NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 25 – Amid the excitement over Pope Francis’ first visit to Africa which begins here in Kenya, and amid all the heartfelt prayers from Kenyans who are taking the time to reflect and pray for the country is a solemn call from the country’s Head of State to the Pope: Pray for the country which is facing challenges.
Kenyatta, in his speech following a one-one meeting he held with the Pope, asked the Holy Father to pray for him as he cracks the whip on corruption acknowledging that it was a challenge that was negatively impacting on the country’s economy.
“Civil society, media and leaders from across our political social spectrum have come together and made their views known and in the hearts of every Kenyan we know that we must win this war…it is up to me to lead it and Holy Father, I ask for your prayer,” said the President amid cheers from the dignitaries, religious and political leaders and business men who had attended the meeting.
In a passionate appeal to the Pope, Kenyatta took to the Bible quoting from 2 Cor 7:14 that “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
He said it was time for Kenya to heal and move forward towards progress.
He noted that Kenya’s challenges cut across even to the churches saying it was important that the country set the highest levels of integrity, inclusivity and peace if the country was to grow.
“We want to combat vices of corruption which sacrifice people and our environment in pursuit of illegal profit and misdirects resources, sows hatred and divides the people,” he added.
He once again reiterated the government’s commitment to fighting corruption saying all efforts had been put in place to deal with the vice.
On Tuesday President Uhuru Kenyatta re-organized his Cabinet sacking five Cabinet Secretaries who had been suspended due to corruption allegations, and replacing Anne Waiguru who resigned from the Cabinet over the weekend.
The shake-up saw two legislators nominated to be Cabinet Secretaries, and Principal Secretaries increased from 26 to 41.
The move has been lauded as one in the right direction with many classifying the proposed new team as the best so far.
Pope Francis arrived in the country at 4.30pm Wednesday, kicking off his Africa tour that will also take him to Uganda and the conflict-wracked Central African Republic.
“We are humbled that you chose to begin your apostolic voyage here in Kenya…we welcome you to Kenya and to Africa,” said Kenyatta.
At State House, the Pope was accorded the 21 gun salute before he went into a meeting with the President.