AFRICA/KENYA - Population exhausted: clashes against the government continue and drought does not stop

Tuesday, 28 March 2023

Nairobi (Agenzia Fides) - The population is exhausted, the drought that has been going on for more than two years with serious repercussions on most Kenyans is compounded by anti-government protests organized by the opposition. The cost of living and the resignation of President William Ruto, considered by many not democratically elected during last year's vote (see Fides, 17/8/2022) are the focus of the riots.
According to information released by the BBC, 238 arrests had already been registered last week, including four MPs, one dead and 31 police officers injured.
Immediate action was taken by the country's bishops who called on politicians from the opposition-led Azimio la Umoja-one Kenya Coalition and those in the Kenya Kwanza government, as well as all Kenyans, to think together for the good and development of the nation.
"We will not return to that slippery path that leads to violence, we cannot allow our country to regress into disaster," the church leaders warned in their statement signed by Archbishop of Mombasa Martin Kivuva Musonde, president of the Kenya Bishops' Conference.
"We appeal to all Kenyan leaders of all political factions to meet, talk and dialogue in order to find solutions. The way to solve any problem in our country must be exclusively the way provided by our Constitution."
In particular, the bishops addressed opposition leader Raila Odinga, urging him not to give space to demonstrations that risk escalating into violence. "Let us not instrumentalize misery", the Archbishop of Mombasa asked, "let us sit down together! Kenyans, let us reason together."
"Famine, hunger and cost of living are the priorities that the country is facing and we cannot risk aggravating them because of violence. We have so many problems, critical issues, broken promises, but we must always stay within the limits of our Constitution, with due respect for the Kenyan people, for life and for each leader".
The population is exhausted by hunger fueled by drought and famine, and the bishops urge support for those in need by providing food and containing the cost of living.
"We Kenyans must reject the poison of hatred that is becoming commonplace in the mouths of our politicians, and we must be prepared not to get involved with those who incite us to violence in order to destroy the future of our children," they concluded. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 28/3/2023)