We’ve no favourites and only want peace­ful polls, say cler­ics

As­pi­rants should be at lib­erty to cam­paign any­where in the coun­try with­out fear of at­tacks from their ri­vals, re­gard­less of the seats they seek, says Mu­rang’a fo­rum

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties Central - ALICE WAITHERA @Alice­wangechi NO IN­TIM­I­DA­TION

The cur­rent height­ened po­lit­i­cal ten­sion could trig­ger a re­peat of the 200708 post-elec­tion vi­o­lence if unchecked, Mu­rang’a cler­ics have warned. “We are plead­ing with politi­cians to tone down po­lit­i­cal over­tones to en­sure peace pre­vails be­fore and af­ter elec­tions,” Bishop John Mwangi said.

He is the chair­man of the Mu­rang’a Bish­ops and Se­nior Clergy Fo­rum, which is made up of 33 Pentecostal, Protes­tant and Catholic cler­ics. Mwangi and other mem­bers ad­dressed the me­dia on Wed­nes­day in Mu­rang’a town. He urged politi­cians to stop us­ing their sup­port­ers to cause chaos in pub­lic meet­ings. Mwangi said it is vi­tal for as­pi­rants to con­duct their cam­paigns peace­fully, with­out caus­ing vi­o­lence in their ri­vals’ meet­ings. He said the church does not have any favourite can­di­dates and its only wish is for Kenyans to con­duct peace­ful elec­tions. “As­pi­rants should be at lib­erty to cam­paign any­where in the coun­try with­out fear of at­tacks from their ri­vals, re­gard­less of the seats they seek,” Mwangi said.

He said women and youth have the right and free­dom to run for elec­tion with­out ha­rass­ment or in­tim­i­da­tion. Mwangi said the Church was di­rectly af­fected by the 2007-08 PEV and thus, has a role to play in spread­ing peace. Mwangi said pub­lic ex­change of words among lead­ers in­cites their sup­port­ers.

He urged po­lit­i­cal par­ties to pun­ish mem­bers who spread hate. “Af­ter read­ing the po­lit­i­cal mood in the coun­try, we re­alised that we can­not just sit back and watch as things go wrong,” Mwangi said.

His press con­fer­ence came a day af­ter Mu­rang’a county com­mis­sioner John Elun­gata or­dered the ar­rest of politi­cians who caused chaos dur­ing the open­ing of the Kan­dara con­stituency Ju­bilee Party of­fice. Two ri­val groups clashed on Septem­ber 20.

/ ALICE WAITHERA

Bishop John Mwangi reads a state­ment on be­half of Mu­rang’a Bish­ops and Se­nior Clergy Fo­rum on Wed­nes­day

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