, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 12 – Christian leaders on Monday re-emphasised that they will not change their stand on the proposed Constitution.
Led by National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) Secretary General Canon Peter Karanja, the leaders told a news conference that they would urge their followers to vote against the draft in the referendum if their concerns are not addressed.
“For avoidance of doubt, we here state that if the cardinal issues raised by the church are not addressed before the referendum, our members remain mobilised to vote No,” he stated and expressed displeasure with the government for campaigning for the draft yet they were still in consultations to develop consensus.
“The intensifying Yes campaigns by senior government representatives appealing for support of the draft as it is and categorical statements that it cannot be amended are regrettable,” said Canon Karanja.
The church leaders further accused the government of leaking the resolutions of the closed-door meeting held last Thursday which they said was likely to jeopardise the talks.
Cannon Karanja said the government’s conduct following the meeting was indication of a sign of non commitment to dialogue.
“We have wondered whether the government is truly committed to finding a solution to this problem.”
He said the church had already appointed five leaders to represent them in the 10-member committee.
They are Bishop Philip Sulumeti, Rev Willy Mutiso, Bishop Gerry Kibarabara, Bishop David Oginde and Rev Charles Kibichio.
Despite the fact it is impossible to introduce any amendments at the stage the draft has reached, the leaders insisted their point of return was to incorporate their amendments.
Separation of State and religion, removal of exemption from the Bill of Rights on the basis of religion or any other basis, protection of the right to life of all persons, whether born or unborn and removal of Kadhis Courts are the issues the churches want amended in the constitution.
Meanwhile, President Mwai Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga and senior government officials have officially asked Kenyans to vote in support of the draft.
The civil society has also announced their support for the draft.