Kenyans urged to maintain peace as court rules on petition

The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) secretary general Rev Peter Karanja (left) with chairperson Rev Rosemary Mbogo (centre) and vice chairman Archbishop Timothy Ndambuki (right) during a news conference at Jumuia Conference Centre in Limuru March 21, 2013. The church leaders urged Kenyans to maintain peace as they wait for the Supreme Court's verdict on the presidential petitions. ANTHONY OMUYA

Protestant churches have urged Kenyans to remain peaceful as they await the Supreme Court's verdict on the presidential petitions.

The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) called for a ban of all political gatherings that could inflame tensions in the country.

NCCK General Secretary Reverend Peter Karanja said only the Supreme court can arbitrate on the disputed March 4 elections.

"There were difficulties as outlined in the media but overall the elections were peaceful. The fairness has been disputed and only the Supreme court is competent enough to determine it," the Rev Karanja said at the Jumuia Conference Centre in Limuru after two days of NCCK executive committee meeting.

He said leaders dissatisfied with the electoral process should argue their case in court.

The NCCK urged politicians and their supporters to abide by the outcome and judgment of the Supreme Court.

They regretted that the recent outbursts by Prime Minister Raila Odinga and President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta "threaten to derail the peace and tranquillity that has prevailed in the country through this elections period."

"We therefore urge you (Mr Odinga and Mr Kenyatta) to show leadership by being completely humble, gentle, patient, and bearing with one another in love. Your honours, it is imperative that you refrain from statements and actions that would provoke hatred and tensions between your supporters," the Rev Karanja said.

The Rev Karanja, who was accompanied by NCCK chairperson Rosemary Mbogo, called on Kenyans to stop spreading hate, anger and discord on social media. He called on the Director of Public Prosecutions to take action against individuals who engage in hate speech.

NCCK noted that the recent elections had exposed deep divisions among Kenyans and that NCCK was working on healing and reconciliation programmes.

It urged Kenyans to participate in governance issues at the county levels through their governors and county assemblies.

"It is our duty to ensure that the strategies, policies and laws that are put in place reflect the priorities of the people, are inclusive and consistent with our national values and constitutional principles," the Rev Karanja said.