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Kenyans vote on new constitution; Church leaders press for No vote

Catholic World News - August 04, 2010

Kenyans cast their ballots today in a hotly contested referendum for approval of a new constitution. Christian leaders have urged a negative vote on the document; the Kenyan government—with powerful backing from the US—has campaigned for approval.

Church leaders joined in opposition to the proposed constitution after failing in efforts to remove a provision that would allow for legalization of abortion. Cardinal John Njue of Nairobi explained: “There have been improvements in the draft constitution, but the good has been mixed with some bad points that affect the moral life and rights.” Kenya’s former President Daniel Arap Moi joined the Catholic bishops and leaders of the nation’s other Christian groups in a “vote No” campaign. He emphasized the critical importance of August 4 vote, saying: "Political seats will come and go but the constitution will define your destiny forever.”

Government and religious leaders were united in their calls for a peaceful vote and a calm response to the outcome, whatever it might be. Results of the referendum are expected by August 6, with observers predicting approval for the new constitution.

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