Ole Sapit: Reject corrupt candidates
The Anglican Church of Kenya has called on Kenyans not to vote for candidates with integrity issues in the August 9 General Election.
The church says it is immoral for a person facing corruption or any other criminal charge to serve in public office.
“We will guide the electorate to examine all those seeking leadership positions and reject all those charged in the court of law and found guilty or facing graft related cases,” said the church in a statement read by Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit.
The call comes a day after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) said that it will not bar people who have ongoing court cases from running in the elections.
The electoral body said it cannot prevent anyone from participating in the polls based on a High Court ruling of 2013 which allowed Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto to run for office despite facing charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC). Uhuru and Ruto were facing charges of crimes against humanity at the time and were cleared to run for president and deputy president respectively.
The commission, in an affidavit, argued that one is legally presumed innocent until proven guilty and as such, there is no need to interfere with judicial processes.
“We must strike a balance between the right of an individual to contest in an election and the presumption of innocence of any accused person,” IEBC Director of Legal and Public Affairs Chrispine Owiye swore in an affidavit.
The commission was responding to a suit filed by activist Okiya Omtatah who wanted politicians of questionable integrity to be barred from running.
But the Anglican Church maintained that it will use the pulpit to implore Kenyans not to elect people with a tainted past.
“We will not shy away from telling our flock to shun those facing criminal charges,” Ole Sapit said after chairing a meeting of bishops and senior clergy.
A number of sitting governors and MPs are facing corruption-related cases but have declared their intention to vie for different positions in the coming polls.
On the management of the elections, the church said the electoral body must exceed expectations in order to deliver a truly fair and credible process.
According to the bishops, cases of incitement to violence have hit some areas over political differences and urged the government to intensify its crackdown on those fanning hostility.
They said they will conduct a sustained, targeted civic education during this electioneering period. Ole Sapit said the bishops have launched a civic education resources booklet that the church and church workers will use for the purpose of informing, empowering and sensitising the congregants in making informed choices.
The church has also decried the rising cost of living and urged the government to consider rescheduling capital intensive projects.
“Let Kenyans live within their means, and let the country do everything possible to apply available resources prudently,” said the bishops.
The church asked the government to restore security in violence-hit areas of Baringo, Marsabit, Elgeyo Marakwet, Laikipia, Samburu, Isiolo and parts of Meru.