Religious leaders in Malindi are calling for dialogue to avert possible bloodshed arising from the demonstrations being planned by the opposition for Monday.
They called on leaders of the African Union and the East African Community to immediately prevail upon the two main political antagonists, President William Ruto and Azimio la Umoja One Kenya leader Raila Odinga, to the negotiating table before Monday.
Led by Bishop Thomas Kakala of the Jesus Cares Centre (JCC) church and Pastor Francis Katana of the Malindi Baptist Church, the church leaders urged the international community not to wait until Kenyans shed blood before intervening.
They said the impending demonstrations had the potential of worsening Kenya’s already battered economy, especially in the Coast region which relies heavily on tourism.
“The African Union should not wait until Kenyans lose lives as they did in the 2007/2008 post-election violence. The time to act is now,” Bishop Kakala, who is also the Patron of the Malindi Pastors Fellowship, said.
Bishop Kakala said that although Mr Odinga had assured Kenyans that the demonstrations would be peaceful, the opposition chief would not be able to control the demonstrators, hence the need to stop the demonstrations and seek an amicable solution to the issues raised.
“The other day they said they were demonstrating peacefully but they stormed a meeting and took away food and utensils. If you take hungry youths to the streets, what will prevent them from taking away fruits and porridge being sold along the way?” he posed.
The fiery cleric urged the president to call his nemesis, Raila Odinga, to the negotiating table, even if the talks will not result in a ‘handshake’.
He urged the two leaders to use respected leaders in their camps and sit down to discuss the issues affecting the country if they are not comfortable with the clergy.
The cleric called on the East African Community to intervene in the issue instead of waiting till matters get out of hand before coming in like the way they handled the post-election violence when they brought in the late Koffi Anan.
Pastor Katana on his part said demonstrations are used as a last resort adding that the issues at hand do not warrant the nature of demonstrations being planned for in Nairobi on Monday.