New user? Register here:
Email Address:
Password:
Retype Password:
First Name:
Last Name:
Existing user? Login here:
 
 
News >

Kenyans plead for peace

by Manasseh Zindo and staff reporters

WORSENING VIOLENCE in Kenya has brought fresh pleas for peaceful political dialogue from church leaders.

The known death toll reached 850 this week, after a weekend of murderous attacks in the Rift Valley. The violence was sparked by a disputed election at the end of December (News, 4 January). Violence also erupted in the capital, Nairobi, on Tuesday, in retaliation for the murder of Melitus Were, a member of the opposition party.

Mr Were, aged 39, and a graduate in communication at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, was marked out after defeating an assistant minister in the December election. At least seven people were killed in reprisal attacks.

Concern continues to be expressed about Naivasha, in the central Rift Valley, where at least 16 people were killed in one incident, and where gangs of youths seek out those belonging to other tribes.

Fran Etemesi, wife of the former Bishop of Butere, writes: “It is now very clear that the presidential election dispute was only the touchpaper which has ignited something much deeper in the Kenyan psyche — land rights and enormous social disparities — the origins of which date back to colonial times.”

She says that many are pinning their hopes on the visit of the former UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan, and a team of eminent African statesmen and women. Speaking at a press conference in Nairobi on Saturday, Mr Annan echoed Mrs Etemesi’s analysis: “The crisis has mutated from an electoral dispute into much deeper problems, with a high potential for recurrence.”

Among those seeking to bring peace is the Roman Catholic Cardinal John Njue, who has urged President Mwai Kibaki and the opposition leader, Raila Odinga, to engage in talks without preconditions.

“Go beyond where you are,” said Cardinal Njue, speaking Juja, near Nairobi. “Look ahead, and realise that for Kenya to be peaceful, for current tribal divisions to end, and for the killings of innocent Kenyans to stop, you must dialogue.”

Other calls came from the All-Africa Conference of Churches, which is based in Nairobi, and the Inter-Religious Forum.

The Roman Catholic Bishop of Nakuru, the Rt Revd Peter Kairo, was caught up in the chaos in the town as he drove to church on Sunday. He was force to leave his car, and it was only when he prayed for peace that he was allowed to continue.

An ecumenical team from the World Council of Churches began a five-day visit on Wednesday. Current scenes of violence “portray a country that one would hardly recognise as Kenya” said the WCC general secretary, Dr Samuel Kobia, who is himself a Kenyan. The delegation, hosted by the Kenyan National Council of Churches, will visit trouble spots around the country.

Job of the week

Online Vicar

London and Home Counties

SOUL SEARCH ONLINE VICAR 20 hours a week working from home, pay is £20,000 Are you passionate about evangelism? Does digital media excite you as a means to connect with people to share the goo...  Read More

Signup for job alerts
Top feature

Archbishop who was driven out of office

Holding fast in troubled waters

William Sancroft, born 400 years ago this month, was Archbishop of Canterbury in turbulent times; his period in office included incarceration in the Tower of London. John Tiller tells his story  Subscribe to read more

Top comment

Improving the future by disturbing the present

Interim minsters do much more than hold the fort: they can implement lasting change, say Helen Gheorghiu Gould and Peter Hill  Subscribe to read more

Mon 23 Jan 17 @ 20:57
NEW: @Pontifex prays for @realDonaldTrump but will ‘wait and see’ how his government turns out https://t.co/cNyFEHAQLk

Mon 23 Jan 17 @ 16:59
RT @SCM_PressWe are live streaming #wordmadeflesh discussion tonight @smitf_london #AcBookWeek. If you can’t make it, tune in vi… https://t.co/WB24n8DPE7