The Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC) has cautioned political parties against the use of zoning to create divisions among Kenyans.
CJPC Coordinator for the Eldoret Catholic Diocese Samuel Kosgey says every politician should be free to vie for any seat using any political party across the country.
Speaking during a meeting with peace committee members from Uasin Gishu County, Kosgey cautioned that zoning of some regions as certain parties’ strongholds might lead to ethnic divisions ahead of the August 9 poll.
“Like here in Uasin Gishu, we have people allied to different parties, but when one party claims that this is its strongholds, what happens to those in other parties,” said the CJPC peace coordinator.
Uasin Gishu is considered a stronghold for the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party, led by Deputy President William Ruto.
Kosgey points out that as much as an area might be seen as a certain party’s stronghold, candidates from other parties should also be allowed to campaign without fear of victimization.
He also challenged dominant political parties to find a way they will campaign without sending the notion that those in opposing camps are unwanted.
“Even if they want many of their people to be voted for, they should not say nobody should campaign in a certain region,” noted the peace coordinator.
Despite being home to DP Ruto, Uasin Gishu has a number of candidates vying for various seats using different parties – among them the Jubilee party, and ODM while others have opted to be independent.
“We don’t have any person’s stronghold. This issue of saying this is our stronghold might disrupt peace. Every Kenyan has a right to live anywhere and vie for any seat using any party,” said Kosgey.
Murey Henry, a peace committee member from Turbo Sub County on his part called on candidates vying for various seats to campaign peacefully.
He affirmed their commitment to wiping out the negative tag of ‘violence hotspot’ that the county has had since the 2007/08 post-election violence.
“We want to vote in peace. All are free to come and campaign here. Kenyans let’s sell our country to our neighbors as democratic,” Murey said.