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Church criticises leaders over ICC vote as Christians enjoy X-mas

BUSIA
By | December 27th 2010

BY ALLY JAMAH

Millions of Kenyans celebrated Christmas holidays with fanfare as Church leaders lambasted MPs who passed the Motion to pull Kenya from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Catholic Archbishop of Nairobi John Cardinal Njue termed the move retrogressive, while hinting that it goes against the spirit of the Constitution.

But he was quick to caution that the suspects of the post-poll violence named by ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo are still innocent and it was the mandate of the court to determine their fate.

"Let us all avoid condemning and pointing fingers of accusation at the named suspects as the matter is already with ICC, and we need to let them carry on investigation. If they are found guilty, then the law should take its course," he said.

Njue urged political leaders to tone down their rhetoric on various hot-button issues like ICC and constituency boundaries to avoid raising tension in the country.

A Catholic kisses John Cardinal Njue’s ring outside Holy Family Basilica, Nairobi, after the prelate led Christmas Day Mass on Saturday.[PHOTO: EVANS HABIL/Standard]

Tribal sentiments

Archbishop of the Anglican Church, Rev Dr Eliud Wabukala, warned leaders mentioned in the Ocampo list not to exploit tribal and sectarian sentiments to try and escape the judicial process at The Hague, or within the country.

"In Kenya today, we allow tribalism and ethnicity to protect people who do mistakes. People hide behind tribalism in order to gain from impunity," he said after leading the Christmas service on Saturday.

Last week Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto led MPs to overwhelmingly pass a Motion calling on President Kibaki to write officially to the ICC to pull Kenya from the Rome Statute that established the court.

friends and family

Meanwhile, Kenyans are still recovering from the celebrations that marked the holidays on Christmas and Boxing Day, after enjoying time out with friends and families.

Many had hoped the free days of fun and merry would be extended to today as a public holiday, but their hopes were dashed by Government spokesperson Alfred Mutua.

public holiday

"I am very unhappy that today is not a public holiday. It doesn’t matter how many holidays we have had this year, but if a public holiday falls on Sunday it should automatically be extended to Monday. We wanted more time with our families," said Jacinta Okumu, a Nairobi resident.

At Pumwani Maternity Hospital in Nairobi, 22 Christmas babies were born according to the Nurse in Charge Rosemary Kivae.

"I am happy that God has given me a beautiful baby boy on Christmas Day and this has added more happiness to my celebration," said new mother Lucy Akinyi.

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