Catholic Bishops in Kenya “demand from (political) aspirants more respect for the voter”

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

Catholic Bishops in Kenya have cautioned political aspirants against the tendency to demean voters ahead of the August 9 general elections, saying such behavior goes “against the spirit of responsible leadership”.

In a Thursday, June 9 statement, members of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) also call upon political aspirants to campaign in “a respectful manner”, listening to the poor and vulnerable members of society who are the majority but who are “often never heard or listened to”.

“We wish to demand from the aspirants more respect for the voter. Using voters as objects to achieve an end is not the way to promote human dignity,” Catholic Bishops in Kenya say in a statement signed by KCCB Chairman, Archbishop Martin Kivuva

KCCB members add, “Peddling lies, unnecessary personality attacks, inciting voters against opponents and sheer demeaning attitudes towards voters, because they are poor and lowly is going against the spirit of responsible leadership.”

They urge politicians to refrain from using misfortunes and funeral ceremonies for personal gain saying such behavior “is demeaning.”


“We would like to see all candidates from the Ward to the Presidential levels rallying their support in a respectful manner in which everyone is treated as a deserving citizen of this country,” KCCB members say in their maiden “Bishops' Sunday message.” 

They say Kenya’s democracy becomes significant “if we respect every voter, by listening to issues that the voter is interested in and by ensuring the process through which a leader is elected is genuine.”

The Catholic Church leaders underscore the need for politicians to pay attention to the poor and vulnerable Kenyans, saying, “The plight and concerns of the poor, underprivileged, desperate, unemployed, must be at the center of all election discussion.”

In their June 9 statement, the Kenyan Church leaders regret the fact that while the poor are the majority voters in Kenya, they are “often never heard or listened to.”

“Every voter has a right to be appropriately approached and informed,” they say, and add, “Special effort must be made to inform and educate this marginalized voter.”

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KCCB members further call on the electorate to take the election process seriously because they are “essentially the employer for whom and with whom all agencies, state and no-state actors, work for.”

Addressing themselves to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Catholic Bishops in Kenya caution against mischief in the vote counting process. 

They say, “The elections we are about to conduct in under two months mean nothing if every vote does not count.”

KCCB members urge IEBC to “engage urgently in the cleaning up of the voter register as required by law,”

Cleaning up the registries is “critically important” because only legitimate voters in turn will be able to vote, they explain.


IEBC officials need to “make greater effort to assure voters with great transparency arrangements regarding the voting process: from the printing of ballots, transporting them to the polling centers, opening them before party agents, safe environment to cast votes, counting of votes and the whole process of transmitting results,” Catholic Bishops in Kenya say in their June 9 statement.

With transparency, the Bishops say, “public trust will increase and therefore offer more legitimacy to the election outcomes.”

Transparency will also “reduce contestations of election results particularly the presidency,” KCCB members say. 

They urge the electoral body to focus on voter education, saying, “Part of the mandate of IEBC is to conduct civic and voter education. Given the time constraint we believe it is urgent that IEBC embarks on an effective voter education.”

“It is very important that communication from IEBC be clear and keeping the voter fully informed of what is required of him,” Catholic Bishops in Kenya says.

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“IEBC can count on partnerships with faith bodies in this process of civic education,” KCCB members say, and assure the electoral commission of their support in working toward delivering a free, fair and credible election.

“In conclusion, we acknowledge the good effort IEBC made in assessing the presidential candidates as per the law governing the admission of candidates to vie for various posts. This gives the Kenyan voter a chance to focus on making an informed decision on the more deserving presidential candidates,” KCCB members say in their maiden initiative dubbed “Bishops’ Sunday message”.

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.