Anglican bishops have urged the political class to stop bickering and instead focus on implementing the new Constitution.
In a dispatch to newsrooms after a two-day meeting at Nairobi’s All Saints Cathedral, the bishops noted that the nation’s focus should be on reforms, national unity and the fight against corruption and not political bickering and sideshows.
Archbishop Eliud Wabukala who signed the communiqué said the foul language used by politicians was “careless utterances” and reminded them that “leadership came with heavy responsibilities”.
The bishops’ counsel came just a day after the National Cohesion and Integration Commission cautioned Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto to stop using abusive language.
The bishops were categorical that those implicated in corruption scandals should be kicked out because their being in office “threaten(ed) to erode gains made in national reforms".
“All public servants implicated and charged with corruption, impropriety, neglect, abuse of office or any other scandal, must step aside,” they said.
The bishops, who prior to the referendum on the new Constitution six months ago, had campaigned for a ‘No’ vote, said the time had come for Kenyans to support the implementation process because the new law belongs to all Kenyans.
“We now have a new constitution that belongs to all the people of Kenya irrespective of how they voted at the national referendum in August last year. The Church encourages all Kenyans to respect our new constitution and to keep the government accountable in its implementation,” read the bishops’ dispatch.
They made a plea to President Kibaki and Mr Odinga to hold “continuous and meaningful consultations” as they go on with the appointment of key State officers under the new Constitution.
MPs too did not escape the ire of the men of cloth. They said their style of rushing to the media whenever they fail to garner support in the House has to come to a stop.
“We urge (them) to use their time in Parliament in conducting mature, issue-based debates and avoid running to the media to air their views when there are fall-outs. Further, politicians need to recognise that national issues are not party issues thus politicisation of national issues should be avoided,” the bishops said.
A fallout in the coalition government and within the coalition parties arose following a political dispute over the nomination of a Chief Justice, Attorney General, Director of Public Prosecution and Controller of Budget.
The nominations have since been withdrawn (Read: Kibaki withdraws list of nominees, PM welcomes move), but the political tremors that surrounded the controversy continue to be heard in Parliament, with parties threatening to expel some MPs for taking positions contrary to that of the party.
“Our politicians should commit themselves to working towards ensuring an equitable distribution of resources and the strengthening of institutions that will ensure good governance and put a stop to the relentless pursuit for power,” the bishops said.
They declared the theme for the decade 2011-2020 as “together in Christ”.