Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) Arch-bishop Jackson Ole Sapit has called on relevant agencies to work together and bar political aspirants with questionable academic credentials from contesting in the August 9 General Election.
Archbishop Ole Sapit said the country had sufficient tax payer funded institutions that should rein in candidates suspected to be in possession of fake academic certificates and those violating various electoral laws, including forgery and providing false information contrary to the Penal Code and the Leadership and Integrity Act.
Speaking in Molo Town after touring ACK parishes in the Sub-County, the Arch-bishop called on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), Commission on University Education (CUE) and the Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) to make a joint approach in tightening the noose on academic frauds and smoking them out of the system.
Aspirants for the seats of President, deputy president, governors and deputy governors are required to be university graduates to run.
For MPs, the degree rule had been deferred in 2013 and 2017 and was to come to effect in 2022, when courts ruled to quash the requirement. MPs are still required to prove that they have a secondary school qualification.
The ACK head said that institutions of higher learning should vet politicians with suspect degrees who allege to have graduated from them adding that the institutions have a right and duty to defend their reputation that is being dragged through the mud.
He added: “Concerned state agencies must bring to an end the ensuing confusion that we are witnessing. The law should be applied to all suspects. The culprits, if any, are severely punished, such as being barred from public office for some time we will have protected the integrity of the education sector, universities and the electoral system itself.”
The Arch-bishop noted that the Church does not have a candidate of choice, “the Church’s mandate ends at praying for the elections.
He tasked politicians to respect the freedom of all Kenyans and allow them to freely participate in elections. He further called on leaders to accept election results.
“We are encouraged to embrace prudence, fairness, fortitude and sobriety to guard against evil during this season. These are human virtues that order our relationship with our neighbours,” Arch-bishop Ole Sapit added.
He also called on those seeking elective positions “to avoid attacking, using inciting words and slogans that divide Kenyans and which have further implication on national unity and cohesion.
Believers have also been asked to shun bribery so as to make the right decisions at the ballot.
The ACK head asked Kenyans to be wary of leaders who speak of peaceful elections but their actions don’t match their words.
“Kenyans must now vote for leaders not because of their ethnicity or wealth but elect leaders of integrity who uphold ethical values. We need responsible leaders who will deliver what they promise.”
He added :“Let us drive out negative ethnicity. Ethnicity hangs around voters due to fear of violence and feel secure supporting a leader on the basis of tribe as opposed to what he stands for.”
Arch-bishop Sapit, said politicians who will be dissatisfied with the outcome should seek redress in court.
He warned youths against being used to cause chaos, adding that the youth will bear the brunt of the chaos if they fall prey to individuals out to misuse them.
“The blood you shed will be on your hands. You will not only lose your loved ones but also peace of mind. Kenyans and especially the youth should refuse to participate in mass actions or demonstrations regardless of the incitement before and during elections,” he pointed out.
The Arch- bishop told leaders to humble themselves and continue spreading peace and love among Kenyans.
He said it was wrong for some politicians to sow discord among Kenyans ahead of the elections.
“They should stop dividing the country along party and tribal lines, this country belongs to all Kenyans,” he said.
The Arch- bishop noted that elections are the only channel for formation of government and that everyone has a right to participate in peaceful, free, credible and fair elections.
“We encourage Kenyans to visit the electoral commission offices or use electronic channels provided to verify their registration details. Participation in elections is a civic, religious and social responsibility that should be undertaken by all,” he advised.
The Arch-bishop told the youths to only participate in campaigns that will benefit them.
“Ask leaders what they will do for you before fighting or killing for them. Demand answers on their plans for you,” he said.