Kenyan Bishop Urges New Government, Opposition to Unite in Addressing Citizen Issues

Bishop Joseph Obanyi Sagwe of the Catholic Diocese of Kakamega, presiding over the official opening of the multipurpose hall at the Holy Family Lubao Parish. Credit: Courtesy Photo

A Catholic Bishop in Kenya has urged the President William Ruto-led government that was inaugurated last month to “work together” with members of the opposition in addressing issues affecting citizens of the East African nation. 

Bishop Joseph Obanyi Sagwe of the Catholic Diocese of Kakamega who was presiding over the official opening of the multipurpose hall at the Holy Family Lubao Parish of his Episcopal See cautioned the Kenyan government and the opposition against engaging in a blame game and instead aim to “deliver for Kenyans”.

“Both the government and the opposition should work together in addressing issues that are paramount to the citizens,” Bishop Obanyi said during the Wednesday, October 12 event.

He added, “Five years is a short period and there is no time for boasting; everyone has a job to do, whether you were elected or not; there is no time for blame game; it is time to deliver for Kenyans.”

The Kenyan electorate voted for their President, Governors, Senators, Women representatives, Members of Parliament (MPs), and Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) on August 9. 


Dr. Ruto was declared winner of Kenya’s closely contested August 9 presidential election with 50.49% of the valid votes, against his main challenger, former Prime Minister Raila Amolo Odinga, who garnered 48.85%.

Following the August 15 declaration of Dr. Ruto’s victory by the chairman on Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Wafula Chebukati, a total of nine Presidential Election Petitions were filed in the Supreme Court, two of which were struck out “for failure to meet the constitutional threshold.”

The main challenger in the Presidential petition was Mr. Odinga, who had unsuccessfully vied for the country’s top political seat for the fifth time.

Top on the list of the petitions that were tabled, Mr. Odinga’s party, the Azimio la Umoja, wanted the Supreme Court Judges to investigate whether the technology deployed by the IEBC for the conduct of the 2022 general elections met the standards of integrity, verifiability, security, and transparency to guarantee accurate and verifiable results.

On September 5, Kenya’s Supreme Court delivered a verdict upholding the victory of Dr. Ruto.

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“The Consolidated Presidential Election Petition is hereby dismissed, and the election of William Samoei Ruto as President-elect upheld unanimously,” Chief Justice (CJ) Martha Koome, the chair of the Kenyan Supreme Court, said.

Dr. Ruto was sworn in as Kenya’s fifth President on September 13. Two weeks later, on September 27, he unveiled his new Cabinet that members of Parliament have to vet and approve.

Speaking during the October 12 event in his Episcopal See, Bishop Obanyi urged President Ruto-led government to respond to the appeal of Kenyans concerning the high cost of living caused by “skyrocketing prices of commodities” rather than engage in blame game with the opposition.

“We have witnessed skyrocketing prices of commodities and Kenyans are appealing to the government for help,” he said.

The 55-year-old Kenyan Bishop who has been at the helm of Kakamega Diocese since his Episcopal Ordination in March 2015 reflected on the hunger and drought situation in Kenya’s Northeastern region and underlined the need to come to the need of the affected residents and for policies to address the situation in the long term.


“The new government has a responsibility to ensure that no Kenyan dies as a result of hunger by putting in place policies to help the affected Kenyans from perishing and to ensure that the economy of the country is restored,” he said.

The Kenyan Bishop went on to urge the new government to embrace fairness in executing its duties and cautioned against all forms of discrimination.

“There is no big difference between the winner and the loser,” he said, and added, “I call upon the new government to embrace fairness and serve all Kenyans indiscriminately, and to ensure that key issues affecting the people are addressed in accordance with the laws of Kenya.”

The Local Ordinary of Kakamega Diocese said that for the country to forge ahead, there is need for unity, which is an essential responsibility of the government. 

On October 3, members of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) urged the newly elected members of the executive to consider inclusivity in the appointment of State officials and to serve all Kenyans regardless of their variety of affiliations. 

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“We ask the new leaders to be inclusive in their choice of those whom they will appoint in various offices and to also seek to address the real issues that are affecting the lives of Kenyans,” Catholic Bishops in Kenya said in their statement that was read out by the Chairman of KCCB, Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde.

The Catholic Church leaders added, “As we welcome and congratulate all who were elected to various positions of leadership in the August 9 elections, we wish to remind them that they have been elected to serve all Kenyans.”

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.