Kenyan Authorities Laud Outgoing Catholic Bishop for Peace Initiatives in Warrying Region

Archbishop Maurice Muhatia Makumba of Kenya's Kisumu Archdiocese. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Kenyan government officials have lauded the new Local Ordinary of the Archdiocese of Kisumu in Kenya, Archbishop Maurice Muhatia Makumba, for working tirelessly to restore peace in his former Episcopal See.

Before he was transferred to Kisumu, Archbishop Muhatia was the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Nakuru which serves some of the worrying communities of the East African country.

Speaking during the Saturday, March 19 installation event, the Governor of Kenya’s Nakuru county, Lee Kinyanjui, said that his county government had worked with Archbishop Muhatia “in good times and in bad times”.

“I am here today to bid farewell to our Bishop for Nakuru… one with whom we have worked in good times and in bad times; one who has been a very close mentor for our leadership. As Kisumu celebrates, in Nakuru we remain anxious because you have left big shoes and I believe God will guide us as we get our next spiritual leader,” Governor Kinyanjui said.

He added that with Nakuru county providing a home to people of various tribes in a country that has been divided along tribal lines before, Archbishop Muhatia had been instrumental in uniting the people of Kenya.


“Nakuru is the heart of the country, hosting everyone, and the Bishop has been very instrumental in matters to do with peace and unity,” the government official said.

He said that the former Local Ordinary of Nakuru has provided a solid example, namely, that Kenyans must strive to work for a united country ahead of the August 9 general elections.

“As he (Archbishop Muhatia) comes here, we say that if there is a time that the country needs to be united, it is now. If there is any one time when we want people thinking about the nation and putting the nation first, then this is the year,” Governor Kinyanjui said during the March 19 installation event.

He added, “We confirm that during Archbishop Muhatia’s tenure, Nakuru has developed immensely from education, matters to do with health, and in many other areas.”

“Just three weeks ago, we met in our St. Mary’s Pastoral Centre where a modern conference centre has come up. We as leaders take that as a challenge that during a time you are in office, you must be able to show what you have done for your people,” the Kenyan Governor further said.

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In his address at the installation event, the Cabinet Secretary of Kenya’s Ministry of Defence, Eugene Wamalwa, relayed President Uhuru Kenyatta’s appreciation of the collaboration between the Kenyan government and the Catholic Church in the country.

Mr. Wamalwa said, “We have been working closely with the Church especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The President wishes that the Church continues to partner with the government to ensure that we have a peaceful election.”

“As we pray for the new Archbishop, let’s pray for our country Kenya as we approach the national elections. Let’s also remember to guard our tongues as we campaign. Let’s remember that elections will always come and go but we’ll always have our country to live in,” the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary said during the installation of Archbishop Muhatia.

To conclude his Apostolate in Nakuru Diocese, Archbishop Muhatia oversaw the groundbreaking ceremony for the establishment of a university at St. Timothy Catholic Parish in Molo, a place that he described as having been the epicenter of violence in Kenya.

In an interview posted on Capuchin TV YouTube days ahead of his installation as the Local Ordinary of Kisumu, Archbishop Muhatia said that Hekima University is the fruit of engagement that the Diocese of Nakuru has been having with the Society of Jesus (Jesuits).


He said that the Diocese had, for a while, engaged with the Jesuits on the possibility of collaborating in matters of evangelization, and added, “We settled on education, but more specifically a university education. The Diocese offered to make a contribution of 75 acres of land to bring this to fruition.”

“Today, with the groundbreaking, a very monumental event has happened in the Diocese,” the Kenyan Catholic Church leader said during the March 16 interview posted on YouTube a couple of days later.

He added, “Since the early 90’s, Molo has been one of the places that has been hit hard by violence. We talk about clashes, we talk about people displaced in Molo, we talk about people who have died in Molo. Molo is the place that some would call the epicenter of some of the problems we have experienced in this country. People have lived under that shadow for a very long time.”

Archbishop Muhatia said that the Diocese of Nakuru had been thinking of what to do “to open a new chapter in the lives of the people of Molo.”

He said that starting a university in Molo is a good opportunity for the Church to open up the region for greater development.

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“I believe that in the coming years, the university we are building is going to transform Molo in a big way, socially, spiritually, pastorally, economically, even politically. And we pray that the university helps to contribute to the establishment of lasting peace in Molo as a place, Nakuru as a county and contributes to the entire nation in that entire area,” he said.

According to the Kenyan Catholic Prelate, institutions of higher learning have been known to transform places where they are established.

In his message aired by Capuchin TV, Archbishop Muhatia called upon Kenyans to embrace peace and respect for each other as the country heads to the election day set for August 9.

He noted that compared to past years, Nakuru had in recent times enjoyed peace and expressed hope that the situation would remain that way.

“I must, however, emphasize that there are parts of Nakuru that are still experiencing trouble, especially parts of Baringo. We still have sporadic violence in that part of Nakuru and we need to find a lasting solution to these problems as a country,” Archbishop Muhatia said days ahead of his installation as the Local Ordinary of Kisumu.

He added, “Personally, after my 12 years in this Diocese, I have come to believe that sporadic operations in the part of Baringo are not going to give us a lasting solution to the problems in that part of the country.”

He underlined the need to open up Baringo for social, political and economic development by boosting its infrastructure.

“As a country, we need to open up that country in terms of infrastructure. The government needs to work hard to open up this place by building roads,” the Catholic Church leader who has served as the Bishop of Nakuru since his Episcopal Ordination in February 2010 said.

He added, “It was only about last year that we had the first tarmac road going to East Pokot ever since the world began.”

He said, in reference to the embattled region of Baringo, “These are places where police stations don’t exist at all. These are places where schools are very rare. The schools are few and very far between, sometimes more than 20 kilometers apart. This way, access to education is very limited and the levels of illiteracy are very high, with some having as high as 90 percent illiteracy levels.”

“When people live in situations like these, sporadic operations cannot be lasting solutions. I would invite the government to invest more into lasting solutions such as education, security, and health to build a lasting peaceful community in that part of Baringo that is so troubled up to now,” Archbishop Muhatia said March 16.

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.