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Religious leaders hold consultative forum on Election preparedness

The Dialogue Reference Group constituting several religious organizations, yesterday, held a consultative meeting with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to deliberate on country’s election preparedness for the forthcoming August 9th polls.

IEBC Chairman, Wafula Chebukati, assured the meeting that the Commission is up to the task and has schedule with the election preparation plans that is to run till August 9th with an audit firm already been procured to undertake the exercise of cleaning up the new voter register.

The Chairman insisted that the Commission cannot do it alone and urged stakeholders, especially the religious community to continue undertaking more consultative meetings, so that the Commission succeed in delivering credible results.

Speaking at the occasion, Canon Chris Kinyanjui, the General Secretary of The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), revealed that religious bodies came up with a 10-point action plan which included, rolling out nationwide prayers both at national and county levels dedicated for a peaceful, free, fair and transparent elections.

Cannon Kinyanjui also expressed commitment of Churches to give moral support and encouragement to the Electoral body as it undertakes the national exercise.

He at the same time said that the religious leaders are committed to continue outreach and follow up conversations with the IEBC and have forged plans to ensure a maximum engagement with their congregants on election matters.

The Council undertook to do  advocacy, increase visibility in the public space and engage state agencies including the judiciary, Ministry of Interior and National Cohesion and Integration Commission, so as to strengthen monitoring, observation as well as rapid response for Gender Based Violence ,interethnic conflicts and insecurity incidences.

The religious team vowed to champion for the creation of elaborate frameworks of conflict mediation arising from disputed elections and ample civic education to be conducted to ensure resilience and adaptation pre, during and post elections.

They also observed that that manifestos need to be scrutinized to ensure they are people-centric and   cater for the plight of citizens. They Cautioned politicians and the congregants against politicizing the issues in church vicinities.

By Bertina Naomi and Omwaka B Rita

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