The Church lost media attention when it turned to soft diplomacy, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops has said.
Rev. Anthony Muheria of the Catholic Archdiocese of Nyeri said that in the past the clergy confronted issues and were labelled rebels, and this made them hit the headlines.
“The ground shifted because we became business-oriented. Some of us were hijacked by political rhetoric. The Church found itself in an uncomfortable space and the lenses shifted away from us,” said Muheria.
He added: “Sometimes the messages are twisted to become punchy as compared to the times of the late Ndingi Mwana a’Nzeki, Alexander Muge and Rev Timothy Njoya who headlined news on a daily basis.”
He was speaking during a breakfast meeting between the Kenya Editors’ Guild (KEG) and the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops in Nairobi.
The meeting was convened to help the Church reclaim its space in public discourse.
The Church was urged to preach peace and advocate free and fair elections on August 9.
“We have to have Kenya at heart and draw a moral compass to leaders to have peaceful elections. We should do civic education for the public to understand why they should vote and vote wisely. Let them understand that their vote is a defence not an offence” he said.
Muheria called on the media to embrace the church and only disseminate facts and truths as the country gears towards elections.
“Lets all look at Kenya as the common goal and build trust and the goodwill we have now. Truth is what I can die for. Lets speak a message of hope on social and mainstream media. You have the muscle, we have credibility. We need to partner and regain our space for the good of our nation,” he said.
He noted that the church should not relent on war against corruption.
Kenya Editors Guild President Churchill Otieno urged the church and the media to be bold in delivering their services to their congregation and audiences respectively.
Mr Otieno tasked the media to be vigilant and ensure that only facts and truths are disseminated.
“We must endear ourselves to facts and it is these facts that our audiences will use to make decisions,” he said.
In attendance were Bishop Dominic Kimengich of the Archdiocese of Eldoret, Fr Ferdinand Lugonzo and Fr Peter Mutwiri of Meru Archdiocese.