The Kenya Catholic Bishops have asked Kenyans to remain patient and peaceful as the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) continues to tally the presidential results of the general elections.
In a statement read by Nyeri Archbishop Anthony Muheria, at the Nyeri Cathedral, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) says that the onus was on Kenyans and the presidential candidates to show the world its resilience and self-control as Kenyans wait for the IEBC to announce the final presidential results.
“We very much understand the anxiety that the entire nation is experiencing at this moment. Above all we understand the tremendous stress that the major players; the IEBC officials, the presidential candidates and their agents and also citizens, all of us are going through due to the tiredness, the long waits and welcome remarks at times that we have experienced. However, we are calling for patience and civility,” said Archbishop Muheria.
At the same time, the Archbishop has called on the IEBC to hasten the verification and tallying of the election results. According to the Archbishop, the long time it has taken for the electoral body to release the results was generating tension and had created a conducive atmosphere for rumours to start spreading in the country.
“The palpable anxiety building up due to the long time it has taken to complete the presidential vote tallying could generate unnecessary tension, rumours and hard feelings amongst Kenyans. We understand and appreciate the need for IEBC to be thorough in ensuring that the process is credible. While we commend the effort, we also encourage the IEBC to do what it takes to conclude the process,” he said.
The Nyeri Archbishop has also asked Kenyans to be wary of Fake News being propagated through social media. Archbishop Muheria said that IEBC was the only body mandated to release verified election results and urged Kenyans to join hands in preventing any form of incitement being spread through online platforms.
“There are people bent on causing unnecessary panic and confusion. We ask you to treat any suspicious or alarming text, image or video you receive on your social media with great caution especially those claiming to have results. Crosscheck any messages you doubt with mainstream media and await the IEBC verified results,” said Archbishop Muheria.
Archbishop Muheria has asked the contestants and Kenyans to accept the outcomes of the elections with dignity. He said that elections like any completion can only yield one winner and urge the candidates and their supporters to accept victory with respect and humility. The Archbishop further challenged those aggrieved to seek redress through the judicial process adding that there was need for the candidates to show great strength in managing disappointing results.
“This election process must end up with only one winner. We understand the disappointment that may arise if your candidate does not win. We have learned a good lesson from many candidates to accept such outcomes with dignity. If aggrieved, pursue redress and justice through the judicial process,” he said.
In his clarion call for unity, the Nyeri Archbishop has also asked Kenyans to continue praying for the country as it transitions to a new political regime. He said that the election process was soon coming to an end and Kenyans would be required to resume their daily routine regardless of their political affiliations.
“Kenya should continue and we must continue working together no matter the political leaning or no matter whether you get the office you desired or not, we must hold hands to continue building our country. It doesn’t matter which candidate you supported or whether you came out victorious or not, must all hold our hands together to build Kenya,” he stated.
The KCCB chairman also called on the youth to avoid being manipulated by politicians to disrupt peace. He said that the youth had a duty to protect the country’s future by upholding peace even after the results have been announced adding that the constitution had provided guidelines for aspirants to follow during an electoral dispute.
“Please do not be used to bring skirmishes or cause violence. The contenders have a way to solve any dissatisfaction in the process through the courts .We remind you that engaging in unlawful acts does not help in any way to build your future. Be wise and stay focused on building and protecting your future,” said the KCCB chairman.
By Wangari Mwangi and Kiama Wamutitu