Nairobi (Agenzia Fides) - "We are deeply concerned with continued insecurity and tensions in the Counties of Narok and Marsabit which have led to loss of lives, displacement of people and destruction of properties", says a statement from the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC) signed on behalf of the Bishops of Kenya, by His Exc. Mgr. John Oballa Owaa, Bishop of Ngong and President of the CJPC.
The Bishops term as “regrettable” the reported cases of systematic killings of twelve people in Marsabit County including two university students, a secondary school student and a motorcycle rider stressing that "sanctity of life and human dignity is a value to be upheld at all times".
The Bishops underline that "the continuous loss of lives due to ethnic, clan hatred, competition over resources and leadership wrangles of human lives due to ethnicity, clan hatred, competition on resources and leadership disputes is unfortunate".
Marsabit, which neighbours Ethiopia and Somalia is considered a “conflict hotspot” with indigenous communities historically fighting over water and pasture for their animals and manipulated by local politicians for electoral purposes. "The dominant Kenyan political culture - denounce the Bishops - have exploited ethnic vulnerabilities for political and economic gain". Consequently, the common good is not pursued.
Narok, the County within the Catholic diocese of Ngong, has had frequent inter-ethnic violent clashes over land and cattle rustling among the dominant pastoralist communities.
"We strongly condemn these barbaric acts and appeal to the concerned communities to embrace peace, love and harmony. Only then will development be realized for their common good", says the statement.
The people of God in these places are facing a "myriad of challenges" also for the Covid-19 crisis, note the Bishops, and therefore it is necessary to avoid adding, "conflicts, killings and other forms of sufferings".
The Bishops call on Kenya’s Ministry of Interior to conduct "speedy investigations" and bring the culprits to justice, because the sense of impunity for those who commit these crimes must be put to an end. The authorities need to make sure that people "have faith in the systems of governance. Otherwise fear prevails and communities will continue to kill each other as if we are a lawless state". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 6/7/2020)