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Clergy put Kenya President, PM on the spot

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 19 – Religious leaders have openly accused President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga of failing the country and urged them to take charge of the country and restore its dignity.

The clergy who spoke during a fundraiser and prayers for victims of the Nakumatt and Molo fire disasters on Thursday, took the opportunity to make it clear that all was not well with the management of affairs in the country.

Pentecostal Church Bishop Boniface Adoyo expressed his concern on the ineffectiveness of the executive.

"You have been reluctant to punish those perceived to be your friends who are corrupt and greedy," Bishop Adoyo told the President who sat attentively barely a meter away.

He added: "You have neglected the internally displaced persons and have not acted decisively on insecurity and extrajudicial killings.  As a result, Kenyans have been disillusioned by the Grand Coalition Government."

His sentiments were echoed by the chairperson of the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims Abdulgafur Al-Busaidy.

"You have continued to divide Kenyans over ethnic lines to win political office. You have bribed, intimidated, incited, manipulated and forced your followers into servitude," Mr Al-Busaidy said.

But Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka defended the government saying there was need for all Kenyans to come up with solutions to challenges facing the country.

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"I think it is good to acknowledge that all of us Kenyans have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  We also witnessed a situation where the clergy was divided but I think it is now time to look forward," he said.

The church leaders urged the Head of State and the Premier to take the initiative to lead the healing process following last year’s post-election violence.

"The people have continued to elect leaders who do not listen to them. God is not happy with all of us," Anglican Church of Kenya Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi said.

"The political leaders in Kenya have been the greatest threat to peace and prosperity in the country."

The fundraiser for the victims of the Nakumatt and Molo disasters that claimed the lives of about 140 people raised over Sh80 million.

In his address, President Kibaki directed the immediate implementation of the National Disaster Plan.

He said a draft national Disaster Management Policy would soon be discussed by the Cabinet.

"I am directing the Ministry of State for Special Programmes to begin immediately implementation of the National Disaster Response plan to prevent further loss of life or property due to accidents and other disasters," the Head of State said.

Both President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga urged the nation to move from blame games to redeem the image of the country.

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"Stop looking for somebody to blame.  It is not that you must look for who is guilty and you are holy, not to be blamed," the President said in response to the condemnation by the clergy.

"At times like this, the blame game will always be there but we are saying that disasters like this should also offer an opportunity for self reflection," the PM reiterated.

Internal Security Minister Professor George Saitoti on his part pointed out that security forces had played a major role in restoring safety in the country, particularly during the post election violence.

He stated that the country had faced numerous challenges since the chaos that followed the December 2007 poll that left nearly 1,500 people dead.

"You do recall that in January 2008, this country was engulfed in a different kind of fire which we all know was the post election violence," Prof Saitoti said.

"It was a time when many Kenyans wondered what had befallen our beloved country to the extent that neighbours and friends turned against each other," he added.


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