Ahead of Postponed Governor Poll in Kenyan County, Catholic Bishop Advocates for Peace

Bishop Joseph Obanyi Sagwe. Credit: ACI Africa

The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Kakamega in Kenya has called upon the people of God under his Pastoral care to maintain peace as the electorate in the Kenyan County prepare to elect their Governor.

Kakamega County in Western Kenya is among the eight elective areas where the general elections that were held on August 9 were postponed to a later date amid errors in the ballot papers.

In a Monday, August 22 meeting that brought together officials of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and political candidates of the affected areas, August 29 was selected for the elections. 

“My message is that we have peaceful elections and life continues as usual,” Bishop Joseph Obanyi Sagwe told ACI Africa during the Thursday, August 25 interview.

Bishop Obanyi predicted a low turnout in the gubernatorial elections, attributing it partly to the disputed Presidential election, with petitions filed in Kenya’s Supreme Court. 


“We may have lost hope but I think as usual, the turn out will be low,” the 55-year-old Kenyan Bishop who has been at the helm of the Kakamega Diocese since his Episcopal Ordination in March 2015 said.

He added, “Some people imagine that their votes have been stolen at the presidential race and may see no reason in voting at the gubernatorial polls.”

On August 15, amid tension and tight security, IEBC chairman, Wafula Chebukati, declared Dr. William Ruto the winner of the tight Presidential poll with 50.49% of the valid votes, against his main challenger, former Prime Minister who garnered 48.85%. 

Raila Amolo Odinga rejected the declared presidential results and on August 22, through the political coalition he leads, Azimio La Umoja, filed a petition in Kenya’s Supreme Court seeking to have Dr. Ruto’s victory overturned. 

Eight other petitions have been filed at the Nairobi-based court, all citing illegalities and irregularities in the Presidential election results, and praying that the court overturns the win of Dr. Ruto.

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Four of the seven IEBC Commissioners disowned the presidential poll results that Mr. Chebukati announced. At a Press Conferencing at Nairobi’s Serena Hotel, the four distanced themselves from the results that were to be announced, saying, “Because of the opaque nature on how this phase has been handled, we cannot take ownership of the results that is going to be announced”

In the August 25 interview with ACI Africa, Bishop Obanyi urged IEBC officials to conduct free, fair and credible elections on August 29 so as to avoid chaotic scenes that marred the declaration of the Presidential results at the Bomas of Kenya auditorium, with Mr. Chebukati being assaulted by a section of Kenyan politicians before security agents intervened.

In their August 9 message, faith leaders in Kenya called upon the electorate affected by the postponement to exercise patience.

“We urge the voters and candidates in the affected areas to remain peaceful and patient as they await the opportunity to vote for their leaders,” the religious leaders representing the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) and the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) said.

Asked about the presidential election petitions filed in the Supreme Court, Bishop Obanyi said, “Whoever wins will be our next president.”


Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.