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Kibaki urges church to preach reconciliation

NAIROBI, July 11 – President Mwai Kibaki held discussions with church leaders Friday morning to once again urge them to be at the forefront of preaching healing and reconciliation to their followers.

During the meeting at his Harambee House office, the President noted that genuine reconciliation, following the tragic post election violence, was a critical pillar to the country’s development efforts.

“As a government we see the church as a partner in our joint endeavours to improve the lives of our people. Be free to point out what we need to do as a government because we all want to see a country at peace and enjoying levels of development that benefit all Kenyans,” said the President.

The Head of State was holding talks with the executive committee of the Bible Society of Kenya, led by the General Secretary Elizabeth Muriuki, the Board Chairman Nelly Mbugua, Vice-Chairman Isaac Litali and representatives from various Churches and Church organisations.

More than 300,000 people were displaced from their homes in two months of bloody riots that erupted at the start of the year, following a disputed general election.

Most of them began residing in makeshift camps all over the country, where they were guarded and fed by the government in partnership with humanitarian organisations and help from well wishers.

The government then launched the ‘Operation Rudi Nyumbani’ (Operation return home) project, where they transported the internally displaced persons back to their original homes and offered to help the rebuild homes that had been burnt down.

But in some areas in the Rift Valley province, the region worst hit by the post poll skirmishes, IDPs returning home were threatened with death and told to once again get out of their homes, threatening to put the reconciliation process in jeopardy.

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President Kibaki briefed members of the society on steps the government had taken to ensure healing and reconciliation in the country, and sought their input in preaching peace and forgiveness to their followers.

Meanwhile, the Bible Society of Kenya, which is non-sectarian and non-denominational, is preparing to launch a booklet focusing on fostering reconciliation and healing in the country.

The booklet entitled ‘Path to Healing’ proposes the roadmap to fostering repentance, reconciliation, forgiveness, healing and restoration among Kenyans.

The launch that is set for Nyeri on Saturday will also coincide with the launch of a new Gikuyu Bible to replace the current one that has been in use since 1965.

The President is expected to grace the occasion that will be held at Kamukunji Stadium.

The Bible Society of Kenya is also working with other Kenyan communities to ensure that the bible is translated in as many local languages as possible, using vocabulary that is easily understood by the youth.

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