Pressure continues to mount on President William Ruto and Azimio leader Raila Odinga to embrace dialogue to find a lasting solution to problems bedeviling Kenyans.
The bishops who voiced several concerns that need to be addressed urgently, stated that the country was not on the right track even as they demanded the resumption of the failed bipartisan talks that should be expanded to include other players like religious leaders, eminent persons and bodies.
Mombasa’s Catholic Archbishop Martin Kivuva who is also the chair of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops ( KCCB) regretted that they had unsuccessfully made all efforts to bring the two leaders together to find a peaceful way to end the seeming standoff.
While condemning the violent demonstrations, the clergy urged Odinga to stop the demos that are threatening the stability of Kenya and instead seek an alternative strategy that would not hold the country hostage.
“We are calling the leaders and the country to embrace non-violence. Kenyans and our leaders must be willing to listen to each other for the sake of peace in our country. We condemn what we have seen simmering as ethnic-based violence spotted in some parts of our country” the bishops said in a six page terse statement.
“We now make this passionate appeal to President William Ruto and Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga to give dialogue a chance. We demand that the failed bipartisan talks should be resumed in a different context that brings on board the religious leaders and some other eminent persons and bodies. We believe that there is no problem, however difficult, that cannot be solved through dialogue. We must at all costs avoid the loss of lives. No further blood should be shed” they pleaded.
They also took on the President for allegedly ignoring the plight of Kenyans who had been driven into social-economic distress by the high cost of living.
Consequently, they called on President Ruto to repeal the Finance Act and institute a process that will seek to achieve the same goals within the current economic context.
“The high cost of living has created a burden on individuals and families, making it difficult for them to meet their basic needs… Within this background, the recently enacted Finance Act places an unsustainable burden on already distressed citizens, especially those within the low-income bracket. We, therefore, ask the President to repeal the Finance Act” the 27 bishops said.
They noted that Kenya’s problems can only be tackled locally and not through external interventions.
“Local solutions tailored to the unique needs and context of the country have the potential to bring about sustainable change and improve the lives of the people. Rather than relying solely on external interventions” they said.
Further, the bishops condemned alleged police brutality inflicted on Kenyans during protests.
While calling on their faithful to dedicate special prayers for leaders and the country this Sunday, the men of the cloth proposed a consensus-building convention under the auspices of religious leaders with multi-sectoral participation to identify the major issues ailing the country and solutions.
They chided a section of leaders for reckless statements.
“Many Kenyans feel unheard and overlooked by their Government. We hear every day different discordant and often conflicting messages, from our government leaders. We are particularly appalled by unbecoming, insulting and inciting statements made by leaders. This is causing confusion among the population regarding the direction the country is taking. Many things remain unclear on the Government policy and direction” they observed.
Azimio coalition has declared three days of protests against the high cost of living.