, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 11 – President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto Saturday joined thousands of mourners during the burial of the late Eldoret Catholic Diocese Bishop Cornelius Korir.
Bishop Korir passed away Monday last week following a short illness.
While addressing mourners at the mass conducted by Cardinal John Njue and Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya, His Excellency Archbishop Charles Daniel Balvo, President Kenyatta urged Kenyans to commit to peaceful existence and work together for the greater good of the nation.
“Let us all today reflect in the life of this great man and agree that we all can leave here today and each one of us becomes an instrument of peace by remembering that we’re each other’s keeper and we have no other country, therefore, we must learn to work together and always maintain peace,” President Kenyatta said.
He noted that the nation had come of age while making reference to his commitment to respecting the rule of law even as he awaits the Supreme Court to rule on petitions challenging his re-election in the October 26 fresh presidential election.
President Kenyatta reiterated his commitment to abiding by the decisions of the court which nullified his election during the August 8 presidential election, consequently ordering a fresh presidential poll.
“For the first time in Africa, we are showing our maturity as a nation. That yes we can disagree but we’ll wait for the processes laid down in law to resolve our problems,” he stated.
The President urged Kenyans to emulate the example set by the late bishop in order to achieve sustainable peace in the country.
“As we’ve been told, let us all do everything we can to emulate him. Let us emulate his respect for human dignity, his respect for people regardless of their colour or ethnicity and his deep desire to see a peaceful and united Kenya,” he remarked while exuding confidence in Kenya’s ability to become an even greater nation.
In his remarks during the mass, DP Ruto eulogized Bishop Korir as a firm leader who stood for what he believed in.
Ruto said the late Catholic clergy ensured peaceful existence among communities in the Rift Valley region adding that his peace-building efforts were critical to holding the region together.
“When Bishop exposed his stand on issues, political correctness and convenience was not part of his script. He said it unapologetically and we all came to appreciate that he spoke, he meant what he said,” Ruto said.
He remembered Bishop Korir as a crusader for unity urging Kenyans to unite in his remembrance.
“I say here without fear of contradiction that the Bishop taught us to refuse, resist and reject division, hate and violence and that is why we celebrate him today as a champion of peace,” the DP Noted.
The Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Balvo on his part asked religious and political leaders to work tirelessly in building bridges of peace among those they lead.
The representative of the Pope in the country said that peace was critical for the prosperity of any community and should, therefore, be kept at all times.
“Every Bishop is a bridge builder and that is the man (Bishop Korir) who we had and has now returned to the Father (God),” Archbishop Balvo observed.
He noted the huge gap left behind by Bishop Korir saying it was going to be a difficult task picking a successor.
“Looking for a successor to Bishop Korir will not be an easy job. In the next few days someone will be appointed temporarily to guide and direct the Diocese of Eldoret as we seek to find this person who will take his place,” said the Apostolic Nuncio.
In his remarks during the mass, Cardinal Njue urged Kenyans to sustain peaceful coexistence in honour of the peace-building efforts of the late Bishop Korir.
According to Cardinal Njue, what mattered most was to keep the peace Korir worked for adding that by doing so the nation will prosper.
“Let us manifest our gratitude by safeguarding the seed of peace and reconciliation that Bishop Korir planted,” the Cardinal urged.
He encouraged the mourners to see one another as brothers and sisters created by the same God and resist every attempt to be incited against one another.
“Let our unity be founded on love and in obedience to what the Lord (Jesus) told us. The most important thing is that we’re all created in the image of God.”
Earlier, the family of Bishop Korir eulogized him as an astute peacemaker who won the admiration of rival groups in the Rift Valley region.
Addressing mourners during the mass, the sister to the renowned religious leader Pauline Mosonic challenged all communities in the region to treasure peace in honour of the bishop.
“Bishop Korir revered the elders of Pokot, Marakwet and Turgen. We have no excuse but to live in love and for the peace that he worked for,” she said.
His brother, Raphael Kipsoi, remembered him as a man who was devoted to brokering peace often sacrificing his own safety to achieve peace between two rival groups.
“He comforted the afflicted and often managed to restore peace,” Kipsoi said.
Anglican Church of Kenya Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit remembered the late bishop as the voice of reason in the Inter Religious Council of Kenya where Sapit said Korir often united leaders of different faiths.
Other leaders who attended the mass include former Anglican head Eliud Wabukala, Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago, Elgeyo Marakwet Senator and Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen as well as Cabinet Secretaries.
The late bishop’s remains will be interred inside a Cathedral in Eldoret in accordance with Church traditions which prescribe such burials for leaders of Korir’s stature who die in office.