As the 2022 election date approaches, several Kenyans are concerned about the possibility of post-election violence as was the case in 2007-2008. After the post-election violence, the church came under so much heat for keeping quiet when chaos escalated resulting in the loss of lives and mass displacement.
Should the church be more involved in national politics? What exactly should the church do to prepare congregants for elections? Here are the three main roles the church should play as we approach the general elections.
- Policy influence
The political environment of any country is centered on policy making. However, policy-making requires public participation and this is where the churches come in. Christians need to re-engage in the public policy debate to influence laws at both the local and national levels. This can be done by educating them on issues being considered and bills being debated in both levels of parliament, working to build relationships with legislators at the local level, and encouraging congregants to call or write their representatives and urge them to vote according to biblical values. The churches can act as agents of the state who ensure that the common citizen is well-educated about the government’s policy-making process to help the country run forward.
- Election involvement
One concern to church leaders is how to engage people in the election cycle without compromising their status. People of faith should be involved in the political process. Therefore, church leaders have the right to speak personally concerning elections and particular candidates. The church can educate congregants to help them understand what individual candidates have the values that can help them. Churches can invite candidates to speak directly to the people as long as an official endorsement from the church does not follow the appearance.
- Voter registration drives
As much as the church can advise people to participate in voting, they can point them to register. Church leaders can motivate congregants to register as voters as that is the only way they can make themselves heard. Deuteronomy 1:13 says “Choose some wise, understanding, and respected men from each of your tribes, and I will set them over you.” Therefore, the church should reassure the congregants that by taking a vote, they have the power to choose how the democracy should be run.