REV CANON PETER KARANJA
It is with profound sorrow and deep pain that the National Council of Churches of Kenya sends her condolences and words of comfort to the families and friends of all our brothers and sisters who were yesterday morning inhumanely shot to death in Mandera on their way home.
It is only God who can give you peace and consolation at this trying moment, for he alone knows the pain you are going through. The violence that was visited on your loved ones was evil, and we remind you the words of God recorded in Psalm 7: 14-16: “He who is pregnant with evil and conceives trouble gives birth to disillusionment. He who digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit he has made. The trouble he causes recoils on himself; his violence comes down on his own head.”
In your sorrow, remember that God himself will avenge what was done to your brothers and sisters.
Message to the Government
On its part, we call upon the government to take visible and decisive action against the killers and their supporters. We especially urge His Excellency the President to recognise that mere words from government officials are not enough to assure Kenyans of their security.
We restate the principle that whenever crime is not punished publicly, more people are encouraged to commit similar crimes. The more the government allows similar attacks against innocent Kenyans to continue, the more the number of perpetrators of the same.
It is our position that there must be a clear resolution by the government to make committing and supporting such acts act of wanton violence very expensive. Every person involved, whether by actually killing Kenyans or supporting the killers, must be made to pay a price so high others will learn and desist from doing the same.
Kenyans expect the government to protect them and if this is not forthcoming, then the government should do the honourable thing and resign or officially inform Kenyans to take their security into their own hands. The Christian fraternity has got no reason to believe that these attacks are an affront to Christianity in the country unless convinced otherwise. We wish to remind the government that tough talk with little action is an admission of failure on its constitutional mandate of protecting Kenyans.
Message to the Muslim Leadership in the Country
Over the past years, there have been incessant violence targeted at Christians in various Muslim dominated counties. Every time this happens the blame is placed on the Al Shabaab.
However, we remain cognizant that the attackers do not operate in a vacuum. They live among the people and there are those within the community who are aware of what they do. This implies complicity on the part of the local and national Muslim leadership with the religious-based intolerance being propagated through these attacks. The reports we have that some community members were aware before attacks on churches happened go to confirm this assertion.
We wish to remind you that throughout history of humanity, religious purging has never succeeded. Every time it has been attempted it ended in greater cycles of violence. It is upon you to stop blaming the Al Shabaab and deal with your own people who are fomenting this trouble.
You must walk the talk and expose all those elements who are behind these attacks.
Yesterday was indeed a sad day when Kenyans were killed for merely being Kenyans and travelling home to be with their families. May we all Kenyans join hands in making a prayer to God using the words recorded in Psalm 55:9 “Confuse the wicked, O Lord, confound their speech, for I see violence and strife in the city.”
(Canon Karanja is the NCCK General Secretary)