By Paul Samasumo
The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) has welcomed the recent rapprochement between Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) leader, Raila Odinga.
Reconciliation must move the country forward
In a surprise move, last week, the two former adversaries resolved to heal the political crisis that had gripped Kenya in the aftermath of the August/ October 2017 elections. Last year's presidential polls left Kenyans deeply divided and polarised.
Now Kenya’s Catholic Bishops have praised the public gesture of reconciliation and urged the two leaders to move the Country forward.
“We wish to acknowledge the gesture of our two leaders, His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta and Right Honourable Raila Odinga, in meeting and extending hands of reconciliation among themselves, and as a sign of their commitment in collaborating towards uniting the deeply divided and polarised Country,” said the Bishop of Homabay Diocese and KCCB Chairman, Philip Anyolo.
Bishop Anyolo made the remarks in a press statement also counter-signed by all Kenyan Bishops.
A call for Kenyans to work towards justice
“We, therefore, laud this gesture and hope that it is an opening to a greater commitment towards seeking real solutions to a more just, democratic and prosperous country where every citizen has an opportunity to develop. This gesture also enhances our conviction that dialogue is possible,” Bishop Philip Anyolo emphasised.
President, Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader, Raila Odinga’s reconciliation took many by surprise given last year's bitterly contested elections. However, Kenya’s divisions represent a repeat of the 2007/2008 post-election crisis which led to mediation efforts by then U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice and former U.N. Secretary-General, Kofi Annan.
Kenyan Bishops want reconciliation to permeate grassroots
Kenyan Catholic Bishops want the reconciliation between the political leaders to permeate grassroots; address marginalisation and deal with the structural causes of endemic post-election crises. In the press statement, Bishop Anyolo says, “This beginning should now accommodate all stakeholders and Kenyans and be open to addressing all the issues that are of concern to this Country,” he said.