Be Wary of Political Candidates Offering Bribes for Votes: Catholic Bishops in Kenya

Bishop Dominic Kimengich (left) of Eldoret Diocese and Bishop Joseph Mairura Okemwa (right) of the Catholic Diocese of Kisii. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Two Catholic Bishops in Kenya have urged the electorate in the East African country to be cautious about political candidates offering bribes for votes.

In his Tuesday, June 28 message, Bishop Dominic Kimengich urges Kenyans “not to allow themselves to be bribed or be given money in order to vote.”

“We cannot sell our votes. We cannot sell it. It is the gift, which you have to bring good leadership in our country,” Bishop Kimengich says. 

The Local Ordinary of Kenya’s Eldoret Diocese cautions Kenyans against negative influences from politicians ahead of the August 9 general elections. 

“Please let us not be swayed by anybody; let us not be swayed by money; let us just vote from our conscience and choose the right people not because they come from our tribe, not because they come from our region, but because they are good leaders who will help this country to develop and to prosper,” he says.


In his message, the Kenyan Bishop who has been at the helm of Eldoret Diocese since February 2020 says the Independent Election and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) needs to be well prepared to carry out the August 9 general polls. 

“We pray that they will be ready to conduct these elections in a manner in which it will be fair, it will be free, and it will be credible elections,” he says, adding that if the elections are viewed as credible, free and fair, political candidates “will not complain”.

The Kenyan Bishop who started his Episcopal Ministry as Auxiliary Bishop of Kenya’s Lodwar Diocese says he prays the East African nation does not experience post-election violence. 

“We are asking God to help us so that never again shall our country go through what it went through in the year 2007,” the 61-year-old Kenyan Bishop says in his June 28 message.

Kenya has had a challenging road to the consolidation of its democracy. While the violence following the December 2007 poll that left more than 1,000 people dead and at least 350,000 displaced has widely been reported, the country has witnessed other post-election violence, including the 1992, 1997, 2013, and 2017.

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Eligible voters in Kenya are expected to go to the polls on August 9 to elect their President, Governors, Senators, Members of Parliament, Women representatives, and Members of County Assemblies (MCAs).

In a separate video recording, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Kisii also cautions the electorate in Kenyan against politicians offering bribes. 

Be careful, lest you be deceived because of money or something else,” Bishop Joseph Mairura Okemwa says in the video recording published June 28.

He adds, “The late President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania once said, if you see someone who is actively seeking votes giving you money to vote for him or her, first, ask the person where the money is coming from. Nyerere said such politicians need to be avoided like leprosy.”

“Politicians, we want to see your goodness, your actions, for us to vote for you. Do not bribe us,” Bishop Mairura says.


The 68-year-old Kenyan Bishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in July 1995 urges Kenyans to stop politicians from inciting violence. 

“If a politician's words are likely to spark violence and incite people, we must immediately stop him and let them know that we want peace,” Bishop Mairura says in his video recording published June 28.

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.