KENYA: “Don’t Allow Pride to Interfere,” Bishops Caution as Bipartisan Team Meets for Talks


By Arnold Neliba

NAIROBI, APRIL 20, 2023 (CISA)– As the Bipartisan Team constituted by the respective leadership of Kenya Kwanza and Azimio One Kenya Coalition met on April 20 for the first time to deliberate on national issues bedevilling the country, Catholic bishops cautioned the two factions against taking hardline stands and allowing pride and stubbornness to close any avenues for peace that comes through constructive dialogue and the spirit of patriotism.

Speaking after a weeklong plenary in Nairobi on April 20 in Karen, the bishops appealed to the parties involved to learn from what is currently happening in Sudan, especially on the loss of lives and destruction of property.

“We applaud and appreciate the goodwill demonstrated by these two leaders. However, we are very much disturbed by the apparent standoff which could easily lead to hardened positions and delay the urgently needed dialogue process,” said Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde, Chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB).

According to the bishops, the truce reached by His Excellency President William Ruto and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga to embrace dialogue through a parliamentary bipartisan process is a mark of leadership and patriotism. They asked the political leaders to also embrace the process.

“Indeed, from our past experience, we are all aware that political demonstrations have always led to the loss of lives, left many people maimed or wounded, led to the destruction of property and loss of livelihood,” stated the prelates.

“We, therefore, wish to encourage all parties and citizens to refrain from destructive demonstrations and instead commit themselves to the path of dialogue as the only way of resolving political and social issues affecting the country in order to reconcile an inclusive nation,” the bishops said.

On the outcome of the August 2022 presidential election results that have been disputed by the opposition, the bishops called for the respect of the decision by the Supreme Court of Kenya, which upheld the election of President Ruto.

“As a constitutional democracy, we have to respect court decisions and where one disagrees, he/she should seek a non-violent legal review of the judgement. This is the only way we can preserve the integrity and unity of our beloved country,” the bishops said while warning that a failure will mean “we risk becoming a lawless society.”

Consequently, in a joint communique issued by the Bipartisan Team, the committee assured the nation that it would do “ everything to promote and not to undermine or jeopardize the talks,” and urged all political players to refrain from statements that may be counterproductive.