Religious leaders have asked president William Ruto and opposition leader Raila Odinga to open dialogue to prevent the country sliding into political abyss.
Addressing Ruto and Raila separately, the leaders under the auspices of the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), appealed for the repeal of the contentious Finance Act 2023.
“Your Excellency, the nation God appointed you to lead is not in a good state. We appeal to you to hear the cry of the people of Kenya, being guided by the wisdom of God found in the Bible…and in the Q’uran. We urge you to reverse Kenya’s downward spiral into the abyss by adopting policies and strategies that give Kenyans hope while addressing the economic challenge in both short and long terms.” Read part of a statement addressed to the president as read by Chairman of Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) Reverend Martin Kivuva on behalf of the team.
“We once again appeal that your administration repeals the Finance Act 2023 so as to review the heavy taxation burden it imposes on Kenyans. Maintaining the prevailing tax levels will give citizens a chance to recover their livelihoods and inspire hope for the future.” Kivuva added.
In a direct address to opposition leader Raila Odinga, the religious leaders said they recognized the cardinal position he holds as the leader of opposition which gives him the opportunity to contribute to the current and future of the nation.
“We now appeal to you to overhaul the tactical approach adopted by the Azimio la Umoja coalition recognizing that the current push for mass action is pushing the country into insurrection. The tension, violence and shedding of blood is making the situation worse for the people of Kenya, rather than solving the problems they are struggling with. Indeed, the destruction of businesses as well as public and private property is pushing the cost of living higher, not lower. We urge you to embrace dialogue and consultations as a strategy for addressing grievances so as to promote reconciliation. The threat of collecting signatures so as to overthrow the government is dangerous for the country and should be withdrawn.” Read the address to Raila.
At the same time, Reverend Kivuva asked Kenyans across the religious divide to resort to prayer to redeem the country from heading to the wrong direction.
“Further, Your Excellency, we urge that you open the way for dialogue and consultations as a way of addressing the long standing and deep-seated grievances in the country so as to promote healing and reconciliation.” The statement read in part.
The meeting was also attended by the head of the Anglican Church of Kenya Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit.