Catholic Bishops urge dialogue to resolve ballot printing row

June 20, 2017 5:34 pm
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Speaking after releasing a Pastoral Letter on the General Election, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) said the IEBC should consider cancelling the tender in case dialogue fails to achieve consensus/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 20 – Catholic Bishops are calling for dialogue between the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and political parties as a means of resolving the stalemate surrounding the award of the ballot papers printing tender to a Dubai-based firm.

Speaking after releasing a Pastoral Letter on the General Election, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) said the IEBC should consider cancelling the tender in case dialogue fails to achieve consensus.

Eldoret Catholic Diocese Archbishop Cornelius Korir cautioned the IEBC against forcing through the ballot printing contract, adding that the credibility of the August 8 poll should be of priority.

“If the dialogue reaches a deadlock, the whole thing should be cancelled because it is good to move to the General Election with all parties agreeing,” Archbishop Korir said.

National Super Alliance (NASA) presidential candidate Raila Odinga has opposed award of the tender, claiming the owners of the firm are intimately acquainted with the Kenyatta family and have on several occasion engaged with President Uhuru Kenyatta himself.

IEBC on its part argues that it awarded the tender to Al-Ghurair Printing and Publishing Company because the firm has printed ballot papers which the Commission has used in several by-elections since 2014.

But NASA demanded that the tender to Al-Ghurair be cancelled, stating that IEBC’s argument that there is simply no time to switch printers fails to hold water.

Meanwhile, in their Pastoral Letter, the Catholic Bishops through Mombasa Catholic Diocese Archbishop Martin Kivuva called on Kenyans to hold elect leaders with integrity

“The electorate should detest and refuse to be used by politicians. The electorate should reject, at the ballot box, any politician who inflicts fear in people,” said Kivuva, who is also the Vice Chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC).

The archbishop encouraged Kenyans to scrutinise aspiring candidates and, ‘vote for individuals with integrity.’

“The voter is the actual person who can give the final verdict that is why we are encouraging Kenyans to accept to do the right thing. We have heard people say; that guy is no good, but he is our thief. They are personalizing things that are not even part of our elections. Our appeal to the Kenyans is; vote for the good guy,” he said.

KCCB Chairman Reverend Phillip Anyolo said the Catholic Church will not endorse any of the presidential candidates but has instead urged its followers to vote wisely.

The Catholic Bishops further called on political parties to present their manifestos to the electorate, explain them and make them available to everyone.

The bishops called for free, fair and peaceful elections adding that Kenyans must weigh the qualities of every leader on the ballot paper.

“We call on Kenyans to reject the agenda of some politicians that is not family-friendly. Let us remember that we are entrusting our future and that of our families into their hands,” read the KCCB Pastoral Letter.

“We must resist and reject any form of incitement.”

The Pastoral Letter, a commentary routinely written by the clergy to the congregation on a particular subject, was endorsed by Cardinal John Njue and the Bishops across the country.

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