KENYA: ‘Politics in this Country Will Have to Change,’ Says Nuncio Bert van Megan after June 25 Protests

By Wesley Omondi

NAIROBI, JULY 2, 2024 (CISA)“What happens after this, politics in this country will have to change,” said Most Rev Hubertus Maria van Megen, the Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya reacting to the revolutionary protests that occurred on June 25 in the capital and all over the country.

In a stirring homily delivered on June 29 during the Vincentian Congregation Priestly and Diaconate Ordinations, the nuncio addressed the nation’s recent impasse, emphasizing the need for significant political change.

“The government cannot continue with business as usual; business has to change because our youth mean business,” he asserted.

The Nuncio’s words came as the country grapples with violent protests, a deeply divided populace, and increasing demands for justice and reform. He underscored the urgency of addressing the anger and fear pervading not just among the youth, but across all sectors of society.

“The past week has seen a dramatic escalation in violence, with heavily armed security forces clashing with poorly protected protestors. The streets of Nairobi have witnessed scenes reminiscent of a battleground: water cannons, tear gas, and live bullets pitted against sticks and stones. The brutal crackdown has left many dead and wounded, with bodies lying in the streets and the injured seeking refuge at Holy Family Basilica,” narrated Archbishop van Megen.

He commended the different parties who stepped up to help the injured protesters saying,   “The Basilica itself became an important center amid the crisis. Initially closed to protestors, it opened its gates on Tuesday, transforming into a sanctuary where the wounded received care and solace. Young doctors and nurses worked tirelessly, supported by lawyers documenting abuses and priests offering comfort amidst the chaos.”

The nuncio noted that the Church is not only a place of spiritual refuge but also a place of sanctuary where individuals seeking protection from violence, persecution, or legal prosecution could find refuge.

“The church is where the wounded can be taken care of, where people find water to quench their thirst, where desperate people can be consoled and lost people shown the way,” the nuncio noted.

In his homily, the nuncio challenged Kenyans to reflect on their roles in the ongoing struggle: “How did you see it, how did you live it these days, and where were you these days? Would you be ready to give your life for justice and peace in this country?”