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Clerics urge Uhuru to declare graft a national disaster

Clerics and religious leaders have asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to declare corruption a national disaster so that the fight against it can be accorded the importance it deserves.

The leaders, through their organisation, Dialogue Reference Group, said this will incorporate adoption of strict ‘extraordinary’ measures, alongside recommendations they offered, to address the vice.

AMNESTY

Speaking during the launch of a national dialogue framework, National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) Secretary-General Rev Canon Peter Karanja said this, will eventually facilitate the enactment of the cause spearheaded by the handshake between the president and opposition leader, Raila Odinga.

The group additionally called for amnesty for past corruption perpetrators, with those culpable, and who come forward, being only obligated to pay settlement for their past corrupt misdeeds, and not be prosecuted nor persecuted, to expedite the fight against the vice.

“We urge the president to pardon those who come out and own up their past corruption dealings and that they only be required to return the coffers they took.

However, those who do not adhere to this, and also those who are caught in corrupt scandals henceforth, should be stringently persecuted,” said Rev Canon Karanja.

He added: “Many probably wish to declare and denounce their past unethical dealings but may be afraid of prosecution, but through the amnesty, they will possibly feel at ease to do it.”

The group’s chair Archbishop Martin Kivuva pointed out that corruption is literally chocking life out of the country, given the scandals that emerge by the day.

“These scandals reveal that corruption is a cancer that has pervaded every sector of our society, and which the current laws have proved inadequate to address.

There is therefore an urgent need to take radical action to eradicate it and give the country a new beginning,” said Archbishop Kivuva.

The group similarly stressed on quick addressing of the electoral laws to provide clear guidelines on the course of action to take when upheavals impede on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, such as the impromptu resignation of its commissioners.

“Should an emergency occur that necessitates elections, the nation will be in a crisis worse than that witnessed in 2016, when the electoral body had to be urgently constituted to prepare for the 2017 general elections,” explained Archbishop Kivuva.

The launched Framework for National Dialogue identifies key issues that ought to be addressed.

It touches on ways of addressing these contentious issues that affect the country, including dealing with corruption, electoral reforms, resolving governance and political crises, peace and unity of the country and the general wellbeing of the citizens.

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