Religious leaders now want Ruto, Raila to sign pact to accept poll outcome

Hate speech

By signing the commitment, the candidates will be committing to ensure peace will prevail during and after the elections.

Photo credit: Getty Images

A group of religious leaders now want the leading presidential candidates to sign an agreement committing to accepting the outcome of the August 9 polls.

Ufungamano Joint Forum for Religious Organisations (U-JFRO) says by signing the commitment, the candidates will be committing to ensure peace will prevail during and after the elections.

Deputy President William Ruto and Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition boss Raila Odinga are the leading presidential contenders in the race that has also attracted businessman Jimi Wanjigi (Safina) and 46 independent aspirants.

“The elections must be fair and we urge all Kenyans to accept the outcome of the elections. All the Presidential candidates should sign and tell Kenyans publicly that they will concede defeat if they lose and will follow the rule of law,” the organisation said in a statement.

The leaders have further urged the Independent and Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to assure Kenyans of a free and fair elections.

“We call upon the IEBC to be thorough in its work and to spare no effort in preparing for the General Election and managing elections and to act on the politicians who undermine the electoral process,” they added.

They have further termed the utterances made by political leaders during campaigns as unfortunate and divisive.

They also urge Kenyans not to be divided on the basis of their political affiliation.

The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), the body mandated by the constitution to address inter-ethnic conflicts, has already identified 23 counties that are likely to be potential violence hotspots ahead of the elections in August.

They include Kericho, Isiolo, Lamu, Bungoma, Kakamega, Vihiga, Trans Nzoia, Marsabit, Kiambu, Nyamira, Homa Bay, Nandi, Bomet, Murang’a, Kirinyaga, Garissa, Siaya, Kisumu, Uasin Gishu, Nakuru, Mombasa, Nairobi and Migori.

It has also recently issued a list of hate words although most of the politicians have defied the directive by the commission.

Since its formation, there have been concerns over its ability to take action against hatemongers. Although it summons the leaders, most of the cases are dropped due to lack of evidence.

At the same time, Chief Justice Martha Koome has also announced the creation of 5 special courts to deal with individuals propagating hate during the electioneering period.

A total of 120 judges, 480 magistrates, and 400 judicial staff will be trained on how to handle such cases with those found culpable being barred from contesting in the polls.