Use peaceful negotiation to tackle electoral reforms matter - says archbishop

Monday January 2 2017

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Anglican Church of Kenya Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit has urged politicians to embrace dialogue to prevent violence as the country prepares for elections.

Speaking at All Saints Cathedral during the New Year service, Archbishop Sapit said the contention surrounding proposed changes to the election laws should not be used to fan conflicts.

“The bill on electoral reforms and processes, particularly on the use of the BVR machines and the manual system during voting, should not be politicised as that can divide our country,” he said.

The Senate will next week debate the changes suggested by the National Assembly last month.

Voters have been invited to present their views to the Senate by midday Tuesday.

The MPs have recommended including manual voting as a backup in the event that the electronic voting system fails, a proposal the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) has opposed.

Led by Raila Odinga, the coalition has said a manual system would create a fissure through which the elections may be rigged.

Archbishop Sapit said properly managed negotiations would provide an atmosphere for effective decision-making.

“It is our hope, as religious leaders who are preaching for the peace of this country, that politicians will resort to resolving issues through dialogue and not by use of abusive language....” he said.

He also advised voters to choose leaders objectively, not on tribal lines.