KENYA: Bishops Root for Peaceful Dialogue in Ending Dangerous Stand-off


By Arnold Neliba

NAIROBI, MARCH 23, 2023 (CISA)-“The chest thumping from those in the government that they will not dialogue with the opposition will not solve the concerns and problems Kenyans are saddled with,” the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops has said.

In their statement released on March 22, the bishops have expressed worry on the plight of Kenyans worsened by the unsettled political temperatures, six months after the country held its General Elections.

“People are struggling to make ends meet. The devastating cost of living, high inflation, high and crippling taxation, excessive borrowing that has made Kenyans slaves in their own country working to pay creditors,” the bishops said in their statement stressing on calls for peaceful dialogue to address the dangerous stand-off.

Amidst the suffering by the people and the high rates of youth unemployment, the bishops cautioned that the appointment of boated Cabinet Assistant Secretary (CAS) positions does not show sensitivity of the prevailing economic situation.

“We come here today to pleadand ask our president William Ruto to follow through with his promise to sit with and listen to Hon. Raila Odinga and other leaders and come out with some reasonable proposals to address the main plights,” the prelates said pleading with the two factions to accept to dialogue for the good of the country.

Commenting on the demonstrations called by the opposition from March 20 and scheduled to be undertaken twice a week, Mondays and Thursdays, the bishops warned that the legality to demonstrate should not be used as a vehicle to polarize the country.

“We decry the use of force witnessed in some instances on the part of the police during the political demonstrations of 20th March 2023. The injuries and loss of even one life is way too expensive. Kenyan lives matter,” said the bishops urging restraint from the police and respect for the rule of law.

“The call that the current Government must resign and be replaced by the leader of Azimio la Umoja by acclamation is dangerous. It goes against the fact that Kenya is a country governed by the constitution,” they added.

While describing the country as on “a dangerous trend”, the bishops tasked the two political factions to establish a common ground to address the ills facing the country and restore sanity.