We the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting at Waumini House- Westlands, have deeply reflected on the current state of our Country and following Pope Francis’ appeal, unite ourselves in prayer for peace in the world particularly in the current situation in Kenya. We echo the words of the Holy Father, that in the “current difficulties we are facing, we need an atmosphere of constructive dialogue, keeping deep in our hearts the need to find and sustain the common good for all”.
We the Catholic Bishops with other religious leaders have been involved in continuous dialogue and mediation processes both in public and private with the political actors and other electoral stakeholders. We have issued a number of press statements both as Dialogue Reference Group and as the Conference with the aim of reconciling the Country through dialogue. Up to yesterday we were trying frantically to make H.E The President Uhuru Kenyatta and Honourable Raila Odinga to meet, and it was our hope that we could find a solution to the current political standoff.
We continue to appeal to President Uhuru and Honourable Raila to bring down the tension in the Country so as to avert the worst political and security scenarios prevailing at the moment. It is important that they lead the Country to come to a closure of election period through a free, fair and credible election. We have also drawn their attention to look beyond post-election challenges which need their attention before and after the 26th October Presidential election.
Dear Kenyans and people of good will, at this critical time in our history, and with the reality of the current status of our country, following the Supreme Court orders to hold fresh Presidential election within 60 days scheduled for 26th October 2017, we have witnessed a state of reigning atmosphere of fear and anxiety with great possibility of dividing our Country. This has been heightened by demonstrations and counter reactions which end with police brutality that has led to maiming of Kenyans, deaths, including innocent children. It is our mandate to remind the Government and all citizens that life is sacred, given by God and only Him can take it away.
We have communicated and we want to remain on record that it would have been our wish that all the pertinent issues could have been resolved before the elections. Moreover, we are of the opinion that the parties concern would have agreed to ask IEEC to go before the Supreme Court to call off the election to allow the Commission to prepare for elections that meet the threshold of Article 81 (Section e) of the Constitution and the orders of the Supreme Court, to avoid dividing our Country further. That notwithstanding, the 26th October elections are now scheduled to go on. We therefore ask our two leaders to urge their supporters to remain peaceful before, during and after, regardless of the outcome. For any aggrieved party, we urge them to seek legal and peaceful means to address the underlying issues. Maintaining hardened positions and not appealing to their supporters towards a peaceful exercise, will only lead to deep ethnic divisions, violence, police using excessive force, further social and economic down-turn and a breakdown of law and order.
As your Shepherds, we want to see a transition towards proper democratic governance.
We have therefore appealed to President Uhuru and Honourable Raila to put first the interest of the Country before their own hardened positions:
1 We still belief that it is not too late for the two leaders to appeal to the Country and their supporters, either jointly or individually to salvage our beloved Country Kenya from the political standoff and assure the nation that those who wish to vote should be allowed to vote peacefully and those who do not wish to vote should peacefully stay away from the voting exercise.
2 We as religious leaders are calling upon the Government and the citizens of Kenya to ensure that Right to Life is protected as guaranteed in the Constitution of Kenya in Article 26 (1,2 and 3), which states that every person has the right to life, from conception to natural death. Nobody should take another person’s life arbitrary and intentionally because life is sacred and God given.
3 In keeping with our Constitution we encourage as we did earlier that those aggrieved to use the legal means and provided mechanism to seek redress. We specifically appeal that the demonstrations called for the 26th October, be called off.
4 We appealed to H.E Excellency, The President and Rt. Honourable Raila, to truly and sincerely look for the means and avenues that bring the election process and cycle to a closure, so that we move forward together into the post-election period, where we have numerous and deep social and economic issues that need to be urgently addressed.
Dear Kenyans and people of good will, we appeal to each and every one of us, to respect one another and to uphold peace. Moreover, let us allow those who wish to vote, to vote peacefully and willingly, and those who wish to abstain from voting, to stay away from the Polling Stations, and their democratic right should be respected.
Further, we appeal to you that we should not allow ourselves to be provoked and indulge in activities that do not promote peace and national cohesion. Let us also respect our brothers and sisters of IEBC especially as they carry out their responsibility of conducting the elections under the prevailing circumstances. We should be our brother’s keeper.
Finally, let us be aware that God will judge all of us, both leaders and citizens on our actions. We, the Catholic Bishops and as your shepherds shall continue to humbly play our prophetic role with commitment and courage. Above all we continue to offer prayers for all citizens and for our Country. Kenyans, we are in a very difficult moment and yet we must rise above the ethnic and political drums of conflict. Let us embrace dialogue in all our undertaking including political responsibility to steer the country forward. Once more we urge all citizens to join us to intensely pray for our country.
God is with us and will see us through.
Rt. Rev. Philip Anyolo
KENYA CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS
Wednesday 25th October 2017
Rt. Rev. Philip Anyolo –Chairman KCCB/Homa Bay
Rt. Rev. John Oballa Owaa – Vice-Chairman/Ngong
His Eminence John Cardinal Njue – Nairobi
Most Rev. Zacchaeus Okoth – Kisumu
Most Rev. Martin Kivuva Musonde – Mombasa
Most Rev. Anthony Muheria – Nyeri
– Apostolic Administrator, Kitui
– Apostolic Administrator, Machakos
Rt. Rev. Cornelius K. Arap Korir – Eldoret
Rt. Rev. Joseph Mairura Okemwa – Kisii
Rt. Rev. Maurice Crowley – Kitale
Rt. Rev. Alfred Rotich – KCCB
Rt. Rev. Norman King’oo Wambua – Bungoma
Rt. Rev. Peter Kihara – Marsabit
Rt. Rev. David Kamau Ng’ang’a – Auxiliary- Nairobi
Rt. Rev. Anthony Ireri Mukobo – Isiolo Vicariate
Rt. Rev. Virgilio Pante – Maralal
Rt. Rev. Salesius Mugambi – Meru
Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Okombo – Kericho
Rt. Rev. James Maria Wainaina – Murang’a
Rt. Rev. Paul Kariuki Njiru – Embu
Rt. Rev. Maurice Muhatia Makumba – Nakuru
Rt. Rev. Dominic Kimengich – Lodwar
Rt. Rev. Joseph Mbatia – Nyahururu
Rt. Rev. Joseph Alessandro – Garissa
Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Barbara – Malindi
Rt. Rev. Joseph Obanyi Sagwe – Kakamega
Very Rev. Fr. Benjamin K. Maswili -Apostolic Administrator, Military Ordinariate