By Paschal Norbert
NAIROBI, AUGUST 22, 2023 (CISA)-The Catholic Justice and Peace Department (CJPD) of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) has announced plans for the 23rd anniversary of the late Rev. Fr John Anthony Kaiser MHM under the theme ‘Let Justice Be Our Shield and Defender’.
After a three-year hiatus, the memorial of Fr Kaiser will once again be held publicly at Morendat, Naivasha, along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway on Friday, August 25, 2023, the place he was found shot dead.
According to CJPD, the celebration of the Holy Mass will be co-celebrated by Rt. Rev John Oballa Owaa, Chairman of KCCB-CJPD and Rt. Rev Cleophas Oseso Tuka, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Nakuru.
Born in Perham, Minnesota United States of America on November 23, 1932, Fr Kaiser was ordained in St. Louis for the Mill Hill Fathers in 1964 and was sent to their mission in Kenya the same year. He worked in the Catholic Diocese of Kisii for 20 years; and later in the dioceses of Nakuru and Ngong.
CJPD eulogizes Fr Kaiser as “a champion of social justice who never shied away from confronting institutions and personalities who were bent to oppress and deny the less fortunate and underprivileged their human rights. He was Spontaneous and a down-to-earth Priest who was equally full of kindness and embraced all regardless of their status in society. He thrived in empowering the poor and speaking out for the oppressed, especially the Homeless. He was an advocate of human rights and a just society. He lived the true meaning of a priest by following in the footsteps of Christ.”
A fierce critic of President Moi’s regime, Fr Kaiser was on the morning of August 24, 2000, found dead at Morendat near Naivasha Town, along the Nakuru-Nairobi Highway. The cause of his death could not be ascertained, which prompted the Government of Kenya to open an inquest into Fr Kaiser’s death at the request of KCCB.
The inquest ended on June 12, 2007, after hearing and gathering evidence from 111 witnesses. On August 1, 2007, the then-presiding magistrate ruled that Fr Kaiser had been assassinated and that the ‘suicide theory’ was based on a preconceived notion. She further stated that she could not, based on evidence tabled before her in the inquest, point out with certainty who killed the priest.