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Kenya: church-state relations improving under new government says priest

 The government of President Mwai Kibaki in Kenya is proving much more sympathetic to freedom of worship than the former administration of President Daniel arap Moi, a Catholic priest told a congregation in Nairobi on Sunday. Those present included President Kibalki and his internal security minister, John Michuki. Delivering his homily at Consolata Shrine-Trinity Church, Westlands, Nairobi , Fr Stephen Okello, Dean of Studies at Consolata Seminary, Nairobi observed that: "unlike during the former administration, we are no longer reminded to keep off from politics. "For me this is a good development, for no government worth its salt should be unhappy with the Church, when she raises her pastoral concern over national issues." While there should be harmony between church and government, this should not mean that the church would stop being of the voice of the voiceless in the society, he said. During the former administration of President Moi, churches were often cautioned by the government when they raised their concern over issues of national interest. The many pastoral letters the Catholic Church issued during his administration were often shrply criticised either by President Moi or members of his government. Mr Kibaki is a Catholic, while the former President Moi is a member of the African Inland Church. Mr Kibalki grew up in the country's central province, where the Consolata Missionaries introduced the Catholic faith in the early 20th century. He was educated at Catholic schools.