“False hope”: Christian Leaders in Kenya Fault Opposition’s Move to Collect Signatures

Christian leaders during the meeting at ufungamano house in Nairobi,Kenya. Credit: CJPC

Christian leaders in Kenya have faulted the move that members of the opposition parties under the Azimio One Kenya Coalition have undertaken to collect millions of signatures aimed at ousting the current government and repealing Kenya’s Finance Act 2023.

In their Tuesday, July 11 statement, Christian leaders, who include representatives of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) and the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) caution the opposition coalition leader, Raila Amolo Odinga, against giving “the people false hope that the government can be removed from office through collection of signatures.”

The Azimio One Kenya Coalition unveiled an online signature platform on July 11 that its leaders said would run alongside the manual one, aimed at collecting both together 15million signatures to force President William Samoei Ruto out of office.

The digital signature forum that was launched on the eve of the start of “another round of protests” also seeks to advocate for civil disobedience, tax boycotts, and defiance meant to compel President Ruto regime to take deliberate steps to lower the cost of living.

In their three-page statement that the Chairman of KCCB, Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde, and NCCK Chairman, Archbishop Timothy Ndambuki, signed, Christian leaders in Kenya say they acknowledge the “critical constitutional role that the opposition plays in safeguarding democracy and justice in our nation”.


However, they urge the Azimio One Kenya Coalition to “reconsider” and call off the planned resumption of demonstrations.

“We appeal to you to reconsider the proposed mass action program which is likely to make the situation worse for Kenyans,” church leaders in Kenya say, and urge opposition leaders to instead “spearhead an issue-based and solution-oriented approach to secure the nation from sliding into chaos and violence.”

Turning their attention to President Ruto, the Christian leaders urge him “to hear the cry of the people of Kenya who are heavily burdened by the prevailing global economic crisis and the drought that is yet to end despite the onset of rains.”

“There are many families that are sleeping hungry, businesses have collapsed, jobs have been lost, and the cost of living is continuing to rise,” they lament, and add, “We fear that the growing sense of hopelessness will push the country into instability and possibly violence.”

The church leaders call upon the President Ruto-led government to adopt “policies and strategies that give Kenyans hope while addressing the economic challenge in the short and long terms.”

More in Africa

“As an immediate mitigation measure, Your Excellency, we recommend that the Finance Act 2023 is repealed so as to review the heavy taxation burden imposed on Kenyans,” they further say.

The Christian leaders also call for “a cessation of domestic borrowing by the government so as to enable banks (to) loan private businesses that drive the local economy.”

They go on to urge Kenyans to “firmly resist incitement by political and social leaders who are focused on selfish ambitions,” and instead to engage in public participation forums utilizing the opportunity to “influence policy and decision-making processes”.

“We should not leave the destiny of our families in the hands of politicians alone, and should instead adopt the mantra of ‘Nothing for us without us’”, Christian leaders in Kenya say in their July 11 statement.

ACI Africa was founded in 2019. We provide free, up-to-the-minute news affecting the Catholic Church in Africa, giving particular emphasis to the words of the Holy Father and happenings of the Holy See, to any person with access to the internet. ACI Africa is proud to offer free access to its news items to Catholic dioceses, parishes, and websites, in order to increase awareness of the activities of the universal Church and to foster a sense of Catholic thought and culture in the life of every Catholic.