Catholic bishops urge inclusive debate to secure a non-contested plebiscite

NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 30 – The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) has called for an all-inclusive referendum debate to achieve a non-contested referendum on the proposed amendment of the Constitution under the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

Speaking during the ordination of Kitui Catholic Bishop Joseph Mwongela, KCCB Chairperson Rt Rev Philip Anyolo who also doubles up as the Archbishop of Kisumu said the process must not trigger divisions among Kenyans.

“Any proposals for amendments should be acceptable only when it has clear long term goals. Short term proposals having the interests of a few privileged and highly placed individuals must be rejected,” the Archbishop stated.

“A criterion must be put in place that only permits amendments that will advance the national interests applying its guiding principles and going values in Article 10,” Archbishop Anyolo emphasized.

He warned against falling into pitfalls of acrimony by rushing the referendum without listening to others to build consensus on key issues.

“Amendments must be specific and compelling, in the spirit of fostering dialogue and democracy. It is important to listen before rejecting or accepting a proposal for an amendment.”

“Dialogue must guide our movement forward as a cohesive and just democratic country,” he said.

President had earlier stressed that the Church should never vacate its role as the moral conscience of the nation.  

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In a speech read on his behalf by the Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, the Head of State noted that church must not lose its voice even as the country marks ten years under a new constitution.

“The Church must never shy away from playing its rightful role as the conscience of the nation and the reservoir of more sacred values, norms and ethics. In that regard I call upon the church to continue preaching against corruption, ethnic bulkanization, impunity and other greater vices with greater vigour and intensity,” the President said in his speech.

The BBI, a joint initiative by President Kenyatta and ODM Leader Raila Odinga seeks to amend the Constitution to expand the national executive in efforts to attain national unity.

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