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