Wednesday, April 28, 2010

THE CHURCH DECLARES IT STAND

Christian groups have begun preparations to formally launch the No campaign against the draft constitution a day after the Cabinet shut the door on changes before the referendum.

The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) Thursday criticised the Cabinet on the decision it took arguing that it ought to have remained neutral so as to facilitate consensus building.

And on the suggestion that changes could be done after the referendum, the NCCK said the government could no longer be trusted.

“We did no consider the offer to be honest. The Church participated in the talks in spirit and with a lot of patience hoping to steer the country forward on the right path but we have been duped,” said NCCK deputy general secretary Oliver Kisaka during the Nairobi region conference in Limuru.

“All the options the church had to build consensus have been systematically closed. We have no option but to reject the proposed law.”

The clerics said the whole exercise was clouded in mischief to delay the No team from launching its campaign as the Yes team toured the country promoting the proposed law.

“We have already begun mobilising support against the draft but we shall formally launch the campaign soon,” he said.

The NCCK supported the action by the Kenya Christian Church Leaders to pull out of the meeting with the government with Rev Kisaka reiterating they would not renege on that position.

When asked whether they would attend the meetings, he retorted: “Somebody has already taken a decision without engaging us. How then can we meet"?

Rev Kisaka said the Church’s strong opposition to draft stems from the failures the clergy noted at the 2005 referendum. At the time the Church asked its followers to read the draft law and decide on their own how they would vote.

“We failed to give leadership in 2005, so now we must guide our flock on the right path. We cannot afford a repeat at this time,” he said.

The Church objects to the clause on abortion and retention of kadhis' court in the proposed law.

The NCCK insisted that failure to amend the contentious areas would result in injustice, leading to inequality and conflict.

“Recognising that these issues have been raised time and again by the church yet ignored by the organs of review, and noting the decision made by the cabinet yesterday (Tuesday), we announce here today (Thursday) that we are mobilising our members to vote No at the referendum,” said Bishop Joseph Kilioba who read the NCCK statement.

The draft, the clerics noted was defective in its architecture and spirit

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