Stop inciting Kenyans, Anglican Church urges politicians

What you need to know:

  • ACK says inflammatory remarks will set a bad tone as the country heads to the next General Election due on March 4, 2013.

The Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) has condemned politicians who issue inciting statements likely to divide Kenyans.

The church said the inflammatory remarks will set a bad tone as the country heads to the next General Election due on March 4, 2013.

“We are concerned at the impunity being displayed by some political leaders through utterances that are offensive, divisive and potentially damaging to the fragile inter-ethnic relations.

“This is irresponsible and careless as the leaders are in public limelight and widely quoted in mass media …this is unacceptable and we condemn it,” said ACK Archbishop Eliud Wabukala Thursday during a news conference at Imani Guest House in Nakuru.

He was referring to Embakasi MP’s Ferdinand Waititu statement that urged his supporters to evict the Maasai from his constituency.

On Thursday, the MP was charged in court with two counts of incitement to violence. Mr Waititu denied the charges and was remanded into custody.

"As a church, we have reflected on what is happening in our country and we feel the need to raise our voice to speak and warn the nation and our leaders," Archbishop Wabukala said.

The House of Bishops, the ACK’s top decision making organ, said politicians have developed a habit of inciting Kenyans and then issuing apologies.

Dr Wabukala said that apologies should not be used to undermine justice.

“Kenyans yearn for a nation where there is respect for the rule of law, human rights, equality and integrity,” he said.

“Let each Kenyan and leaders reflect on their personal and collective conduct because each action will have far reaching effects on our future generations.”

In order to avert a security crisis, the church demanded the appointment of an Inspector General of Police as a matter of urgency. They said that they were appalled by the continued delay on police reforms.

This, they said, could undermine security during the elections.

“It is the responsibility of the security forces to gather and act on intelligence reports in such areas to prevent future conflicts,” the bishops asserted.

Raise voice

Separately, presidential hopeful Peter Kenneth has condemned Mr Waititu’s actions and urged Kenyans to raise their voices against any incitement to violence by politicians.

“Memories of the destructive violence we experienced in 2007/08 are yet to fade as Kenyans continue to live in IDP camps,” he said in a statement.

He regretted that as Kenyans prepare for the elections, they have experienced a wave of violence in Tana River, Mombasa, Wajir and Mandera Counties, which have been attributed to political incitement.

“The most recent remarks by a Member of Parliament (Mr Waititu) this week against a particular community in his constituency all together is unacceptable and must face the full force of the law to serve as a warning,” he said.

"We can't afford to let Kenya burn again,” he said.

Mr Kenneth said that he had signed the 'I am Kenyan' pledge committing him to conducting a peaceful election campaign.

“I am encouraged by and proud of many individuals and organisations who have taken it upon themselves to promote peaceful coexistence before, during and after the elections.”

He urged all candidates aspiring for leadership positions to take up the pledge and live by it for the sake of the country.

“All of us must engage in peace building by promoting our Kenyan identity and shunning the meaningless ethnic hatred fuelled by unfounded prejudices,” he said.

Additional reporting by Yvonne Kawira

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