AFRICA/KENYA - “Progress made in last 15 months but much remains to be done” say Catholic Bishops of Kenya

Tuesday, 4 May 2004

Nairobi (Fides Service)- “ We thank God that we have a democratically elected government in Kenya”. With this statement the Catholic Bishops of Kenya introduce a press statement issued in April in which they reflect on the situation in the country 15 months since the installation of President Mwai Kibaki, highlighting progress made and remaining urgent problems to solve.
“Together with others, we have journeyed with Kenyans to bring about the many positive changes that we see today - the Bishops affirm - We in the Catholic Church strongly feel that to sustain gains made in democracy and democratic values, it is imperative that Kenyans are constantly vigilant. Towards these efforts, we believe that civic education must continue so as to nurture these gains and move forward. ”.
A major problem in Kenya today is corruption. “ The government’s ongoing efforts to cleanup the judiciary is commendable. We recognise numerous legislative measures, such as the Economic Crimes Bill, that have been passed to help fight graft in the public service. However, recent reports on corruption still indicate that bribery is still alive in public institutions, which ‘sell’ what is supposed to be free services to Kenyans - the Bishops say, adding - We urge the government to act on such reports in its fight to rid of corruption all public institutions. ”
In the field of education the Bishops recall the contribution offered by the Church to Kenya’s school system. Free Primary Education is a major provision made by the new government: “The history of the Church’s involvement in education dates back to 1900s. The best-performing schools in National Examinations and in producing leading professionals are church-owned or church-sponsored schools; this must be appreciated. We note that free education has brought to school 1.5 million more children, raising the primary school population to 7.2 million. Despite suffering logistical problems at initial stages, free primary education is set to become a lasting legacy, given that an estimated 3 million school age children were out of school, due to lack of fees. The initiative has received overwhelming support from all development partners.”
“At this time of the Easter Season, we celebrate the resurrection of Christ. This gives us hope that although we are different people, we should stand united as Kenyans. Like it is often said, our unity lies in our diversity.
” the Bishops conclude. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 4/05/2004, righe 39 parole 431)