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Kenyan Catholic Archbishop among Religious Leaders in Renewed COVID-19 Fight at the Coast

Religious leaders are joined by Red Cross officials for Covid-19 Sensitization exercise and distribution of masks and sanitizers at Kongowea Market in Mombasa. Credit: Archdiocese of Mombasa

The Catholic Archbishop of Kenya’s Mombasa Archdiocese is among religious leaders spearheading a renewed fight against COVID-19 in the country’s Coastal region.

The initiative that involves religious leaders drawn from different faiths in Kenya’s Mombasa County follows what the religious leaders describe as “increased laxity and complacency among the residents regarding COVID-19 containment measures.”

In a Friday, September 3 report, the religious leaders who include representatives of Coast Interfaith Council of Clerics (CICC) urge the people of God in the Coastal region to take utmost caution given the continued devastating toll of COVID-19 on lives and livelihoods in the country.

“Humanity is at stake, if we do not care. COVID-19 is real; it kills and it is costing a lot to treat. Stay safe; adhere to all containment measures,” Archbishop Martin Kivuva of the Archdiocese of Mombasa has been quoted as saying.

Archbishop Kivuva is also quoted advocating for COVID-19 vaccine take up and urging those who have been vaccinated to continue adhering to the health and safety protocols issued by the Government through the Ministry of Health.”

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Other religious leaders who are part of the initiative include Sheikh Rishad Rajab who is the Chairman of Mombasa County Interfaith Council on COVID-19, Sheikh Mwinyi and Sheikh Mahmoud of the Coast Interfaith Council of Clerics (CICC), Bishop Muthama of the Pentecostal Church, and Bishop Tee of the Mombasa Churches Forum, among others.

The initiative involves awareness creation and the distribution of masks and sanitizers, the September 3 report authored by Moses M. Mpuria indicates.

The report highlights activities of September 2 at Kongowea market, the Coastal region’s largest open-air market, following reports from Ministry of Health about the dominance of Delta variant of COVID-19 in the country.

“Kongowea Market serves nearly the entire coastal Kenya, and beyond. If an outbreak (of COVID-19) is experienced, no one among us is safe and if the market is thus closed, the impact on livelihoods and availability of food in all our counties will be devastating,” Fr. Richard Airo who spearheaded the distribution and sensitization exercise as the head of the Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenical Commission of Catholic Archdiocese of Mombasa is quoted as saying.

In the report, Sheikh Richard says religious leaders from different faiths and denominations remain determined and on the frontline to ensure everyone remains safe.

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“All of us have a duty to preserve our lives and the lives of our loved ones and neighbors. All religions call us to do that, and we, the religious leaders, want all our people to understand that and take utmost precautions towards containing COVID-19,” says the Muslim Cleric who also chairs the Interfaith Council on COVID-19 in Mombasa County.

Kenya’s Ministry of Health has urged caution against Delta Variant that is dominant in the country and accounts for 97.6% of all the COVID-19 cases.