, NAIROBI, Kenya May 2 – Civil society groups advocating for the adoption of the new Constitution have challenged religious leaders to clarify whether they have received funds from a US-based anti abortion lobby for campaigns against the draft.
Kituo cha Sheria Executive Director Priscilla Nyokabi said the church was not justified to use the pulpit to indulge in political campaigns.
“They need to come out and give the facts… did they indeed receive the funds? We will need the Church even after we get out of the referendum. I don’t think there is any intention at all to ensure that the church doesn’t continue playing a national role.”
There have been reports that a Washington-based NGO is working through its office in Nairobi to fund churches to oppose the draft constitution on grounds that it will allow “abortion on demand”.
Former PCEA Moderator Timothy Njoya further criticised a section of the church leadership for stating that they would use offerings and tithes from their faithful to finance their No campaigns. He said this would be misuse of the offerings.
According to the retired clergy, the church should not accept to be used to betray the country and its reform process.
“This is negative religiosity which is replacing negative ethnicity; and it to this that people should not pay their tithe or offering to propagate (negativity).
At the same time, the National Civil Society Organization has urged the section of religious leaders leading the No campaign to avoid misleading Kenyans on the contents of the proposed constitution.
Congress Chairman Morris Odhiambo told a press conference on Sunday that they would embark on a nationwide civic education campaign to correct misconception being peddled about land, the right to life and devolution issues.
The groups lauded the move by the church to walk away from consensus talks with the government saying that it was,” unnecessary, uncalled for and a waste of time.”
He said they were ready to tackle the campaigns by the church leaders who have vowed to mobilise their flock against the draft.
“It Yes all the way… it’s all systems go for the civil society and we shall meet the naysayers in the field; so we don’t want to have more sideshows. We want to meet in the field and campaign for the draft constitution.”
They welcomed the Cabinet resolution to back the proposed constitution but rejected calls to fire rebel Cabinet Ministers and Assistant Ministers and urged the principals to allow for divergent views even with the government.