The following statement was issued yesterday by Bishop Peter Kairu of Nakuru, chairman of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission of the Kenya Episcopal Conference: Peace, My peace I give to you (John 14: 6) My dear brothers and sisters, our beloved country is emerging from a contested election whose effects have led to the death and displacement of many innocent people especially in our diocese and the larger Rift Valley and Nyanza provinces. While I agree that both sides of the debate have issues that need to be addressed, I plead with you to stop torching people's houses and looting their belongings, end the hostilities, and suffering subjected upon one another in a merciless way especially to women and children. Thousands of people are sleeping out in the cold; children are not going to school, while the sick do not have access to medical care. The onset of rains could see an outbreak of serious diseases that will lead to more deaths. My dear brothers and sisters, we are all children of one God. Are we going to continue killing and stealing from one another and plunge our country into further anarchy? Don,t we believe in the sanctity and sacredness of life any more? What future are we laying for our children? I ask the politicians who were elected by the people to put aside their differences and hard-line stance and come to the negotiating table. It is only by their coming together that we can be able to reconcile Kenyans. Joining my fellow bishops in supporting the efforts of international mediators, I ask both parties to give these personalities a chance to arbitrate in the crisis. As we call for peace to prevail in our country, I appeal to those calling for mass action to give dialogue a chance. Recent happenings have shown that such rallies, though claimed to be peaceful, lead to unnecessary deaths, looting of property and major inconveniences to innocent travellers and other Kenyans. The police on their part should exercise maximum restraint and avoid using too much force or shooting to kill the protestors. I urge the government to ensure that Justice and truth are followed to get to the root cause of the matter and prevent any future deaths, displacement of people and destruction of property. It is important to note that we as a country cannot have lasting peace without justice, truth and reconciliation. I wish to remind the government that it has a duty to protect all Kenyans and their property in accordance with the constitution. Furthermore, the state should take it upon itself to provide a lasting solution to the current crisis by providing permanent settlement, clothing and other necessities to the displaced people living in different camps across the country. The humanitarian assistance being offered by other Kenyans and relief organizations is only short term. A long term solution must be found. The issue of land Since the issue of land has led to many clashes and deaths since the 1990s, it is the duty of the government to come up with a clear national land policy that will address issues of settlement, proper housing, schools and other social amenities. The land policy should address the historical injustices of land and bring an end to this incessant fighting once and for all. A time for Healing and Reconciliation I call upon all Christians and people of goodwill to stand aside from the crowd and be counted as promoters of the much needed peace and healing. I urge our Christians not to participate in meetings where hostilities, revenge and counter attacks or anything evil is being planned. Such are the times when we are called to stand by Christ however hard the times or pressure. At the end of it all we will be judged whether we stood by our Christian values and teachings or we were carried away by the wind. Finally, I urge you all to come out and offer any assistance to our suffering brothers and sisters who have been affected by the clashes. It is a moral Christian duty to help the needy, feed the hungry, clothe the naked and house the homeless. (Mt 25: 31-45). I further urge you to continue praying for our country that a lasting solution may be found soon. Source: CISA
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