, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 18 – Religious leaders on Friday called on President Uhuru Kenyatta and the National Super Alliance (NASA) Presidential Candidate Raila Odinga to play a leading role in calming political tension as the country awaits the commencement of the Supreme Court hearing of the presidential petition following last week’s General Election.
Speaking at a two-day extra-ordinary meeting in Limuru, the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) said the two leaders must make efforts to diffuse tensions in the country and manage the expectations of their supporters.
“We call upon all Kenyans to carry on with their lives as they await the outcome of the Supreme Court process. Let all the people prepare to be guided by the judgment of the Supreme Court as regards the next course of action so that the 2017 elections are brought to a closure,” said the NCCK Executive Committee.
The clergy grouping is also pleading with the government to consider allocating financial assistance to those affected by the weekend’s protests in several parts of the city and in Kisumu, Homa Bay and Siaya.
“We urge the government to show compassion to the families of the victims and provide them with financial and material support as they come to terms with their losses,” the inter-religious denomination leaders commented.
The NCCK has further urged police to exercise restraint when dealing with protestors.
“We also urge the security agencies to use non-lethal means during crowd control operations. There is no justification for use of live bullets and excessive force when controlling crowds,” read the NCCK statement.
In the statement signed by NCCK Chairperson Rev. Canon Rosemary Mbogo and Rev General Secretary Rev Canon Peter Karanja, they called on the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) to expedite investigations into claims police attacked residents in Kibera, Mathare, Dandora Ngomongo and Lucky Summer on Sunday night.
“Recognising the impact that these deaths and injuries have had on Kenyans, this Executive Committee calls upon the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) to speedily and thoroughly complete the investigations and bring to book any members of the police service who are found culpable,” said the clergy leaders.
The government says they have so far received information of at least 11 people who are reported to have died in post-election protests in Mathare and Kisumu.
But, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights said 24 people have been killed across the country from police brutality since August 8.
Chairperson Kagwiria Mbogori said on Saturday, Nairobi accounts for the highest number of casualties with 17 deaths that occurred mainly after the announcement of presidential election results on Friday night.
On their part, NASA principals put the death toll at 100.