Vatican News English Africa Service.
Meeting at the Marian National Shrine, Subukia, located in the Diocese of Nakuru, the Bishops’ pastoral statement raises several wide-ranging issues.
They, discuss in the pastoral statement, proposed changes to the constitution, the 2022 general elections, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, the need to strengthen the Judiciary, floods, food security, the covid-19 pandemic, and the growing insecurity in Kenya.
Security situation in Baringo County
The Bishops took time to draw the attention of Kenyan authorities to the deteriorating security situation in Baringo County, particularly in Kapedo and also in other parts of the country. Many people, the Bishops said, have been displaced from their homes due to the violence.
“The Government has an obligation to provide security to all its citizens. Communities in Baringo deserve security and peace so they can go about their daily duties. The state of anarchy in the region must be stopped. On behalf of those poor people whose lives have been shattered and property destroyed, we urge the Government to support them to enable them reconstruct their lives. At the same time, it is incumbent upon all Kenyans to promote and maintain peace and shun all acts of hatred, discrimination and violence. We extend our sympathies to the affected families and assure them of our prayers and support,” said the KCCB Bishop-Chair, Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde.
Interfaith Council guidelines for the safety of worshippers
The Bishops further assured that they would remain engaged and committed to implementing Covid-19 rules and protocols. They would also continue to observe the Covid-19 Interfaith Council guidelines in order to keep places of worship safe.
However, the Kenyan Bishops voice out their concerns about the procurement process for Covid-19 vaccines. The prelates want to see more transparency and accountability in the procurement sector because “this country cannot afford a new round of embezzlement of resources intended for containment of Covid-19. We constantly decry the real pandemic of corruption that ails our country,” said Archbishop Kivuva.
Distribution of ARVs in Kenya
In another development, the Bishops, through the pastoral statement, pronounced themselves on the diplomatic wrangle concerning the distribution of antiretroviral treatment donated to Kenyans by the United States Government.
Last month, the Kenyan Government and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) found themselves in a stalemate over the distribution of antiretroviral (ARV) treatment in the country. This was after reports that KEMSA, the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority’s tender to distribute drugs on behalf of the American Government, had been revoked and given instead to Chemonics, a private international development company with headquarters in Washington, D.C. This resulted in a tax and distribution tussle that threatens the overall supply chain for ARVs in Kenya. There are about 1.2 million HIV-positive people living in Kenya.
“We are also very much concerned by the standoff between the funding agency of the United States and the Government of Kenya in regard to ARVs. What is at stake are the lives of many Kenyans infected with HIV/AIDS who depend on ARVs. We call for a speedy solution to the issues preventing the ARVs from being released and distributed,” said Archbishop Kivuva.
Keep hope alive
The Bishops assured Kenyans that they were praying for them and urged them not to lose hope even in the face of such trying hardships as COVID-19.
“Encouraged by the words of our Lord, who has conquered the world, (we) in turn encourage you not to lose hope in the midst of despair and suffering, to take both individual and collective responsibility in fighting the COVID -19 pandemic and other evils in our midst,” the Kenyan prelates assured.