimio presidential candidate said he was happy to be in his home church after being away for a while due to pressing national duties. “May God bless our land and nation, Azimio la Umoja is out to take our people across River Jordan to Canaan and I believe this is achievable through God’s help and guidance, let us put our trust in him,” said Odinga.
Meanwhile, Nyeri Archbishop Anthony Muheria has called on Kenyans to maintain peace and guard against fake news, which could cause unnecessary panic as the country awaits the final presidential results.
While reading the statement from the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops to Kenyans, Muheria, said the country was experiencing tension due to the ongoing vote tallying by the IEBC and it is crucial to offer messages of peace.
The Catholic clergy asked Kenyans not to fall victim to fake news, especially on social media. “There are people trying to cause unnecessary panic, we ask you to treat text, images or videos you receive on social media with great caution and double check with mainstream media, let’s prevent any form of incitement,” he said.
The Bishops asked the electoral commission to conclude the process of verifying presidential results and announce the winner to end anxiety in the country.
They asked IEBC to ensure the process was credible to avoid unnecessary tension, rumours and animosity amongst Kenyans.
Eldoret Diocese Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) Bishop Christopher Ruto cautioned political leaders against whipping emotions by meddling with the ongoing IEBC tallying process.
The Bishop said Kenyans should trust independent institutions and allow them to execute their mandate without intimidation. “The country has realised expanded democratic space, and we should respect constitutional institutions,” said Bishop Ruto.
He called on leaders across the political divide to accept the outcome of the polls and create a conducive environment to grow the economy.
African Orthodox Church of Kenya Bishop Neofitos Kong’ai also called for calm and peace from Kenyans as they await the results of the presidential election.
Bishop Kong’ai said that as Kenyans wait for the announcement of the President-elect, it is good to applaud all those who have come forth to concede defeat and shook hands with their opponents.
Reports by Edwin Nyarangi, James Wanzala, Titus Too and Lydiah Nyawira