NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 14 — The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) has urged President William Ruto to reach out the opposition for dialogue in a bid to forestall the escalation of ongoing protests.
Speaking to the media on Tuesday, the council called an end to adversarial politics to tackle challenged facing the nation.
“Your Excellency (Ruto), as a symbol of national unity, we ask you to focus the nation’s attention on oneness, equity and equality of all Kenyans,” NCCK stated.
“It is of essence that you take leadership in reaching out to the opposition to promote dialogue for the betterment of the nation as the challenges we are facings as the nation require national conversations and not adversarial politics.”
The religious leaders also urged the opposition party led by Azimio leader Raila Odinga to adopt an issue-based and solution-oriented approach or risk being seen as champions of anarchy.
They called the opposition to propose viable solutions to ameliorate the immense suffering Kenyans are experiencing.
“We urge the opposition to reconsider the proposed mass action programme and instead embrace dialogue and other peaceful approaches that do not threaten the lives and livelihoods of Kenyans,” the council stated.
The NCCK called upon Kenyans to firmly resist political and social leaders who drive divisions and bitterness and embrace those who focus on developing solutions for the challenges the country is facing.
NCCK’s statement came amid pockets of protests across the country following Odinga’s call for mass action.
Odinga had threatened mass action during a “National Prayer Day” at Jeevanje Gardens on February 22 when he issued a 14-day ultimatum to the government.
He demanded the suspension of recruitment of IEBC commissioners following the exit of seven members.
The slots became vacant after the tenure of three commissioners — Wafula Chebukati (Chairperson), Boya Molu and Yakub Guliye — came to and end.
Three others — Juliana Cherera (Vice Chairperson), Francis Wanderi and Justus Nyang’aya — resigned after Ruto appointed a tribunal to probe their conduct.
Cherera, Wanderi and Nyang’aya were part of a dissenting faction which included Irene Masit that disowned the outcome of the presidential election.
Witnesses who appeared before the tribunal led by Justice Aggrey Muchelule accused the Cherera faction of seeking to moderate election results to overturn Ruto’s victory.
Azimio supporters in Kisumu’s Kondele and Migori has since taken to the streets as Azimio leaders ready for what has been billed as a mother of all protests in Nairobi on March 20.
The turnout of supporters in protests recoded so far has however been visibly low compared to mass action in the past.