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Kenyan faith leaders issue guidelines for choosing elected officials

September 19, 2012

NAIROBI, Kenya

Faith leaders in Kenya have distributed guidelines intended to help citizens choose good leaders, ahead of the general election set for March 2013. A booklet called Leadership and Integrity is being distributed through churches, mosques and temples.

Christian, Muslims and Hindu leaders, working under the religious forum called Ufungamano, prepared the guidelines, which ask citizens to establish if candidates are God-fearing, capable, incorruptible and trustworthy.

“This is a special year because Kenyans will elect various leaders ... We should be guided by what the Bible teaches about the qualities of a good leader,” the Rev. Stephen Kanyaru, the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Kenya, said at the booklet’s launch in late August.

The faith leaders said the next general election is unique since it is the first under the 2010 constitution that created new political offices such as county governors, senators, and seats for women representatives, among others.

The faith leaders said the election will also cement the on-going peace and reconciliation process that followed the 2007-2008 post-election violence that resulted in an estimated 1,300 deaths and displaced about 600,000 people into camps. Although many have been resettled, some still remain in the camps.

“The church is taking a lead in reconciliation and the area that remains is to completely resettle the internally displaced persons. This must be done before next elections,” said the Rev. Boniface Odoyo, a former leader of the Nairobi Pentecostal Church.

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