“This is not the time to make unreasonably high profits”: Bishops in Kenya

Bishop James Maria Wainaina during Mass at Holy Family Basilica Nairobi, Kenya on Pentecost Sunday 2020.

Bishops in the East African nation of Kenya have appealed to business owners and landlords to make sacrifices for the common good and not use the current COVID-19 related restrictions to exploit ordinary citizens, making “unreasonably high profits.”

"This is not the time to seek to make unreasonably high profits, but to even make sacrifices for the benefit of others,” Bishop James Maria Wainaina said at the end of the televised Pentecost Sunday Mass at the Holy Family Minor Basilica in Nairobi on behalf of the Bishops in Kenya.

In the collective message, the Bishops cite St. Paul who urged the Galatians “to bear each other’s burdens.”

“The landlords must be ready to negotiate and agree on a way-forward with their tenants, business people with their customers, service providers with beneficiaries of their services, and employers with their employees,” the Bishops appealed in their May 31 collective message.

They would like the honest and candid engagement between the various players in the Kenyan society to also happen at various spheres for mutual benefits because, the Bishops note, “There is life to be lived together beyond Covid-19.”


The tendency to turn calamities into opportunities for self-enrichment or to exploit the needs of others in corrupt deals is “abhorrent and must be condemned,” the Bishops underscore in their message.

While they commend the country’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta for unveiling the economic stimulus package, the Bishops go on to urge his government to “expeditiously” pay all genuine suppliers and service providers their dues “so that essential supplies and services may not fail.”

“In this regard, we appeal for the urgent settling of money owed by the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) to our faith-based health facilities so that they can continue rendering their much needed services,” Bishop Wainaina who is also the Chairman of the Council for Economic Affairs of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) said, reading from the Bishops’ collective statement.

In November 2019, the Bishops appealed to the insurer to pay about 1.9 billion shillings (US$19 million) it owed 100 Mission Hospitals countrywide.

In their May 31 statement, the Bishops appeal for a tax waiver on medical supplies.

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“Since the new normal is now characterized by face masks, PPEs, sanitizers, hand washing soaps and cleaning detergents, we call upon our government to consider waiving taxes on these items and others like ambulances and other hospital consumables related to COVID-19,” the Bishops say, adding that it is also important to avoid taxes that increase commodity prices.

They also raise concerns over reports of increased violence in families stressing that “domestic violence and gender-based violence are not acceptable.”

“Let us celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit in an environment of peace and harmony in our families,” the Bishops appealed and added, “Problems due to COVID-19 must not bring strife among us but are calls to reason together with understanding."

“The Holy Family of Nazareth is always the model. Let us make our families as the last fortress against COVID-19,” the Bishops further said.

Acknowledging warnings that COVID-19 seems to be here to stay, the Bishops encourage the people of God in Kenya “to learn new positive practices.”


“We must not waste time at home; time is a resource never to be wasted and laziness is a sin,” the Local Ordinary of Kenya’s Murang’a Diocese said on behalf of the Bishops.

“Let us work diligently for our employers, source out business possibilities, engage in useful domestic calls, build relationships and plan ahead,” the 63-year-old Prelate added.

In the statement, the Bishops address the plight of students who are unable to resume school due to the pandemic and say that “children should be assisted to engage in serious learning as much as possible.”

They also express their “appreciation to all those who have given generously for the alleviation of suffering due to COVID-19.”

Meanwhile, in his Pentecost Sunday video message shared with ACI Africa, Archbishop Anthony Muheria of Kenya’s Nyeri Archdiocese prays for renewal.

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“We pray that everyone of us may be renewed in this Pentecost that we may go out and give true witness without fear to the tenets, to the ways of the Lord in all the parts of the earth,” Archbishop Muheria says.