Clerics' new year messages peppered with unity calls
By Standard Team
| January 2nd 2020
Clerics across the country have called on top political leaders to fight corruption and unite Kenyans.
The clergymen, who were giving New Year sermons in various churches yesterday, also asked Kenyans to shun cheap vanities and embrace godliness as the year starts.
At the All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi, Jackson ole Sapit of Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) warned President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga on political reforms.
Archbishop Sapit urged the two leaders not to use the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report for political alliances, but instead use it to unite Kenyans.
He said the BBI was noble and should not be allowed to pollute 2022 politics.
"We should not use BBI as a means of forming political formations. Its spirit of enhancing unity should be maintained," the ACK head said.
Sapit urged politicians to cut down on empty rhetoric and concentrate on improving the ailing economy, which has been affected by poor leadership and corruption.
"We cannot become a middle-level economy while occupied by forces of negative ethnicity and personality cults," he said.
Sapit asserted that the selfish political class had failed the country by leading Kenyans into a frenzy of political excitement at the expense of development.
He cited the debate on 2022 presidential succession, which he said was a clear indication of selfishness among leaders.
He noted that these leaders were eager to achieve their egocentric ambitions at the expense of Kenyans.
"Preparations for 2022 have started; political leaders are aligning themselves with different alliances. They are not minding the interests of Kenyans," Sapit averred.
While also throwing blame at the door of the electorate, Sapit said the deception by politicians has not taught Kenyans to reject tribal politics.
The clergyman said Kenya could have developed into a top economy but has always been bogged down by ethnic-based political competitions.
In a stinging indictment of policy makers, Sapit said Kenya was very good at drafting policy papers that it never implements.
"We are a nation preoccupied with writing documents and papers and failing to implement them," he noted.
We have Sessional paper No 10 of 1965, which we did not implement. Other countries picked it and used it to develop."
Sessional paper No 10, 1965 was a policy document crafted in a way Kenya would use African socialism to develop.
Sapit pointed at Rwanda and Malawi as countries that have used Kenyan policy ideas to develop various sectors of their economies.
"Actually Kenya is known for developing other countries. Malawi's food security programmes were implemented from policies we made. Rwanda relied on Kenyan papers to transform its economy," said Sapit.
The clergyman said it was time for Kenya to realise the visions and goals that have been planned over the years or risk stagnating.
The ACK leader called on Kenyans to unite and reach out for new possibilities that would enable them embrace a transformative agenda for the betterment of the country.
"If we can only put aside our tribal differences, we can move Kenya from being a middle-level economy to a first world country," Sapit stressed.
At the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Eldoret, Fr Raphael Opondo shared Pope Francis’ message of love and reconciliation.
Maurice Crowley, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Kitale, urged President Kenyatta not to relent on his war against corruption.
Messages of peace and unity dominated many New Year sermons across Nyanza region.
Winnie Owiti of the Voice of Salvation and Healing Church in Kisumu called on the church to play a role in pushing for peace and unity.
"The church must stand up in these difficult times. It is the salt of the Lord and must come out and point at what is wrong. It should arbitrate when the flock is divided," she said.
Bishop Owiti's message was emphasised by Catholic clerics in Kisumu.
During his sermon at the St Theresa Kibuye parish, the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Kisumu, Moses Omollo, said the church was steadfast and would fight corruption using all means.
He asked Christians to move closer to God by implementing church values.
He added that closure of 2019 meant another year that we are getting closer to God.
“Have your New Year resolutions in line with God’s will. They should promote peace, unity and country stability,” said Fr Omollo.
And Philip Anyolo St Paul’s Cathedral parish, Homa Bay said the national anti-corruption campaign would be adopted across all parishes by April this year.
Big cash donations
“We are going to discourage big cash donations and ask for transparency of the source of money that donors give,” noted Bishop Anyolo.
The cleric said the church would foster charity and help those displaced by floods across Nyanza.
"We are collecting donations that we plan to use to shelter those affected by the floods,” Anyolo said.
At St Joseph Church Milimani, Oliver Tambo challenged faithful not to have a magical perspective of the New Year, but instead be aware of the daily struggles of life.
“Moments of joy and sorrow shall still come by, let’s persevere and face the current struggles with courage,” said Fr Tambo.
Elsewhere, Fr Francis Konyach of St Paul Kwanyakwar parish urged congregants to strive to become better people.
And Charles Ong’injo of St Stephen’s Cathedral, Diocese of Maseno South ACK, said every person was responsible for fighting corruption.
He warned public servants who used their positions to propel corruption that their days were numbered.
“The church should not turn a blind eye to the corruption going on in the country,” he said.
Bishop Ong’injo urged leaders to be open about their stand on the BBI report, while emphasising that many people were yet to know its contents.
Reports by Jacob Ng'etich, Michael Chepkwony, Kevine Omollo, Mactilda Mbenywe, Anne Atieno, Stephen Rutto and Osinde Obare
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