- The bishops advise voters to seek leaders who commit themselves to fighting corruption and offer concrete action on how to do so.
- They also tell Kenyans to look for qualities of a moral servant leadership and elect visionary leaders.
Catholic bishops on Sunday broke their silence on the ongoing political campaigns and urged voters to reject outlandish proposals by aspirants.
The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops said Kenyans should not vote for politicians proposing to destroy lives of youths through the liberalisation of drug abuse.
Their criticism comes after Roots Party presidential candidate George Wajackoyah promised to legalise bhang should he win the presidency, citing medicinal and economic benefits.
He has said he will turn acres of farmland into bhang plantations. The use of bhang is outlawed in Kenya.
Nyeri Archbishop Anthony Muheria, who spoke on behalf of the clerics, said voters must also reject people supporting abortion and those with the agenda of liberalising outlawed sexual behaviours, including pornography.
They also want voters to reject corrupt leaders. Muheria advised voters to seek leaders who commit themselves to fighting corruption and offer concrete action on how to do so.
“We urge you to refuse to elect any leader who we perceive will propagate the cancer of corruption. An electable leader should detest corruption at all levels and serve as an example to others,” he said.
A leader, he added, must be a person who respects God’s laws and who will promote the traditional African and Christian family values.
Muheria told Kenyans to look for qualities of a moral servant leadership and elect visionary leaders, reconcilers and leaders of high integrity to steer wards, constituencies, counties and the country.
“It is important that we interrogate all candidates on their stand on ethical and moral issues. We can look at their earlier statements and ask them to express what they stand for,” he said.
Muheria said it is unfortunate that some leaders continue to propose, in their agenda, the propagation of immoral and unethical policies
For a nation to thrive, he said, it must be founded on sound ethical principles.
He spoke at Our Lady of Consolata Catholic Cathedral in Nyeri on Sunday when he read a statement on behalf of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops to Kenyans as they head to vote in the forthcoming election.
Muheria, who took Kenyans through the quality they should look for when electing leaders, said leaders should embody the vision of people they lead, involve them in decision making and inspire them to work freely and voluntarily.
“A leader must therefore be humble in exercising his duties. We have very clear and excellent examples of people of this kind,” he said.
He cited the former South African president Nelson Mandela as an icon of reconciliation, and Julius Nyerere of Tanzania as an example of humility notwithstanding the challenges they went through.
Muheria said though Kenyans are not looking forward to electing saints or angels, they should be wary of electing leaders whose performance has continued haunting them after bringing their evil to leadership.
Some, he said, looted public money with impunity and disregarded the rule of law while others instigated deadly fights in communities, including post-election violence.
“We have often witnessed even physical fights among leaders or unrepeatable insults hurled at opponents," he said.
"Our call this Sunday is a caution to avoid careless voting and focus on finding a servant leader in each of the six seats we vote for.”
He said voters should avoid voting casually and carelessly and instead interrogate leaders’ character, morality, value system and what they stand for in the key moral issues.
However, he said, a manifesto to many candidates seemed to be an afterthought and told voters to take the remaining time to carefully read the manifestos presented to them and where possible raise their concerns.
“One way of doing this is to engage the leaders in discussion forums, including media discussions,” he said.
He said Catholic bishops stand for reconciliation of Kenyans by promoting peace and unity and they will not tire of criticising politicians who incite people, especially during election.
(edited by Amol Awuor)