Catholic Archbishops in Kenya Underscore Need for Peaceful, Just and Honest Elections

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Three Catholic Archbishops in Kenya have, in separate interviews with ACI Africa, called on the people of God in the East African nation to work toward peaceful, just and honest general elections scheduled to take place on August 9.

In the interviews on the sidelines the sidelines of the Episcopal Ordination of the Bishop of Kenya’s Bungoma Diocese February 19, the three Catholic Archbishops urged Kenyans to shun violence and encouraged Church leaders to recognize their “very important role” in the election process and foster peace.  

Credit: ACI Africa

In the past elections, Kenyans “have fought, messed up lives, messed up property; let us not do it again; let us go to elect honestly and justly,” Archbishop Martin Kivuva said.

“Over many years now, any time we have elections there is always a commotion; people tend to get tribal and sectional," the Local Ordinary of Kenya’s Mombasa Archdiocese who doubles as the Chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) further said.


He added that sometimes, conflicts arise "because of people who are determined to get it (power) by force, by bribing others or by forcing others to elect in a certain way.”

Kenya has had a challenging road to the consolidation of its democracy. While the violence following the December 2007 poll that left at least 1,000 people dead and some 350,000 displaced has widely been reported, the East African nation has witnessed other post-election skirmishes, including the 1992, 1997, and 2013.

In the interview with ACI Africa February 19, Archbishop Kivuva urged Kenyan eligible voters to free themselves from undue influence when deciding on whom to elect.

Credit: ACI Africa

He said, “Let us not be forced to elect so and so because they are giving money. Let us not elect so and so because they have promised; some of those promises are still yet to be fulfilled."

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"Let us elect honest clean leaders at all levels; let us not be cowed because of pressure. When you walk into a voting station, walk in having done your homework: I want a leader of this nature," Archbishop Kivuva said. 

He further urged Kenyans to avoid voting along tribal lines saying, “As you elect, do not think of tribes; think Kenya. Tribes always mess up things; your brother does not make the best leader all the time nor does your neighbor who is from the same tribe," he said. 

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He encouraged the youth who have reached 18 years of age to register as voters. The Kenyan Archbishop said, “Young people, if you still have a chance to register, kindly register. Do not say it does not make a difference, but does make a difference. Failing to choose is choosing bad leaders.”

In a separate interview with ACI Africa, Archbishop Anthony Muheria urged Kenyans to have their moral senses of right and wrong during the election period.


“We are urging the people of Kenya to have their conscience that they may not be pushed, instigated or provoked into violence,” Archbishop Muheria said.

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The Local Ordinary of Nyeri Archdiocese in Kenya added, “The gift that we have received, the gift of peace, is the gift of the risen Jesus Christ that we must safeguard as Christians, leaders, citizens, all of us have an obligation to defend it.”

Speaking on the sidelines of the event that took place at St Mary’s Kibabii High School in Kenya’s Bungoma Diocese, the Apostolic Nuncio in Kenya and South Sudan said Church leaders have a great role to play in ensuring the country remains peaceful.

“The Church has a very important role to play in the elections in the sense that they are the ones who have to inspire the politicians to speak words of peace,” Archbishop Hubertus van Megen said.

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The representative of the Holy Father added, “We know that past elections in Kenya have not always gone peacefully; there have been some sorts of conflict.”

Ahead of this year’s general elections, Archbishop van Megen said, “we as the Church want to be a peacekeeper, people who want to try and accompany the people in expressing opinions in a just and peaceful way.”

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.