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Dialogue to avert chaos, Catholic bishops plead with Ruto, Raila

 Bishop Joseph Obanyi of Catholic Diocese of Kakamega during family day mass service at St. Josephs cathedral church Kakamega on Ma19, 2023. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Catholic bishops have urged President William Ruto to reach out to opposition leader Raila Odinga for the sake of the country’s peace.

The bishops said that the truce between the two leaders will avert attempts to plunge the country into violence that may escalate the numerous economic challenges bedevilling the nation.

Speaking under the banner of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), they opposed Raila's call for mass action and urged the former premier to suspend demonstrations.

They said demonstrations risk resurrecting mutiny and urged Raila to seek other avenues to address the issues affecting the country.

The catholic bishops' statement was read by Archbishop of Nairobi archdiocese Philip Anyolo.

They upheld that while the Constitution provides for rallies and picketing, freedom does not allow forceful takeover or destabilization of a constitutional government.

“We wish to reiterate the grave concern expressed by all the religious leaders, of the return to politically incited tensions. We warn that we are in real danger of taking the slippery road to anarchy, caused by the incitement of political players,” Anyolo said.

He said Kenyans are already faced with many problems as a country, majorly famine, hunger, and high cost of living.

“As we try to solve them, we neither wish to compound them with the risk of violence. There are very many merit-worthy problems we must address, ills we must criticize and unkept promises we must challenge. But these must be done within the constraints of our Constitution, with due respect to the Kenyan people, to life, and to each other as leaders,” Anyolo said.

Anyolo, who had attended St Peter the Rock Church family day in Thika, Kiambu county urged Raila to retreat and consider the move and embark on a reconciliatory journey of highlighting issues and seeking solutions.

The bishops, at the same time, urged President William Ruto to address the pleas of distressed Kenyans.

They stressed that the solution to healing the country’s numerous challenges would only be found if Kenyans and its elected leaders humble themselves and agree to dialogue.

KCCB called out the government for recent appointments of Chief Administrative Secretaries that they argued further bloat the country’s public expenditure, at a time Kenyans are struggling to survive.

The priests took issue with Ruto’s administration saying he has the most bloated and expensive executive in the country’s history. 

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