Stop empty pledges, clerics tell aspirants
Catholic bishops have urged politicians to stop feeding Kenyans with false and empty promises and instead come up with practical solutions to current economic and social challenges.
The bishops decried the high cost of living and asked the government to subsidise the cost of basic commodities that are now out of reach for many people.
Led by Archbishop Phillip Anyolo of the Archdiocese of Nairobi, the clerics said leaders should have put in place mechanisms to mitigate the effects of drought in many parts of the country.
“We run the risk that leaders who will be elected in different elective positions may follow the same trend, whereby they do not attend to the wellbeing of the poor but focus on themselves and increasing their salaries,” said Anyolo yesterday after leading the Sunday mass at Consolata Shrine in Nairobi.
Anyolo said the high cost of living needs urgent intervention from the County and national governments.
He said election candidates should tell Kenyans how they plan to lower the cost of living and improve the economy instead of pointing fingers at others.
“We need to hear solutions and how aspiring leaders will cushion the poor. We are concerned that this situation may be used by aspirants to exploit the sufferings of others for personal gain,” said Anyolo.
He added: “It is indeed surprising that while drought and hunger loom in our borders, the increase in the price of the most basic food items is hiked to almost double and yet the government and most of the political aspirants are silent about it.”
Anyolo urged the national government to move with speed to lower the prices of basic commodities like maize flour, maize, beans, cooking fat and kerosene so that families can afford to meet their basic needs.
“Let us be moved by the care of our poor neighbours. The cost of living is rising. Inflation is soaring. All of us are called to come to the aid of our neighbours. The leaders, both national and county, by their office and responsibility should go out of their way to do more,” said the bishop.
He said that during election campaigns, politicians want to make Kenyans believe life will start after the polls and things will suddenly become good.
“We are fed with this false and empty hope that never comes to reality. Often, the politicians promise goodies and handouts, promising free things without a basis on how or from where they will be financed. The political promises of millions and billions for this and that is insufficient in ensuring we meet our basic needs,” said Anyolo.
He added: “We specifically need to ask those seeking elective positions what plans they have to create the right economic atmosphere, even improving our agriculture, and not what free things they will give us.”
On the debt situation, Anyolo said it had reached alarming levels.
He also termed it unfortunate that most of the money had gone to the wrong uses or had been lost through corruption.
Besides showing how they will ensure funds are properly used under their watch, he said, candidates ought to tell Kenyans the strategy they intend to put in place to address both debt repayment and management of resources in order to improve the welfare of all Kenyans.
“As citizens, we need to not only continue working hard but also ensure that we creatively become more innovative and entrepreneurial to increase our revenue streams at all levels beginning with the family level.”
The bishops also urged Kenyans to maintain peace before, during and after elections.