Religious leaders to Raila: Call off your demonstrations

In the wake of violent clashes in Kibra, the Interreligious Council of Kenya and human rights activists have called on President William Ruto and opposition leader Raila Odinga to hold a meeting and ease the political tension in the country.

The leaders spoke out against the violence that saw a section of Masjid A-Aqsa Islamic Mosque, Pentecostal Church of East Africa (PCEA) church, and surrounding stalls torched in Kibra constituency, urging Raila to call off the demonstrations and find alternative ways to address his grievances.

“We call on his Excellency the President William Ruto and the former prime minister the right honorable Raila Odinga to have unconditional meetup and discussion to quell political tension in the country,” said the leaders.

They added, “Azimio One Kenya Coalition, we call upon you to call off the demonstration and use alternative approaches to handle your grievances.”

The leaders compared the chaos witnessed in Kibra to the 2007-2008 post-election violence that left over 1000 people dead and others internally displaced.

They urged all politicians to refrain from using inflammatory language and inciting their followers, which they said: “inadvertently led to the unfortunate events of last night in Kibra.”

“We urge civil society organizations to retain their position as dependable nerve centers of good governance, leadership, and national security advocacy. We urge religious leaders to fully engage political leaders in nonpartisan ways for the good of the country,” said the leaders.

The groups also called upon the media to engage in non-partisan coverage and reporting of political events, so that media reporting and coverage is not misconstrued to fuel political motives.

They further urged the political class to stop mobilization aimed at disrupting the country’s peace and called on the National Security Council to intervene and direct the state of internal threats.

“The events of last night force us to travel back in time to the sad memories of brother against brother, Kenyan against Kenyan in the aftermath of the 2007, 2008 post-election confrontation, that metamorphosed into dark days of violence killings, destruction of property and displacement of persons in their thousands. The stain of that time remains our national shame to date,” the leaders said.

Already, Ruto’s camp has rejected calls for a ‘handshake’ with Trade CS Moses Kuria on Friday teasing that the government would use tactics similar to those used by Presidents Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni.

Raila has also stated he is not after a ‘handshake’ but demands the government addresses the high cost of living, stop the reconstitution of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and open the election servers to verify who won the August 2022 polls.

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