AFRICA/KENYA - The Bishops warn: "We risk electoral violence again, just like nine years ago"

Tuesday, 15 November 2016 bishops   politics   violence  

Nairobi (Agenzia Fides) - "Beware, we risk the situation we were in, in the year 2007-2008" warn the Bishops of Kenya, who "note with concern the resurgence of violence, confrontational languages and hate speeches" in the campaign for the general elections of 2017.
In a statement sent to Fides, the Episcopal Conference of Kenya said that "the election fever is increasingly gaining momentum", criticizing politicians who "are abandoning their responsibilities and shuttling from one corner to another seeking to secure a place for 2017 elections".
Accusations and counter accusations among politicians "are being traded at the expense of the truth" and are already fueling violence in different areas of the country. "Already lives have been lost in the conflict between the Pokots and the Marakwets. There are ongoing clashes between Kisii, Masai and Kipsigis communities", says the message, and these are only some of the examples given.
After reiterating the ban on the use of pulpits for electoral purposes (see Fides 09/11/2016), the Bishops recall another evil of Kenya, corruption, "that is perpetrated without shame or fear", and say "we as religious leaders are willing to facilitate a forum to address the issues of corruption with sobriety, away from political rhetoric".
In the face of terrorist attacks that have bloodied the border areas with Somalia, the Bishops stress that "the intention of these evil people is clear: to create animosity between Christians and Muslims in this country. We should never succumb to this temptation for evil can only be overcome by good".
The message says that "the situation of endless strife in South Sudan is worrying", which causes a constant flow of refugees in Kakuma camp. "We call upon the Kenyan Government to work with other nations for a lasting solution to the problems facing South Sudan. Kenya has to take her traditional role of brokering peace in South Sudan".
The Bishops conclude by launching an appeal to the responsibility of all Kenyans "so that the well being and prosperity of our Country depends on all of us. Together we can build a Country that is just and free from corruption, a Country that is orderly and respects the rule of law and a country where the dignity of every person is respected and valued". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 15/11/2016)