Kenya: Bishops appeal to politicans to begin dialogue

 Catholic bishops in Kenya yesterday, urged political leaders to help end the post-election violence rocking the country by meeting together. President Mwai Kibaki's re-election is being contested by his rival, Raila Odinga, who has publicly refused to accept defeat. In a press statement, signed by all the bishops and read to the press by the chairman of the Kenya Episcopal Conference, Cardinal John Njue, the bishops urged Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga to reach out to one another through dialogue in order to seek a solution to the crisis. "This country needs peace that is based on justice and true brotherhood," the bishops stressed in their four-page statement, entitled: My Peace I Give You. The bishops made a passionate appeal to all Kenyans, men and women old and youth, from all the political parties, and from all walks of life, to refrain from violence and from the senseless killing of our brothers and sisters. "We have witnessed with deep sorrow and concern the outbreak of violence and the breakdown of law and order that has led to numerous deaths, injuries and destruction of property, creating fear and helplessness that has led many to flee from their homes", the bishops said. Pointing out that several allegations of electoral malpractices have been brought forward, the bishops urged that everything possible should be done in order to investigate and establish the truth. "We make an appeal to all responsible to seek ways like establishing a commission to audit and specifically review the tallying of parliamentary and presidential polls", the bishops said. They also have offered to act as mediators. Since Kenyans went to the polls on December 27 and Mwai Kibaki was declared as the winner, massive violence, leading to killings and destruction of properties have taken place in the Lake side city of Kisumu, Eldoret and Nairobi.

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