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Catholic Bishop in Kenya Decries Harassment of Women, Youth in Country’s Politics

Bishop Alfred Rotich during the Prayer Breakfast of the Catholic Diocese of Kericho. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The catholic Bishop of Kenya’s Kericho Diocese has condemned harassment of women and the youth as they try to participate in the politics of the East African country.

In his Tuesday, February 15 message during the Prayer Breakfast of the Catholic Diocese of Kericho aired on YouTube, Bishop Alfred Rotich said that there is normally verbal abuse that constitutes harassment against women and luring of the youth into violence as they try to be active in politics.

“We have talked on issues about women and youth, and there seems to be harassment which we need to research also. I am sure the Justice and Peace commission will do a thorough job in identifying who is creating violence on women,” Bishop Rotich said, and added, “There could be areas where there is a lot of harassment and especially the use of words.”

The Kenyan Catholic Bishop said that the Diocese’s Justice and Peace Commission has already formulated a plan that aims at stemming abuse of power in the country’s political space.

“I already have something that has come from the Justice and Peace Commission and we are going to have even the Priests speak about it. It is called a peace messaging sermon…delivered from the Pulpit, local and social platforms, and the theme is, ‘proper use of the gift of the tongue,’” he said.

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Bishop Rotich further spoke about what integrity entails saying, “You cannot abuse your wife. If you are a person of integrity, you cannot just hurl words at any woman. That is abuse.”

He told those who engage in verbal abuses against women who try to vie for political seats that their scorecard stands at zero the moment they start demeaning women verbally.

“Why is it that when it comes to politics, our women are subjected to these nasty words? We must take care of our mothers, take care of our sisters, take care of our dear spouses,” Bishop Rotich said.

He urged the youth to refuse to be used in violence saying that those who seek political seats depend on the citizens so as to be either voted in or out.

Bishop Rotich encouraged the youth to frequent County offices until when their voice is listened to and in the event they are ignored, then they have the right to file a petition in the court of law.

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“You have an agenda, we have a youth directorate in the County; we have a ministry in each of these Counties; let us interact so that we can solve the problems,” Bishop Rotich said in the February 15 breakfast event that was attended by officials from both Bomet and Kericho Counties.

He added, “I'm asking the young people to interact with us. Let us also be warm to the young people so that they know what to do.”

The Local Ordinary of Kericho Diocese explained, “In other countries, if your state governor does not listen to you, you must knock at his door. Every citizen of that county must be seen by the administrator. If they don’t listen to you, then you can proceed to court.”

Bishop Rotich said the avenue of peace is sitting down and discussing whatever challenge people are facing and that politicians must be good role models to the youth through their characters while in office.

“Politicians should be role models. Let us cultivate a culture where we are expected by our children to be role models; let us not use the youth in the forthcoming elections,” the 64-year-old Kenyan Bishop who has been at the helm of Kericho Diocese since February 2020 said.

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Kenya’s Bomet County Deputy Governor, Shadrack Rotich, urged the people of God in the County to develop the habit of verifying any information they hear about each other to avoid unnecessary confrontation.

“As politicians, as citizens of this country, before information is given to you about a politician, please counter check; so always before we cast allegations on somebody, it is better to confirm the information that we are being given,” Mr. Rotich said during the February 15 event.