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Bishops propose radical changes to the presidency

Saturday April 14 2018

CORRUPTION

Cardinal John Njue (left) and Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops Chairman Philip Anyolo hold a news conference in Ruaraka on April 14, 2018. They denounced corruption in the country. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

AGEWA MAGUT
By AGEWA MAGUT
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Catholic bishops on Friday called for a national conference to discuss electoral reforms and the review of the constitution for an expanded executive.

The bishops said that the conference should be an extension of the political truce between President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga, whom they asked to show more commitment to the handshake deal.

“We call for an all-inclusive roundtable conference that will iron out all the differences that have been separating Kenyans.

"Among the matters that need urgent attention is the review of the constitution in light of the contentious issues that emerged during the recent elections,” retired Rev Phillip Anyolo, Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) chairman said in Nairobi.

VIOLENCE
The bishops suggested that the presidency be structured in a way that will make it above political parties to prevent the bitter rivalries and conflicts that have arisen in 2007 as well as 2017 due to elections.

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Speaking during the conference’s State of the Nation address, the priests condemned the ongoing campaign for various political seats ahead of the 2022 general election.

“We find the 2022 succession politics extremely unhealthy, retrogressive, time-wasting and very selfish,” Rt Rev Anyolo.

CORRUPTION
The clerics also condemned corruption in the country, calling for the immediate punishment of corrupt parties within the national and county governments.

They noted that the vice is rampant in the counties, where tribalism is practised openly and government officials hire their relatives and cronies.

“It is no longer about service delivery and professionalism but ‘our turn to eat’.

"County governments must be held accountable for the money they have received and has not been utilised for the purpose intended,” he added.

PROSECUTION
He said that Kenya should follow the examples of Brazil and South Korea, which have prosecuted crooked leaders, including former presidents, for their corrupt dealings.

The clergy further asked Kenyans to desist from facilitating graft.

Vice chairman John Oballa Owaa said it was sad that Kenyans have to use patronage to access government services.

He cited the recent saga whereby 130 people were conned into buying fake admission letters during the Kenya Defence Forces recruitment.

The clergymen also pointed out the sorry state of the Police service.

Police officers have also been urged to shun all forms of corruption in a bid to improve their image.

A programme to instil moral and humane values to the service was suggested.

Kenya currently ranks 143rd out 180 countries in the Transparency International’s annual corruption index that was released in February this year.