KENYA: Bishop Kimengich Rallies Kenyans to Embrace Ethnic Diversity Ahead of General Elections

By Odiwuor Opiyo

ELDORET, JULY 19, 2022 (CISA) – Rt Rev Dominic Kimengich, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Eldoret has encouraged Kenyans to support and embrace the “beauty” of ethnic diversity as the country gears toward the 2022 August General Elections, terming it a gift from God.

Speaking to the media, the prelate maintained; “Cultural diversity, in particular, ethnic diversity, is a beautiful gift from God. This gift is manifested in Kenya by the 44 plus tribes that make us one Nation. Our National character is strengthened by the different languages we speak, diverse art, cultural expressions, types of foods we grow and eat, diverse agricultural and livestock activities, and diverse musical rhythms and dance among other diversities we are proud of. As we all know, none of us chooses to be born in a particular culture. God places us in a family within a tribe with unique cultural beliefs and practices.”

He, however, admonished that negative ethnicity was the greatest impediment to Kenyans living in harmony urging that people should support leaders who are not tribal and support cultural diversity.

“Tribal incitement is by far the greatest threat to peace in our country. Already we hear many candidates making veiled references to tribal balkanization. We must end the culture of tribal animosity and violence that comes with every election cycle,” reiterated Bishop Kimengich, adding “Every life is precious before God.”

“Ethnic diversity is a blessing from God. Every Kenyan is entitled to find and make a home anywhere within the Republic. General elections should in no way serve as an excuse to threaten and deny anyone to live anywhere in the Republic of Kenya,” he averred.

Bishop Kimengich also condemned individuals who threaten other people’s lives by mobilizing young people as a means of causing violence and instead encouraged young people to shun violence and avoid being used to wreak havoc and propagate tribal hatred insisting that this was a way to get robbed of their future.

“Your youthfulness is also a gift from God. Keep alive your dream of a great Kenya, and work towards it. Work towards peace and cohesion across all Ethnicities. Remain always open to inter-tribal marriages. Decide to protect peace before, during, and after the elections,” said the prelate.

He further implored political leaders to include in their manifestos, “a clear way we will give hope to the youth and give specific solutions: for youth employment, ease of borrowing for them, and new opportunities where they can employ their skills.”

Bishop Kimengich who was giving his address on behalf of the Catholic bishops in Kenya in their weekly peace exhortation to Kenyans christened “Listen to The Voice of the Bishops,” stressed that the bishops will not tire “to emphasize that we are children of the same God regardless of which part of the country one comes from. We urge you all to welcome and embrace people of other tribes, which is called Cultural inclusivity. This means respecting the right to live anywhere in the country.”