Kenya: symposium calls on Church to promote peace building

 A three-day national symposium, sponsored by the Catholic Bishops of Kenya, ended on Saturday with a call for the Church to initiate national and grass root programs to promote peace building after the country's post elections violence. More than 700 delegates, including clergy, nuns and lay people involved in justice and peace issues urged the Government to ensure that internally displaced people still in camps were immediately resettled. During the symposium held at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Langata delegates heard presentations, discussions on post election peace building and testimonies from some of the victims of the country's post election violence. Delegates heard that some of the internally displaced people are still languishing in the camps due to lack of security in the areas they are supposed to return to. "We urged the Government to ensure security so that those Internally displaced people can can return back home", stressed the delegates. That also urged the Church to prioritize work with youth in the peace building and reconciliation activities, observing that during the post election violence, young people were manipulated by some politicians and added to the chaos. The delegates also urged the Government to address the land issue, pointing out that this has been a major cause of tensions. They also urged the Church to prioritize women and children within its financial assistance program. Delegates also talked of forgiveness among those who participated in the criminal activities during the post election violence. "But this must be heavily considered on the basis of repentance and confession of sins", they stressed. Speaking at the end of the symposium, its convener, Father Stephen Okello said the Church was in the process of initiating a two-year program on peace building, reconciliation and healing. He described the symposium as the beginning of the proposed program and urged all Kenyans and in particular, the Catholic faithful to support it fully.

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