Church in Kenya to launch a multi-media campaign aimed at the creation of a climate conducive to credible and peaceful national elections.

The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) has tasked the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC), the Commission for Social Communications (Waumini Communications) and Caritas Kenya to work out a media campaign that will help towards the creation of a climate conducive to credible and peaceful national elections slated for August 2017.

A communications team drawn from the two commissions, Caritas Kenya and Kenya’s Catholic Radio stations has been created. This week, the communications team met consultants in a three-days workshop to strategise on how to develop peace messages that would be relayed on television, radio, newspapers and digital media platforms across the country.

The team which is to work in close collaboration with Bishops and priests in ensuring that political leaders and Kenyans embrace peace was informed that the country needs credible elections for Kenyans to get a government that is mandated by the will of the people. 

Addressing the team at Emmaus Centre in Nairobi, Future of Kenya Foundation Democratic Governance, Policy and Strategy Specialist, Africa Region, Cyprian Nyamwamu said, there is need to set up a serious and strong vetting mechanism consistent with Chapter 6 of the Constitution of Kenya. The vetting process would ensure that corrupt, fraudulent, anti-democracy, anti-cohesion and anti-peace individuals do not get elected to power come August 2017.

Nyamwamu said the media campaign would be in line with Article 81 of the constitution.

 “We need to deal with hate speech, incitement, ethnic and clan biases that are likely to bring about serious conflict and possible violence in the counties and even nation-wide,” He said

“This ethnic balkanization of our nation and reducing elections to an ethnic census must be stopped by a group of conscious and courageous Kenyans who present a different and people-centered narrative,” Nyamwamu added.

Nyamwamu also noted that there is need for a robust framework for election monitoring and observation of all the pre-election, election and post-election processes.  This was necessary in order to promote the credibility of the process revealing that, currently the government does not seem interested in funding the processes of election observation or civic education. He said the government was leaving everything to the goodwill of foreign partners- who actually fund these methods through the taxes of their nationals- which he said was a regrettable situation.

The Catholic Church’s campaign for Peaceful and Credible elections in Kenya will commence with the launch of the Lenten campaign which is scheduled to take place on 25 February 2017 at the University of Nairobi Graduation Grounds.

 (Rose Achiego in Nairobi)