Kenyan County Leaders Pledge to Collaborate with Catholic Diocese in Addressing Insecurity

The Samburu North Member of Parliament Mr. Eli Letipila (in checked shirt) with some of the Catholic faithful at the opening of the Maralal Diocese Oasis building in Nairobi, Kenya.

Leaders of Samburu County in Kenya have pledged to collaborate with the Catholic Diocese of Maralal that covers the Kenyan County in addressing insecurity that involves cattle rustlers and perpetrators of gender-based violence among other actors.

Governor Jonathan Lati Lelelit who led the newly elected County leaders during the official inauguration and blessing of the Maralal Oasis building of the Kenyan Catholic Diocese located at the junction of Argwings Kodhek and Rose Avenue in Nairobi expressed his commitment to working with the Church leadership to foster peaceful coexistence in the County.

“I will be available and committed to work with the Catholic Diocese of Maralal to ensure that there is peace in Samburu County,” Governor Lelelit, a Catholic faithful, said during the September 24 event that Bishop Virgilio Pante presided over.

Bishop Pante is the immediate former Local Ordinary of Maralal Diocese. On July 20, Pope Francis appointed Mons. Hieronymus Joya, a Kenyan-born member of the Institute of Consolata Missionaries (IMC), as the new Local Ordinary of the Kenyan Diocese.

In the bulletin by the See Press Office announcing the administrative in the Kenyan Diocese, the Holy Father accepted the retirement of Bishop Pante, the 76-year-old Italian-born IMC member who had been at the helm of Maralal Diocese since his Episcopal Ordination in October 2001. 


In his speech during the September 24 event in Nairobi, Governor Lelelit addressed himself to Bishop Pante, saying, “Anything we can do as leaders to spread peace, Bishop, please direct us. You have been in the reconciliation ministry for a long time, so anything you tell us, we will do it.”

Situated in Northern Kenya, inhabitants of Samburu County have been in conflict with their neighboring Turkana County counterparts as a result of cattle rustling and cattle theft, gender-based violence, as well as intra and inter-ethnic rivalries. 

In his September 24 speech, Governor Lelelit expressed optimism that the Church is in a good position to address the conflicts and restore peace because her members spread across the two Kenyan Counties.

“I believe the Church can lead this process because I have noticed that the Church has members on both sides of the conflicting parties,” the Kenyan first term Governor elected during the August 9 polls said, and added, “We want to use the Church to lead us in the peace process.”

For the one month I have been in office, he went on to say, “We have already availed an operation structure that church leaders will use in the process of reconciliation.”

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The operation structure entails three representatives from each of the religious groups across the East African nation, the Governor said, adding the faith-based entities to be represented include the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya (EAK), and the  Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM)

Speaking at the same event, the Member of Parliament (MP) of Samburu North Constituency called for concerted efforts to address security challenges under the leadership of faith-based leaders. 

Eli Letipila expressed his readiness to collaborate with the Catholic Diocese of Maralal and other faith-based leaders to address insecurity, saying, “We must all unite and put God first for us to get peace.”

“I am ready to join hands with everyone including the church because peace is not an event; it’s a process, and if we put God first, it is possible,” Mr. Letipila emphasized during the September 24 event.

On her part, the women representative of Samburu County, Pauline Lenguris regretted the fact insecurity has been a challenge in the County for long, and reiterated the Governor’s call for a collaborative approach. 


“All of us have a responsibility towards ensuring peace,” Ms. Lenguris said, and added, “We need the help of the current government, our effort as Maralal leaders and the effort of all citizens in addressing the issue of insecurity.”

The Senator of Samburu County, Lelegwe Ltumbesi, said the newly elected leaders of Samburu had resolved to focus their attention on realizing peace in the Country and expressed his support for collaboration with the Catholic Diocese of Maralal in the initiative. 

“Our mandate and what we have decided as elected Samburu leaders is to bring peace in this County,” Mr. Ltumbesi said, and added, “We have decided to bring peace and we call upon the church to walk with us in this journey.”

Meanwhile, in his homily during the Holy Mass at the event, Bishop Pante urged the Catholic faithful to keep praying for the new government to govern in peace, love and unity.

He emphasized the need to prioritize the building of a spiritual church over “physical structures”, which he said are not everlasting.

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“Building a spiritual church is more peaceful than building physical structures,” Bishop Pante said, and explained, “Building a spiritual church is not money, stones, but Christians who are spiritual, Christians are the church, an everlasting structure.”

“Let’s pray that God will strengthen us to continue with His work,” the Bishop emeritus said during the September 24 Eucharistic celebration during the official inauguration and blessing of the Maralal Oasis building in Nairobi.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.