Remain “committed to the Lord's gift of peace”: Kenyan Catholic Bishop in Lent Message

Bishop Joseph Obanyi Sagwe of Kenya’s Catholic Diocese of Kakamega. Credit: Kakamega Diocese

Bishop Joseph Obanyi Sagwe of Kenya’s Catholic Diocese of Kakamega has encouraged the people of God in his Episcopal See to remain dedicated to peace throughout the electioneering period in the East African nation.

In his Lenten message circulated Thursday, March 3, the Catholic Bishop says the people of God in Kenya find themselves in worrying circumstances whenever there are elections. 

“It is my appeal to all Catholics and all people of goodwill to steadfastly remain committed to the Lord's gift of peace,” Bishop Obanyi says.

He urges Kenyans to be ambassadors of peace saying, “By our tongue and action, let us project the voice of reason where anger and emotional convenience seems apparent.”

“Let us by our clear voices of objectivity and optimism clear the dark clouds of pessimism within our communities,” says the Kenyan Catholic Bishop.


Kenyans are expected to elect the President, Members of the National Assembly and Senate, county governors, women representatives, and members of the 47 county assemblies in polls scheduled for August 9. 

Kenya has witnessed post-election skirmishes multiple elections in the past. 

While the violence following the December 2007 poll that left at least 1,000 people dead and some 350,000 displaced has been widely reported, the East African nation has witnessed other post-election skirmishes, including the 1992, 1997 and 2013.

In his Lenten message circulated March 3, Bishop Obanyi said the country is returning to normalcy following the COVID-19 pandemic that led to 5,640 deaths. At least 323,002 people in Kenya are reported to have contracted COVID-19.

“We deservedly should feel comforted by the sense of normalcy returning,” Bishop Obanyi says, and urges vigilance since the pandemic “is not yet fully behind us.” 

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“I advise caution as we go about our day-to-day activities especially in this season of electioneering,” he says, and adds, “Let not our human desire for authority and power blind us to the sanctity of human life and our sacred duty to take all necessary steps to guard it.”

Bishop Obanyi also urges the people of God under his pastoral care to participate in the Synod on Synodality. 

"Let us respond to this universal calm of communion, participation and mission," he says in reference to the theme of the ongoing preparations for the Synod on Synodality, and adds, "May we find it in our hearts to listen more and mind even those that we ordinarily deem to be of no consequence."

“What a better moment to reflect on this sense of community than participation as invited by His Holiness Pope Francis through the Synod on Synodality, which is currently underway," the Bishop says. 

Further, Bishop Obanyi urges Kenyans to "honestly participate" in the 2022 Lenten campaign


Members of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) have developed a theme and weekly reflection topics throughout Lent. 

This year's theme is “Unity in Diversity: Promoting Good Neighbourliness”. 

Some of the weekly deliberations include civic responsibility, respect for the rule of law by all, human trafficking, food security and youth, and peaceful elections.

By participating in the Lenten campaign, Bishop Obanyi says, Catholics “will remain conscious of the Church's ever-present concern on the sanctity of life, care for our common home, and the need to protect the family.”

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.