, 30 August, 2020 / 10:30 PM
Members of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) have, in a collective message titled “Conscience: A Path to Life”, outlined eight issues affecting the East African nation, calling on Kenyans to be vigilant and “do what is right for the good of everyone.”
In their eight-page statement delivered at the Episcopal Ordination of the new Bishop of Kenya’s Kitui diocese, Saturday, August 29, the Bishops highlight the effects of the COVID-pandemic on the economy, the controversial County revenue sharing formula debate, reproductive health bill, responsible parenting, corruption, political responsibility, ethnic violence, and the discourse around a possible referendum to review the 10-year-old Constitution.
Top on the list of the Bishops’ concern is the “battered economy following the COVID-19 pandemic,” a situation they say has greatly affected Kenyans.
“The Coronavirus pandemic has caused severe havoc on our economy; thousands of Kenyans have lost jobs and business opportunities many families, particularly those that depend on employment and more so on daily wages, are facing enormous difficulties sustaining themselves,” the Bishops say.
The Bishops add, “We call for more commitment on the part of the Government to avail more resources to assist the most vulnerable members of our society, the poor, the jobless and all those who are struggling to make ends meet.”
They express solidarity with all Kenyans during these “trying moments of COVID-19 pandemic” and thank “our health workers in all our health institutions, who are tirelessly giving hope to our sick brethren.”
The Bishops are also concerned about multiple allegations of “looting of COVID-19 money and indeed all forms of pillaging of public resources of all levels.”
They call on the auditors, the investigative agencies and the judiciary to “take decisive action to deal with this evil and have all those involved in this scam to face the law.”
In their statement signed by KCCB Chairman, Archbishop Philip Anyolo, the Bishops in Kenya are also concerned about the controversies surrounding County revenue sharing formula and call on the members of the Senate “to immediately bring into conclusion the Revenue allocation Bill so that the monetary allocations to the Counties may urgently be distributed.”
“We expect the Senators to demonstrate the highest degree of patriotism and love for the Country instead of the bi-partisan approach we are seeing at the moment,” say the Bishops in Kenya.
The Bishops further renew their concern about the Reproductive Health Bill whose basic intention is to introduce the disguised abortion on demand, they say.
“We cannot claim God is in our midst when in fact, we are allowing the evil of some individuals who may have killed their conscience to legislate for the killing of our unborn children,” the members of KCCB say.
They add, “It is of utmost concern that in a Country which believes in the sanctity of human life and human dignity, certain entities will be allowed to propagate ideologies that degrade that very dignity in the name of freedom of choice.”
The Bishops also address the need for responsible parenting in the country that can see parents instill good morals and good habits in their children, by spending sufficient time with them.
“We urge parents to teach their children the correct doctrine as opposed to other doctrines. Families should encourage one another in this apostolate,” the Bishops say in their collective statement.
They go on to express their concerns about wrangling amongst officials of political parties in the East African nation and invite political leaders to “take responsibility to ensure that political realignments do not become an excuse to put people at political risk leading to the political violence we are used to seeing in every election year.”
The recent deadly conflicts in Narok, Baringo and Marsabit and the manner of forced evictions in Njoro and Mau area over the disputed Mau Forest Cover are also a cause for concern for the members of KCCB, a situation they describe as a “scar on us all as Kenyans.”
“As Bishops, we emphasize our hope and the hope of many people of good-will that the challenges we face can be tackled by embracing a spirit of forgiveness tempered with justice,” the Bishops in Kenya say.
They add, “It is possible to build positive peace even in the face of death. It is the desire of the Church, as part of her mission, to mediate to avoid any type of conflict, and to intervene early in order to avoid them escalating.”
They are also concerned about the referendum debate and outline some guidelines, which can assist Kenyans in determining which process can be followed.
“Any referendum must unite Kenyans for a common good,” the Prelates say and add, “Any proposal for amendments should be acceptable only when it has clear long-term goals. Amendments must be specific and compelling.”
The Bishops call on Kenyans to be “watchful that we do what is right for the good of everyone. As children of God, we should reflect on our successes, joys, failures, and sufferings, and make the necessary amendments.”
“May Our Mother Mary help and encourage us in this battle of conversion in our lives and culture, so that we can be fully alive in accordance with our Christian calling and the demands of Christ,” the Bishops in Kenya implore.
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