Nairobi (Agenzia Fides) - "Young people, this is your future! Go and vote", exhorts His Exc. Msgr. Antony Muheria, Archbishop of Nyeri, in one of the videos published by the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) ahead of the presidential and parliamentary elections on August 9.
This election eve is characterized by a certain apathy, especially on the part of young people, disillusioned by the promises made in previous electoral campaigns. However, concerns about post-election violence remain as in the past. In the post-election violence of 2007-08, more than 1,100 people were killed, mainly in clashes between Kikuyu and Kalenjin. A concern echoed by Archbishop Muheria, who in his video message recommends young people "preserve peace" because "peace is a gift from God". For this reason, the Archbishop of Nyeri warns not to fall victim to "political machinations" or the lure of tribalism and incitement to hatred. "Do not be an instrument of violence. Too many times young people have been instrumentalized to incite violence. For this reason, you must reject all forms of corruption or manipulation towards violence," says Bishop Muheria. "Once you have voted, do not stay near the polls, go home. Do not be a source of agitation and concern. Go home and wait for the results. Go home and pray for the success of the vote", suggests Msgr. Muheria.
When choosing who to vote, Archbishop Muheria says "do not look at tribal belonging". "Ultimately," says the Archbishop of Nyeri, "elections are not a matter of life and death, but about the day-to-day building of our nation. With our vote, we give the winners the opportunity to lead the country for a period of time. Those who lose the elections will have another opportunity to lead the country in the next elections." The Apostolic Nuncio in Nairobi, His Exc. Monsignor Hubertus van Megen has also launched an appeal to Kenyans to show that they are capable of respecting the democratic system and accepting the democratically elected leader, whatever his tribe or region. Four candidates run for president; the favorites are the current vice president, William Ruto, and Raila Odinga, former leader of the opposition. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 4/8/2022)