President Uhuru Kenyatta has been asked not to impose any presidential candidate on Kenyans ahead of the 2022 General Election.
Addressing journalists after a consultative meeting in Chuka town in Tharaka Nithi County on Saturday, a Tharaka Nithi County Dialogue Reference Group said the President should allow Kenyans to elect the person they want without coercion.
Rev Silas Wamugunda, the group’s chairman said President Kenyatta should be ready to hand over power to the person that Kenyans will elect as their next president.
“President Uhuru has done a lot of work during his tenure that is expiring next year and should let Kenyans exercise their democratic rights by deciding who becomes the next president,” said Mr Wamugunda.
He urged the Head of State and his deputy Dr William Ruto to put aside their personal differences and reconcile for the purposes of development and unity of the country.
He said though the popular handshake between Uhuru and the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) chief Raila Odinga brought peace to the country, it can only be fulfilled if all leaders are included in the deal.
The lobby also called for peaceful campaigns and asked the government to adequately fund the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and other institutions charged with the responsibilities of ensuring free-fair and credible elections.
Mr Wamugunda said the IEBC will not achieve its six million new voters in the ongoing voter registration exercise if it will not improve its performance.
He said turnout at the registration centres is very low because IEBC is not working with social groups like churches that can easily reach people.
He raised concerns that some youths were waiting to be facilitated by politicians to register as voters.
“If you wait for a politician to facilitate you in order to register as a voter you will never be free to vote for the right person,” he said.
He also asked the government to tame its appetite for loans that have plunged the country into an economic crisis. He said the cost of living had become unbearable and Kenyans are not able to adequately meet basic needs.
The lobby group draws its members from the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), Ameru Njuri Ncheke Council of Elders and Maendeleo ya Wanawake among others.