Kenya: “Practicing Peace Rather than Creating Structures for Violence”

Religious leaders denounce the formation of militias “who sow violence” ahead of the General Election.

In a statement on the preparations taking place for the next Kenyan General Election in 2017, religious leaders have said: “We appeal to all politicians with their vested interests to cease making elections a matter of life and death for Kenyans”.

The statement, issued by the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya, which comprises the Episcopal Conference of Kenya as well as several other Christian, Muslim, and Hindu denominations in the country, continues: “It is immoral and sinful for anyone who is seeking a position to casually posit that Kenyans can die and be maimed just so that they achieve their political ambitions”. Social media is awash with messages aimed at fuelling ethnic prejudice and division.

The religious leaders also denounced the creation of militias in advance of the election: “We are especially disgusted that politicians and aspirants at different levels are creating militias whose sole intent is to visit violence on Kenyans. This must be stopped forthwith. We especially urge you to begin preaching and practicing peace rather than creating structures for violence”.

The statement also refers to the responsibilities of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEBC), calling on the Commission to establish a clear register of voters and to check the proper functioning of the electronic devices that will be used at polling stations, as those used in previous elections “failed miserably”.

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