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Raila urges the church to support the building bridges initiative

ODM leader Raila Odinga has called on the church leaders to support the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) as their flock stood to reap much from the reforms.

Raila said the church played an integral role during the collection of views and should ensure the process succeeds.

Speaking Tuesday in Homa Bay High school during the ordination of Catholic Bishop Michael Odiwa, Raila expressed concern over a section of the church which was opposed to the BBI constitutional changes.

            Railas’ sentiments come after some church leaders, including the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops called for the rejection of the BBI report, saying some of its contents were dangerous to the country.

Conference Chairman Philip Anyolo had claimed that BBI would increase the wage bill when the executive is expanded.

Muslims under their umbrella body Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (Supkem) had also faulted the report.

Raila questioned why some church leaders were complaining that their issues were left out yet their leaders’ views had been captured, adding that churches had been given ample time to present views to the BBI taskforce.

Some of the church leaders who were in the taskforce included Catholic Bishop Zachaus Okoth and Bishop Njenga of the Anglican Church among others.

 “The church has played a very critical role during difficult times in the history of this country. They defended human rights and therefore we would like to see them on our side,” Raila said.

Raila told the church to ignore lies perpetrated by those opposed to the constitutional

Amendments, and argued that the same leaders propagated propaganda during the 2010 Constitutional amendments.

“They spread lies that the constitution would allow gay marriage and legalize abortion. Let the church help us support what will positively transform the country,” Raila said.

He said BBI will help to improve governance and entrench devolution in the country.

“More money will come to the counties and cabinet ministers picked from Parliament, hence save funds currently paid to cabinet ministers,” he added.

Raila was accompanied by Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti, his Deputy Hamilton Orata, Senator Moses Kajwang and Woman Rep. Gladys Wanga among other dignitaries.

The ODM leader dismissed leaders who question his religious background saying he is an ardent Anglican Church member.

Wamalwa said the church had an important role in preaching peace and therefore should support BBI which advocates for peace in the country.

 “We would like to walk together with  church  towards  creation of peace. We want to partner with the church for the success of BBI,” Wamalwa said.

The CS criticized leaders opposing the handshake between President Kenyatta and Raila, saying the move was for the good of the nation.

 He asked Kenyans to shun divisive politics in the run up to next year’s elections. He said the handshake was similar to the one between Nelson Mandela and Fredrick De Klerk in South Africa in early nineties.

Governor Awiti urged residents to vote in support of the BBI during referendum.

“We can’t afford to have chaos every electioneering period. The panacea is adoption of BBI,” Awiti said.

His sentiments were echoed by Gladys Wanga and Senator Kajwang.

by Davis Langat.

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