August 9

Church leaders urge Judiciary to buckle up for poll petitions

Monday, July 4th, 2022 01:18 | By
Kakamega Catholic bishop Joseph Obanyi at the St Francis Xavier Shikoti Church in Kakamega where he delivered the weekly communiqué from the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops. PD/DOUGLAS DINDI
Kakamega Catholic bishop Joseph Obanyi at the St Francis Xavier Shikoti Church in Kakamega where he delivered the weekly communiqué from the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops. PD/DOUGLAS DINDI

The Catholic Church has asked the Judiciary to put in place measures to hear and determine poll-related cases in a fair and speedy manner. In their latest weekly communication just 36 days before the August 9 election, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) urged the courts to assure Kenyans they are ready for the task.

“Kenyans need assurance that courts are ready to litigate on poll cases in a manner that brings public honour to the Judiciary and the country. Timely, fair and transparent rulings will restore confidence in the institution,” read the statement in part.

Led by Kakamega bishop Rev Joseph Obanyi, KCCB, at the same time, urged church leaders to avoid a bipartisan role in politics to guide the flock. War of words The bishops argued the Church, civil society and media were critical non-state actors in the electoral process and must not take sides.

“They are an important cog in monitoring the progress of electioneering and reporting back vices such as violence, voter bribery and incitement. The media must call out those breaching the law and as a body we urge church leaders to be impartial for the sake of their followers,” it read.

Obanyi, who read this week’s KCCB statement at St Francis Xavier Shikoti Catholic Church, stressed on the need for a robust and impartial judiciary as it the last pillar and defender of the law.

“The law must never be applied selectively. Often, we see the application and enforcement of justice eschewed to punish the poor caught in violence rather than the main political actors who perpetuate. It’s therefore important that the law defend everyone,” said the bishop.

This came even on the day church and political leaders in Embu County called for an end to the war of words between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto. Led by Bishop David Muriithi of the Anglican Church of Kenya in Embu diocese, the leaders said they were concerned the direction the two leaders are going, appealing to them to shun such kind of speeches.

“We are deeply concerned with the rift between the president and his deputy with conflicts emerging in the counties and the country at large following their severed relationship and fallout,” said Bishop Muriithi. While speaking during the celebrations of 32 years of existence of Kianjokoma ACK dioceses Murithi pleaded with two principals to tone down their public spat and instead focus on building a tolerant society.

“We appeal to the two to sort out their differences amicably, the kind of pictures they are portraying in public is not good at all,” added Muriithi.

Embu Senator Njeru Ndwiga said the spat between the two should be a concern to everybody. Ndwiga urged the president and his deputy to find an alternative way of solving their differences rather that Speaking in public.

“The kind of thing we are seeing from the president and the deputy is a bad thing that no one would want to hear, it has far reaching repercussions to those listening to them and they should stop the conversation,” said senator Ndwiga.

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