By Michelle Anzaya
Religious leaders from across the country have pledged to rally Kenyans in supporting the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) conduct credible elections.
The leaders from various faith communities expressed their readiness and willingness to engage state agencies the in preparation of the the forthcoming August 9th polls.
Speaking during a press briefing after a lengthy consultative meeting between with IEBC, the religious leaders stated that they will fully support the body to ensure that the entire election process will not only be free and fair but it will also be conducted peacefully
“We shall undertake advocacy work and increase our visibility in the public space as well as engage state agencies such as ORPP, CJ, the interior CS, the Inspector General of Police, NCIC, parliamentary committees and leadership of National Assembly and Senate,” said n canon Chris Kinyanjui.
Among the commitments that the religious leaders presented were to roll out nationwide prayers at National and Sub-National levels dedicated to peaceful, free and transparent elections.
The leaders also confirmed to chair Wafula Chebukati that they will put place elaborate frameworks for conflict mediation arising from disputes emerging from the elections at all levels and they shall continue outreach and follow-engagements with IEBC and partner with IEBC in conducting voter education.
“Most of the procurements for the entire election process have been done and we are therefore up to date,” said the IEBC chair, Wafula Chebukati. “We have two civic educators per ward across the country to ensure correct and information concerning the election process is readily available to all voters,” he continued.
The members of the dialogue group comprised religious leaders representing various religious bodies such as; Evangelical Alliance of Kenya, Hindu Council of Kenya, Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Council of Churches of Kenya, National Muslim Leadership Forum, Organization of African Institute of Kenya, Seventh Day Adventist Church and Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims.
The religious leaders also stated that they shall strengthen monitoring and observation as well as rapid response: monitoring for gender based violence, inter-ethnic conflicts and insecurity incidences, strengthen civic education, community resilience and adaptation mechanisms to ensure safety and welfare for all throughout the pre, during and post-election period and scrutinize candidate and party manifestos to ensure they are citizen-centric and address the plight of children especially vulnerable ones.