, 25 May, 2020 / 10:20 PM
Bishops in Kenya are concerned about the “divisive politics” being witnessed in the country at a time when political leaders are expected to demonstrate the unity of purpose in the fight against COVID-19.
In a collective message read out at the end of the Sunday, May 24 televised Mass, the Bishops call on political leaders in the East African nation to be at “the service of Kenyans.”
“We are concerned about the current political mood in the country,” Bishop Dominic Kimengich who presided over the televised Mass at Holy Family Basilica in Nairobi said, cautioning politicians that “this is not the time for politics.”
The concern of the Bishops is based on the wrangles within Kenya’s ruling political party Jubilee that seem to demonstrate a fall out between the President and the Deputy President. The fall out has seen legislators affiliated to either parties engage in political rhetoric, including effecting changes in leadership at the Senate, events that have put the country in a tense “political mood” with 2022 general elections overtones.
According to the Catholic Bishops, these political wrangles pitting the President against his Deputy are derailing the focus on the current needs of the citizens of the East African nation who are battling with COVID-19 related restrictions to make ends meet.
In their May 24 collective message, the Bishops call “upon our political leaders to demonstrate their leadership by committing themselves to the service of the Kenyans and not engaging in divisive Politics.”
“This is the time that all our leaders should unite to fight the common enemy, that is, Coronavirus,” the Bishops in Kenya say.
They question the integrity of the political leaders engaging in political bickering probing, “Are you (politicians) wise and sensitive enough to know that in the process of your political intrigues, you are causing concern, panic, anxieties and unnecessary worries among Kenyans who value peace and unity above all else?”
Making reference to the 2007-2008 post-election violence that the country witnessed, the Bishops further probe, “Have you (politicians) forgotten where we came from, the lives lost, the property destroyed because of political rivalry and quest for power especially during the post-elections time?”
“The wounds of post-election violence are still not yet healed,” Bishop Kimengich cautioned on behalf of his brother Bishops under their umbrella body of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) and implored, “Please, I beg you, do not open these wounds.”
“do not destroy all those efforts of peace building that people like the late Bishop Cornelius Korir worked day and night to ensure that we have a cohesive society and peaceful Kenya,” the Local Ordinary of Kenya’s Eldoret Diocese said, recalling his predecessor.
“Please see the good of this country and put aside the political games and the jostling for political positioning regarding 2022 Elections. We have a big problem in front of us and if we don't put all our energies in eradicating Covid-19, there might be no people to rule in the year 2022,” he said.
In the collective message, the Bishops in Kenya also loud Kenyans for their “resilience and efforts to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.”
They express their appreciation for “individuals, Churches and Religious Organizations that continue to support the most vulnerable by contribution towards their basic needs.”
The Bishops also recognize the role being played by health care workers in the country saying “they have done us proud.” They also acknowledge the efforts made by government agencies to control the possible spread of COVID-19 and parents in Kenya for “playing a critical role in ensuring the well-being of children during this long-stay at home period.”
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa