[Anglican Communion News Service] Anglican Church of Kenya Archbishop Eliud Wabukala has called on all Kenyans to pray “fervently” for peace during the forthcoming general elections.
His appeal came in a statement released after a meeting convened by the Anglican Church of Kenya to “consult and reflect” on “healing and reconciliation” as the country approaches its next general elections on March 4.
“Kenyans need to pray for healing and reconciliation in order to overcome the lingering bitterness from past violence,” he said. “Let all Kenyans pray for peace, unity and tolerance. This is a call to fervent, concerted prayer for our nation, her potential leaders and citizens.”
The last general elections in 2007 were marred by violence and killings. More than 1,300 people died and between 180,000 to 250,000 were displaced during the post-election violence.
“While in the past, electoral seasons have been characterized by animosity, tensions and violence, as happened on a grand scale in 2007/2008, we exhort Kenyans to seize the moment and do it differently this time by shunning violence,” said Wabukala.
Wabukala reminded Kenyans of the importance of these particular elections to their country. “We are in a decisive moment that will lay foundations for the future,” he said. “We cannot conduct peaceful campaigns and elections without divine intervention.”
The archbishop also reminded Kenyan voters to take time to examine carefully the candidates aspiring for political office to ensure that “Kenya is led at all levels by men and women who have humility and lead with integrity, transparency, and accountability.”
In a separate interview, Joyce Mwangi, documentation and communications officer for the Anglican Church of Kenya, revealed that the province partnered with the media and other churches in Kenya to organize and broadcast the first-ever televised debate for presidential aspirants on Feb. 14.
“This was a debate with a Christian edge. Issues of morality and ethics such as abortion and corruption took center stage,” she said. “It was an effort to make leaders accountable to the people.” Mwangi also said that through the Kenyan Anglican Youth Organisation, the church has taken a “proactive” role of ensuring that youths actively participate in the elections without engaging in violent activities.
“We have come up with a youth initiative called Wanjika, a Swahili term meaning ‘I will be accountable,'” she said. “It calls upon all the youths in the country to peacefully participate in the elections.”
The Anglican Church in Kenya is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that peace prevails in the elections. “We have asked each and every parish to make sure that every service talks about peace, active participation in elections and the acceptance of the election results,” said Mwangi.
Wabukala also challenged the security wing of government to continuously reassure Kenyans of the plans they have in place to avert a breakdown in law and order during the entire elections period.
“We call upon the inspector general of police to use every legal avenue available to ensure that law and order is maintained during the campaigns, polling and after,” he said. “It is also important for all Kenyans to remain vigilant and alert during the electioneering period in view of the fact that we are still vulnerable to terror attacks.”
The archbishop added: “Let us remember that our beloved nation is for us and the generations to come, our heritage from God. We have a responsibility to build a stable, prosperous and godly nation for ourselves and for those who will come after us, otherwise, history will judge this generation harshly.”