Clerics plead for tolerance ahead of Cord’s Saba Saba Uhuru Park rally

Part of the Inter- religious leaders in solidarity during Inter-Religious National prayer Day at Uhuru Park Nairobi Saturday. [PHOTO MOSES OMUSULA]

NAIROBI, KENYA: Religious leaders led Kenyans in a prayer meeting at Uhuru Park, Nairobi where they called for tolerance ahead of tomorrow’s Saba Saba rally at the same venue.

They asked Kenyans to reject politicians who were seeking to divide the country along, tribal, political or religious lines and prayed for unity even as they asked leaders not to misuse fundamental freedoms provided for in the Constitution.

The national prayers were organised by the Government in collaboration with the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya (IRCK) in the face of growing challenges facing the country and tensions that have arisen in the wake of calls by the Opposition to hold a national dialogue conference to address these problems.

CORD has convened the Saba Saba rally tomorrow to put pressure on the Jubilee government to accept their push for a national dialogue conference but the government has maintained that it would only engage with the Opposition through existing institutions set by the Constitution such as Parliament.

This stand-off over the varied positions of politicians regarding this matter has raised political tensions and this prompted the clergy to pray for peace, unity, national healing and reconciliation.

“They (politicians) have a duty to keep the promise of respecting the Constitution and we ask all Kenyans to embrace one another because we all have a right to live together devoid of discrimination,” said Canon Peter Karanja, the Secretary General of the National Council Of Churches of Kenya.

“From Wajir to Mpeketoni to the lakeside town of Kisumu, may there be peace, unity and reconciliation,” declared one of preachers during the sermon.

The religious leaders asked God to intervene and show Kenyans the best way to solve national problems in the wake of rising insecurity, unemployment, the high cost of living and political instability.

“We must rekindle the national spirit and recommit ourselves unto the Lord. Let us not misuse our rich diversity to incite Kenyans along, religious, tribal or political lines for we are one people,” said Canon Karanja. The religious leaders also asked the Government to firmly deal with corruption, tribalism, negative ethnicity and the high cost of living.

“We must seek radical solutions to slay the dragon of corruption to give the people of Kenya hope,” the clergy said in a statement read at the end of the service. The religious leaders, who spoke passionately, said solving the country’s problems required everyone’s input.

“Kenyans are greatly concerned about insecurity and other challenges across the country because Kenyans have nowhere to go,” said Adan Wachu, the vice chairman Supkem. The religious leaders commended Kenyans for their resilience.

Laikipia Senator GG Kariuki said Kenyans should take charge of the country’s destiny without allowing politicians to divide and misuse them.

Emuhaya MP Wilbert Otichillo asked politicians to listen to the voice of Kenyans. “We have heard you want peace and love. MPs must be committed to this country and listen to what Kenyans want. We want to appeal to all Kenyans to maintain peace on Monday,” he said.

The prayers were attended by elders from across the country who asked politicians to respect the presidency as a symbol of the nation’s unity.