“Slippery road to anarchy”: Catholic Bishops in Kenya on Politicians’ Utterances, Moves

Members of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB). Credit: KCCB

Catholic Bishops in Kenya have cautioned government and opposition politicians in the East African nation against utterances and actions that incite citizens to violence. 

In their March 18 statement shared with ACI Africa, members of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) warn that “political players” are taking Kenyans who are already facing “too many problems” on the “slippery road to anarchy”. 

“We must be ready to walk out of those inciting us to violence, in order to destroy the future of our children. We as a Country must decide that we are not going back to that slippery path that leads to violence,” KCCB members say.

Catholic Bishops in Kenya are reacting to the move by leaders of opposition under the Azimio One Kenya Coalition to call for Monday, March 20 countrywide anti-government demonstrations, which the opposition leader, former Prime Minister Raila Amolo Odinga, termed “mass action”. 

The opposition-led demonstrations that Mr. Odinga has declared are to take place every Monday are aimed, he has said, to force President William Samoei Ruto to lower the cost of living for Kenyans.


KCCB members are also reacting to the decision by President Ruto to nominate 50 Chief Administrative Secretaries (CAS), up from 23, a move that is faulted for exponentially increasing the government wage bill. CAS deputize Cabinet Secretaries in government Ministries.

In their March 18 statement, Catholic Bishops in Kenya “address the concern of the looming call to demonstration for 20th March 2023”, making reference to a March 13 meeting of the country’s religious leaders during which faith leaders “made a passionate appeal to the leadership of this Country and to the Opposition.”

“We wish to reiterate the grave concern expressed by all the religious leaders, of the turn to politically incited tensions,” KCCB members say, and add, “We warn that we are in real danger of taking the slippery road to anarchy, caused by the incitement of political players.”

The people of God in Kenya are weighed down “by way too many problems”, they say, highlighting “famine and hunger, and (rising) cost of living.”

“As we try to solve them (Kenyans’ problems), we neither wish to compound them with the risk of violence,” Catholic Bishops in Kenya say.

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They fault President Ruto-led government for “the in-opportunity of bloating further our public expenditure, by appointing a huge number of Chief Administrative Secretaries, in a time Kenyans are struggling to survive!”

“How can we expect Kenyans to now heed to the call of Government to contribute for the support of those faced with hunger?!” Catholic Bishops in Kenya pose in reaction to the nomination of 50 CAS, up from 23.

As a way forward, KCCB members invite Kenya’s politicians to take into consideration the message of Pope Francis to leaders in African during his January 31 – February 5 Apostolic trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan

During his visit to DRC and South Sudan, the Holy Father “appealed to the entire continent of Africa, for a different kind of leadership: A leadership of service and not self-serving one,” Catholic Bishops in Kenya recall.

They explain, “A leadership of dialogue and non-violent means to find solutions to our problems. In all this he (Pope Francis) was speaking to all of us.”


In their two-page statement signed by KCCB President, Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde of Mombasa Archdiocese, the Catholic Church leaders advocate for the rule of law and moves that are consistent with the country’s Constitution. 

“There are very many merit-worthy problems we must address,” Catholic Bishops in Kenya say, and add, “Ills we must criticize, unkept promises we must challenge, but these must be done within the constraints of our Constitution, with due respect to the Kenyan people, to life, and to each other as leaders.”

They also advocate for “talk and dialogue” in a spirit of humility and “within the provisions of our Constitution”. 

“We are now appealing to all Kenyan leaders across the political divide that we must humble ourselves to sit, talk and dialogue, in order to find solutions,” KCCB members say, and continue, “The path to resolve any problems in our country must be exclusively those within the provisions of our Constitution.”

They fault the opposition politicians for calling for mass action, saying, “We should not give space to demonstrations that risk to turn violent, nor matches that aim at insurrection and mutiny. Such actions would only negate the very rights and authority of their demands.”

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The Catholic Church leaders urge “Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga and all aggrieved leaders, to seek other avenues to address the merit worthy issues.”

“The Constitution provides for rallies and picketing, but these cannot have an agenda of forceful take over or destabilization of a Constitutional Government. Such rallies should highlight issues and seek solutions not to compound them! Let us not weaponize misery!” KCCB members say.

They continue, “With the same breath, we urge the President and his Government to address the pleas of the distressed Kenyan people. Enough food must reach those facing Famine and the cost of living must be contained.”

Catholic Bishops in Kenya reach out to “all Kenyans” to foster peace as they did during the general elections held in August last year. 

“We have had such peaceful elections last year. Further in spite of great provocation we still kept peace after the Supreme Court decision on the appeal on presidential elections. This demonstrated that Kenyans overwhelmingly voted for peace!” KCCB members say.

They appeal, “We Kenyans must therefore refuse to be lured into the past politics of confrontation, violence and of seeking ‘justice’ by looting and destruction of property. We Kenyans must reject the venom of hatred that is becoming commonplace in our politicians mouths.”

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