AFRICA/KENYA - Putting social justice first" say the Bishops recalling Father Kaiser, missionary killed in circumstances never clarified

Tuesday, 29 August 2023 justice   bishops   politics  

Nairobi (Agenzia Fides) - "Father Kaiser fought all his life to defend the rights of the oppressed, the poor and all those who suffer from injustice", reaffirmed the bishops who took part in the suffrage ceremony of Father John Anthony Kaiser, American missionary killed in unclear circumstances on August 24, 2000 along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway. And it is precisely where the body of the murdered missionary was found that the ceremony took place, a ritual resumed after a three-year interruption due to Covid. On this occasion, the bishops who took the microphone called on the government to respect its commitments to voters, recalling the unfulfilled electoral promises, many of which were overdue, and insisted on the duty to seek social justice, reflecting the ideals of Father Kaiser. The bishops also called for action to be taken against the police officers accused of human rights violations during the demonstrations of the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition, which caused the death of more than 30 people (see Fides, 20/7/2023) and urged representatives of political parties to prioritize the welfare of the nation instead of letting talks turn into fruitless exchanges that produce little progress for citizens. Father John Anthony Kaiser was born in Perham, Minnesota in the United States on November 23, 1932. He entered the congregation of the Saint Joseph Missionary Society of Mill Hill and was ordained a priest in Saint Louis in 1964. The same year, he was sent on a mission to Kenya. He served in the diocese of Kisii for twenty years, then in the dioceses of Nakuru and Ngong.
As a missionary, he served the poor, advocated justice for the oppressed and respect for human rights. At the height of ethnic violence and land clashes in Kenya in 1993, Father Kaiser was working in Maela IDP camp in Nakuru diocese. His lifeless body was found on August 24, 2000 along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway. The cause of his death could not be determined at the time, but it was later discovered that he had been murdered by unknown persons. At the request of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), an investigation into his death was opened and concluded in 2007, which established that Fr. Kaiser had been murdered and that the "suicide theory" put forward by the Kenyan government and the FBI was based on preconceptions. To this day, however, mandates and executors of his assassination remain unpunished. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 29/8/2023)