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ACK bishops reject calls for postponement of 2022 General Election

POLITICS
By Jacinta Mutura | July 24th 2021

Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit during a press conference in Nairobi on May 31, 2021.[David Njaaga,Standard]

The Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) has warned against postponing next year’s General Election or extending President Uhuru Kenyatta's term.

Speaking at All Saints Cathedral yesterday, the ACK bishops led by Archbishop Jackson Sapit said that the 2022 General Election has to be conducted on the exact date as stipulated in the Constitution.

They called on those seeking the postponement of the elections to allow the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to proceed with its preparations unhindered.

“The country cannot afford another disruption after Covid-19 and locust invasions, especially with the 2022 election just around the corner,” said Sapit.

Calls to push the polls have triggered mixed feelings with Deputy President William Ruto, terming them as the “language of impunity.”

Allies of ODM leader Raila Odinga have also insisted the elections must be held in accordance with the Constitution.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has, however, previously stated that he has no intention of extending his stay in office.

However, Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli has been vocal in calling for the postponement of the elections, arguing that “it is out of the reality that the outcome of such elections would have a negative effect on the welfare of Kenyan workers.”

Atwoli argues that Kenya should first deal with issues highlighted in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), key among them constitutional amendments to address the winner-takes-all system and ethnicitised politics by introducing an enlarged executive to accommodate election losers.

“The 2022 presidential election will once again be a cutthroat competition and the loser with over 45 per cent of the votes is unlikely to accept the results.

“This will be a recipe for political instability,” said the Cotu boss.

However, the Anglican bishops called on the government to ensure that the IEBC is provided with adequate resources to ensure proper preparation for the polls.

“We call for adequate civic education and rolling out of mass and proper voter registration so that all Kenyans eligible to vote are registered,” said Sapit.

Previously, the Church had expressed concerns for over the inadequately constituted electoral body a year to the election but Sapit noted that the ongoing process to recruit more commissioners is encouraging.

At the same time, the bishops expressed their frustrations over reluctance by political leaders to adhere to Covid-19 guidelines during their meet the people tours despite the shortage of vaccines in the country.

“We appreciate government efforts to roll out Covid vaccination despite the global supply chain challenges,” Sapit said.

They appealed for full reopening of churches as they have been observing ministry of health guidelines.

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