Catholic Bishops in Kenya Caution against “careless voting”, Advocate for Servant Leaders

Members of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB). Credit: KCCB

Members of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) are calling on the electorate in Kenya to examine political candidates on the basis of their “vision” for service if they are not to engage in “careless voting”.

In a statement read out by Archbishop Anthony Muheria Sunday, June 19 as part of the Bishops' Sunday message initiative, KCCB members said leaders who will be voted in during the August 9 general elections will influence the East African nation’s values and character.

“Our call this Sunday is a caution to avoid careless voting and focus on finding a servant leader in each of the six seats we vote for,” Catholic Bishops in Kenya said.

Credit: Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB)

They advocate for leaders characterized with servant leadership in the example of Jesus Christ.


The Kenyan electorate needs to elect candidates who have demonstrated the leadership qualities of Jesus Christ, that is, able to incorporate “the vision of the people he leads; works with and involves people in decision-making; inspires people to act freely and voluntarily,” Catholic Church leaders in Kenya say.

They add that Kenyans “cannot afford to be casual in the way we elect leaders” because “we are at the doorsteps of bestowing power to leaders who make decisions about our individual and collective wellbeing.”

“We will be choosing leaders who will determine, for the next five years, the destiny of our Wards, our Constituencies, our Counties and our Country,” KCCB members said in their June 19 message, and added, “For us Christians, voting is a moral obligation to choose leaders who stand for the good of all citizens. That is why we must interrogate their character, their morality, their value-system, and what they stand for in key moral issues.”

They encouraged Kenyan eligible voters to take part in the August 9 general elections, saying, “As we interrogate the worthiness of those seeking for our votes, let us recall we have a civic duty before us to execute by coming out to vote.”

The Catholic Bishops went on to highlight characteristics that are to be sought in the political candidates, prioritizing visionary leadership. 

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“A leader is elected to steer a vision. Manifestos ought to give a glimpse of what a leader is aspiring to do,” they said, hinting at a recent criticism of Kenyan politicians for downplaying manifestos and prioritizing slogans.

Catholic Bishops in Kenya want the electorate to interrogate political parties’ manifestos. They said, “We should take this time to ensure that we carefully read the manifestos presented to us, and where possible raise concerns with the candidates responsible.”

One way to learn about the manifestos is by engaging the political candidates in forums such as media discussions where these leaders offer their vision, KCCB members said, 

“We should seize this moment to internalize the vision of our country and vote for the person we consider most suitable to drive it forward,” they said, adding, “Where the ideal candidate is lacking, we must also interrogate the candidate whose leadership will least expose our Nation to the negative consequences.”

The Bishops highlight the need to leaders who will not only reconcile the people of God in the East African nation but also reunite them with the environment. They said, “As Catholic Bishops, we stand for the reconciliation of our people by promoting peace and unity. We need to elect leaders who understand our desire to labor together in building this nation.


The electorate needs to scrutinize candidates’ ability to foster, in the Kenyan context, “reconciliation with Mother Earth through an environmentally friendly agenda.”

“We need a leader who reconciles us with creation,” the Catholic Bishops said.

Other characteristics in political candidates that KCCB members emphasized in their June 19 message included taking the lead in the fight against corruption, and being “a truly moral leader”. 

“As we elect new leaders at all levels, we must seek a leader who commits to fight corruption and offers concrete actions on how to do so,” they said, and called on Kenyans to “refuse to elect any leader who we perceive will propagate the cancer of corruption.”

They emphasized, “An electable leader should detest corruption at all levels to serve as an example to others.”

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On moral values, KCCB members said, “It is important that we interrogate all candidates on their stand on ethical and moral issues. We can look at their earlier statements and ask them to express what their moral stand is.”

They regretted the fact there are political candidates whose agendas propagate policies devoid of moral and ethical values. 

“For a Nation to thrive, it must be founded on sound ethical principles. Leaders should seek to articulate these in our laws, the respect of God in his laws as underpinned in our Constitution, the respect for life, and development that nurtures in the society what is generally referred as goodness or common good,” Catholic Bishops in Kenya said.

Addressing themselves to the Kenyan electorate, they reiterated their May 27 caution against electing political candidates with pro-abortion tendencies.

“We specifically caution you and ask that you stand up against those bad leaders who propose to destroy life in its initial stages in the mother’s womb through abortion, those who have an agenda of liberalization of sexual behaviour including pornography, and those proposing the destruction of our youth through liberalization of drug use,” Catholic Bishops in Kenya said.

They faulted leaders who support “an immoral agenda” in Kenya, saying, “This spells doom for a society.”

“When we say God fearing leader, we mean one who respects God's laws in real life,” KCCB members said, and added, “We must elect a leader who will not only protect but promote our Traditional African and Christian family values.”

“As your shepherds, we ask you to look for qualities of moral servant leaders. That is, leaders who are visionary, reconcilers, and of high integrity to steer our wards, constituencies, counties and country forward,” they reiterated in their June 19 read out by Archbishop Muheria.

The Catholic Bishops in Kenya added, “Let us elect a truly Godly leader who inspires hope and unity among Kenyans. May Christ our Servant Leader shine upon us to discern the kind of leader who will address the challenges Kenyans face particularly the poor and disadvantaged.”

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.