Residents of the Catholic Archdiocese of Mombasa in Kenya, led by religious women, have held a peaceful procession, through the city, in a bid to draw attention to the importance of peaceful campaigns and peaceful general elections due in August this year.
The procession that was themed, “Peaceful and Credible Elections: Leaders of Integrity,” was organised by the Association of Sisterhoods of Kenya (AOSK) and was flagged-off by Archbishop Martin Kivuva of the Catholic Archdiocese of Mombasa. The Archbishop was accompanied by Fr Gabriel Dolan of Haki Yetu, a Human Rights Organisation based in Mombasa.
The Mombasa residents marched from the city’s Holy Ghost Cathedral to the Star of the Sea Primary school.
According to Archbishop Kivuva, the walk was meant to encourage residents to promote peace and to ensure that citizens do not fall prey to the machinations of corrupt politicians bent on fomenting violence in the country as happened after Kenya’s 2007 general elections.
Kenya’s post 2007/2008 general election degenerated into ethnic violence in which between 800 to 1 500 persons are said to have lost their lives. Many were injured while hundreds upon thousands were internally displaced.
“The electorate should detest and refuse to be used by politicians. The electorate should reject, at the ballot box, any politician who inflicts fear in people,” Archbishop Kivuva said.
The Archbishop Kivuva made the remarks when he spoke to the Nairobi-based CISA in a phone interview, after the event. He has since urged women in Kenya to be ambassadors of peace during political campaigns that officially started nationwide on 28 May.
The Mombasa prelate further called upon the electorate to “identify leaders who want to lead us, irrespective of their parties because many a time political parties have let us down.”
The Archbishop encouraged Kenyans to scrutinise aspiring candidates and, “Vote for individuals with integrity. Those you know their past and present. If they were thugs, they will always be thugs. Let’s identify and elect good leaders to serve us,” Archbishop Kivuva said.
The Archbishops is also the Vice Chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops' Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC).