Churches want election date moved, sovereignty of religion protected
- Michael Chepkwony
- Posted on: 28th Feb 2019 00:00:00 GMT +0300
Churches want the election date moved from August to December in a raft of proposals to amend the Constitution. In a statement yesterday, the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) supported a referendum on constitutional changes, including that of poll dates, to ensure elected leaders completed their five-year terms. The churches also want Article 8 of the 2010 Constitution, which reads “There shall be no state religion” deleted and replaced with “State and Religion shall be separate.” “This is to concretise the separation between the State and religion and to ensure that the State does not interfere with religion,” argued NCCK in statement read by its General Secretary Canon Peter Karanja. The proposal comes in the wake of a plan to introduce a law to regulate churches, including setting up minimum qualifications for preachers and tightening registration. The churches said the proposals came after an extensive discussion within the council and consultation of the public. Prime Minister They also want the Executive expanded to create positions of Prime Minister and two deputies from different ethnic communities to promote inclusion and unity. At the same time, NCCK wants constituencies reduced to 150 from 290 to reduce what it described as over-representation and the burden of having many leaders. The churches further want the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission scrapped and in its place another entity, Serious Economic and Financial Crimes Commission created to address cases of corruption. Canon Karanja said this would create a serious channel to pursue stolen funds stacked in foreign accounts “rather than running after police taking Sh10 bribes.” For a successful referendum, NCCK said the process should be devoid of politics. The council asked Kenyans to actively engage in the process. The NCCK officials were addressing the media after a two-day conference in Limuru. The statement by NCCK comes months after another religious organisation, the Ufungamano-Joint Forum of Religious Organisations, also declared their support for constitutional amendments. On May last year, the group said it would push for reduction of the number of county governments from 47 to 16 economic blocs, with the current counties becoming sub-counties.