, NAKURU, Kenya, Nov 9 – Catholic Bishops have vowed to spearhead peace building initiatives geared towards promoting cohesion in the country in the wake of the current political stalemate occasioned by National Super Alliance’s boycott of last month’s presidential election.
In a statement read at the Christ the King Cathedral in Nakuru after a Holy Mass in memory of Bishop Cornelius Korir and special prayers for the country which was presided over by Cardinal Njue, the clergy under the umbrella of Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) said constructive dialogue was the only way out of the political crisis.
They noted that it was evident that there were underlying issues that surfaced during elections that could be ironed out through dialogue.
In the statement read by Bishops Phillip Anyolo, John Oballa Owaa and Martin Kivuva of Mombasa Arch Diocese, KCCB quoted Pope Francis who encouraged dialogue saying that it was a fundamental responsibility in politics.
The bishops said they would organize an all-inclusive National Dialogue Forum to set agenda for discussion and resolutions.
“Irrespective of the outcome of the Supreme Court on the Presidential Repeat Elections and any evolvement of the political situation, we are convinced that the National Dialogue Forum is necessary,” Bishop Kivuva said.
This comes almost a fortnight after the National Council of Churches of Kenya made a similar call and asked for the creation of a Prime Minister’s position in the national government.
Bishop Kivuva said the national dialogue will focus on difficulties of elections and the reforms of the electoral commission, national healing and reconciliation.
He said the forum would also discuss criteria for addressing long term issues of governance, transparency and accountability, poverty, unemployment and economic inequality.
“The forum will bring together Kenyans of all walks including religious leaders, civil societies and all other key stakeholders,” the bishop said.
Bishop Oballa said Kenya was threatened with disintegration and conflict judging by the current situation.
While reading the statement signed by 24 bishops among them Cardinal John Njue, Bishop Oballa said the county was divided in the middle on political and ethnic lines.
He noted that the violence and police brutality reported in some parts of the country was scaring.
Politicians had further polarised the country through chest thumbing and grandstanding, he noted.
Oballa asked leaders to stop insults, politics of division and ethnic profiling, secession calls, corruption, grandstanding and chest thumbing among other things the cause divisions.
On his part, Bishop Anyolo said KCCB had collaborated with other religious leaders, civil societies and leaders in different sectors to build pillars of peace, reconciliation, justice and national cohesion.
Also in attendance during the Mass was Canon Reverend Peter Karanja of the National Council of Churches of Kenya.