Kenya’s Religious Leaders “deeply pained” by Monday Violent Scenes, Demonstrations

Credit: Inter-Religious Council of Kenya (IRCK)

Religious leaders in Kenya have condemned the increasing violent scenes amid the weekly anti-government protests

In their statement issued after visiting a church and mosque that were torched in Nairobi’s Kibera slum during the Monday, March 27 demonstrations, members of the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya (IRCK) appealed for “brotherly coexistence” and unity, which they say Kenyans have shown amid “challenges and tribulations”.

“We are deeply pained and regret the unfolding and spiraling incidences of violence linked to nationwide protests," IRCK members say in their Tuesday, March 28 statement, and add, "Our unity is always the strength upon which we have always faced challenges and tribulations in our long years of brotherly co-existence.”

IRCK members caution against religious animosity in the East African nation, saying, “Christians and Muslims have never been enemies."

In what Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper has described as a Monday-Tuesday “night of chaos”, residents of Nairobi’s Kibera slum were, on Tuesday, March 28, “counting their losses following a night of arson attacks” that targeted the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) Emmanuel Center, the school attached to the church, Masjid A-aqsa Mosque, and stalls behind the mosque.


As the March 27 protests were gathering pace, a farm owned by Kenya’s former President, Uhuru Kenyatta, and a gas cylinder manufacturing company linked to Raila Amolo Odinga opposition leader, were being attacked.

In an interview with BBC on Tuesday, March 28, Mr. Odinga, Kenya’s former Prime Minister and leader of the Azimio One Kenya Coalition said that the March 27 attacks on private property were carried out by goons hired by William Samoei Ruto-led government. 

The opposition leader declared anti-government weekly demonstrations to take place on Monday and Thursday aimed at forcing President Ruto to lower the cost of living among other demands.  

In their March 28 press statement, IRCK members say “Civil Society Organizations should not be sucked into political persuasions but retain their positions as the dependable nerve centers of good governance, leadership, and national security advocacy.”

They also ask politicians to “immediately stop aggressive political mobilization aimed at destabilizing national peace and security.”

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“We call on Azimio One Kenya Coalition to call off its demonstrations and use alternative approaches to handle their grievances,” Kenya’s religious leaders in Kenya say, adding that President Ruto and Hon. Odinga need “to have unconditional meet-ups and discussions to quell political tension in the country.”

IRCK members also urge the media to engage in “non-partisan, non-aligned coverage and reporting of political events so that media reporting and coverage is not misconstrued to fan political motives.”

The religious leaders urge the National Security Council “to intervene and direct the state of internal threats to national security without further delay.”

In a March 22 statement, Catholic Bishops in Kenya cautioned the government and opposition leaders against “stand-off and defiance”, underscoring the need for dialogue.

“There cannot be a good reason to resort to the stand-off and defiance of our leaders to the detriment of Kenyans,” members of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) members said.


Kenya “is at a place where blame games by our leaders cannot address the country’s myriad of problems and crises,” they said, and added, “The chest thumping from those in government that they will not dialogue with the opposition will not solve the concerns and problems Kenyans are saddled with.” 

Catholic Bishops in Kenya also reached out to Hon. Odinga “to accept dialogue for the good of the country.”

“We believe that a sitting and dialogue can solve this dangerous stand-off. The two need to establish a common ground to address the ills facing the Country and restore the sanity we need in our country,” KCCB members said as a follow up to their March 18 caution against the “slippery road to anarchy”.

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.