A section of religious leaders and civil society organizations in Homa-Bay County have urged political leaders to exercise restraint and embrace peaceful coexistence as the 2022 General Election nears.
Homa-Bay County National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) Representative Ken Ouma, SUPKEM Secretary Nuhu Abdul and civil society organizations Chairman Mathews Owili noted that cases of violence are usually witnessed during the electioneering period.
They said supporters of politicians engage in fights due to differences in opinions.
The leaders raised concern that previous trends of electioneering violence may recur should the politicians fail to be tolerant to each other.
Speaking to the press after a county dialogue conference held at St Paul’s Catholic Church in Homa Bay town, Ouma observed that chaos mainly erupt during political party primaries.
“Politicians in Homa Bay should embrace peaceful coexistence, we must be tolerant to divergent views and avoid violence,” Ouma said.
Also in attendance were Suba Council of Elders officials, women group representatives, persons with disabilities representatives amongst others.
They also called on political parties to conduct credible primaries as a way of fostering peace and unity.
Ouma asked the politicians to avoid zoning areas, noting that it impedes development and service delivery.
“We need to bring this culture of zoning to an end because it is a way of segregating people against their right to association,” Ouma said.
Abdul called on politicians to avoid misusing youth to cause chaos. He said that chaotic polls were retrogressive and usually reverse democratic gains.
“Let us engage in a civil manner before, during and after elections. Politicians should avoid intimidation and other retrogressive behaviour that puts others’ lives in danger,” Abdul said.
Owili told politicians to comply with the electoral body’s rules which require them to campaign peacefully.
He appealed to the electoral body to ensure all political parties and aspirants adhere to regulations guiding the conduct of the polls.
“Let those found guilty of violating the laid down procedures be punished,” Owili said.
By Davis Langat