, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 5 – Church leaders have questioned the validity of the outcome of the Constitution referendum and said it was characterised by malpractices and irregularities before and during the referendum.
National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) General Secretary Canon Peter Karanja said it was sad that the pre-referendum process was marked by anomalies which he said continued into the balloting and tallying phases.
"Our attention is especially drawn to the fact that only about 30 percent of the registered voters endorsed the proposed Constitution," he said in a press briefing on Thursday.
However provisional results released at the Bomas of Kenya by the Interim Independent Electoral Commission indicate that close to 70 percent of Kenyans who voted had endorsed the proposed Constitution.
"Throughout this process the Christian Church has adopted the position that the proposed Constitution contains various contentious issues whose implications are grave over our nation," he said.
He said the results of the referendum did not in any way nullify the contentions that the church had been talking about.
"These must be resolved soonest since all Kenyans agree that the issues are contentious," he said.
Speaking to Capital FM after the press briefing, Cannon Karanja challenged the government to immediately put in mechanisms to ensure that the contentious issues were addressed.
“Kenyans were given a choice between amendments before the referendum or amendments after the referendum so the process continues,” he said.
He claimed that the church had evidence where voters especially in Central province were coerced into voting for the proposed Constitution through bribery.
\’We know that in some places, they were going door to door giving people money to vote for the Constitution,” the Church leader said.
"We even know of places where there was intimidation against some communities,” he added.
He however said that they did not report the matter to the National Cohesion and Integration Commission because “they were part of it as well."
However, a number of observers have hailed the process and termed it a free and democratic electoral process.
The church leaders called on all Kenyans to remain peaceful and united as they begin the process of addressing the contentious issues.