Kenyan church repeats: ' Fr John Kaiser did not commit suicide'

Fr John Kaiser did not kill himself, but was murdered - that was the official view of the Church in Kenya, voiced during celebrations marking the second anniversary of his death on Sunday. (see: ICN 23 August 2002 Kenyan bishops speak on anniversary of death of Fr John Kaiser)

During a memorial Mass, celebrated at the roadside where Fr Kaiser died, the Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya, Mgr Giovanni Tonucci, said: "That man did not commit suicide, the Church does not believe that version."

Eric Wainaina, a well known Kenyan singer sang an anthem of thanks for Father Kaiser entitled: "the truth cannot die". Mass was celebrated in Swahili by Mgr Tonucci with five Kenyan Bishops. He gave the homily in English. He said: "The Church is not seeking revenge, but justice and therefore wants the investigations to continue". He added that Church prayed also for those who committed the crime, and noted that that the anniversary of Fr. Kaiser's death coincides with the feast day of St Bartholomew, who was also martyred.

The bishops have consistently rejected the FBI theory that Fr John committed suicide and called for a deeper investigation into how the missionary died.

Mgr Tonucci said injustices in the country were continuing and there was a need to protect human dignity through fighting corruption and reorganising institutions.

He said: "The ruling class must be on the side of the people and there should especially be no abuses on behalf of the security forces that can harm the liberty of expression". At the end of the Mass, the President of the Episcopal Conference of Kenya, Mgr John Njue, said: "the people have the right to know the truth on the case of Father Kaiser" and that "there is the impression that somebody important has something to hide". The television station KTN, broadcast a report on the Mass and memorial celebrations - but did not mention Mgr Njue's comments.

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