Clergy urge Uhuru Kenyatta not to sign amended poll laws
Religious leaders have appealed to President Kenyatta not to assent to the amended election laws passed by the Parliament on Thursday.
The National Council of Churches of Kenya and Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims on Friday said failure to approve the law would help prevent another round of political violence come 2017.
The move by Jubilee raised political mistrust, the clergy said, adding that signing of the changes into law would be a recipe for violence.
“The president should rise above partisan interests by rejecting those amendments. Laws that come to place through negotiated processes cannot be brought back by one side and changed the way it happened in Parliament,” Supkem Deputy Secretary-General Hassan ole Naado said.
The clergy said if Jubilee had issues with the laws, they should have been taken back to the joint committee that negotiated and agreed on them.
“This is unfair and we hope the president will not sign the disputed law. It creates distrust that will also undermine the ongoing IEBC commissioners selection. If any changes have to be pursued, the select committee structure is the only route,” he added.
The leaders also called on the opposition led by Raila Odinga to give dialogue a chance instead of resorting to demonstrations after the laws were passed Parliament.
On Thursday, Jubilee-affiliated MPs forcibly changed Elections Laws (Amended) Act, allowing the electoral commission to use an alternative manual system if the electronic voter identification system collapses.
The changes also allow the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to come up with a manual system of transmitting results.
But the opposition has opposed the provisions, saying the ruling coalition wants to use them to rig the elections.
The Evangelical Alliance of Kenya separately made a similar call to Mr Kenyatta and Mr Odinga.
In a statement signed by General-Secretary Connie Kivuti, the alliance condemned political leaders’ grand-standing on electoral reforms.
They urged Jubilee and Cord leaders to dialogue and resolve the impasse.
“Failure to go back to the negotiating table, will have devastating impact on the peace of this country and especially in a year of election. We are afraid that this wedge will be used to tear the national cohesion fibre, which have hitherto been garnered, and is poised to bring about ethnic tensions across the nation,” they said.
The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops-Catholic Justice and Peace Commission raised similar concerns in a statement on Thursday.