Catholic bishops urge leaders to respect law, uphold integrity

Bishop Cleophas Oseso of The Nakuru Catholic Diocese smears ashes on a priest at the Christ the King Cathedral Nakuru on February 14, 2024, as the Catholic faithful celebrated Ash Wednesday to mark the beginning of 40 days of fasting, prayers and almsgiving. [Daniel Chege, Standard]

The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) has identified five key issues that Kenyans and the government must observe to ensure the country succeeds. 

In a message read by Bishop Cleophas Oseso of the Nakuru Diocese, KCCB wants Kenyans, especially leaders to respect the Constitution and uphold integrity. 

Bishop Oseso spoke during Ash Wednesday Mass celebrations at Christ the King Cathedral as faithful gathered to mark the beginning of the Lenten season. 

The season is celebrated for 40 days as faithful engage in fasting, prayers and giving alms to the less fortunate in the society. 

“We are led by the Constitution that is supposed to help us have a better life. We call on all leaders to be our trustees and ensure the lives of Kenyans are changed for the better,” said Bishop Oseso. 

He said as religious leaders, they are shocked at the way politicians and other leaders have used the opportunities in leadership for their own benefit instead of addressing challenges facing Kenyans. 

“We elected leaders to serve Kenyans but they are making us their servants. Instead of changing our lives, they are changing theirs,” he said.

The bishop reminded Kenyans that they have the power and the responsibility to choose leaders and should ensure they reflect on the decisions they made in 2022. 

KCCB raised concern that the Kenya Kwanza government is yet to fulfill many election promises including prioritising hustler’s welfare. 

“Youths were promised employment, mama mboga were promised that they would be supported. We have the power to send home those leaders who are not working,” said Oseso. 

The bishops regretted that there is little clean and safe water to support the livelihoods of Kenyans, especially in urban and isolated areas. 

Oseso reminded the leaders about Vision 2030 where every household was promised clean and safe water and insisted that as religious leaders they must push and ensure Kenyans get the commodity. 

The bishops also want water sources, including forests and water bodies to be preserved from pollution and deforestation. 

Harsh economy is a matter of concern to KCCB and Oseso said Kenyans must take responsibility rather than depend on the government to ease the burden. 

“The economy is bad and standards of living are high but we have to take individual responsibility to ensure what we have is not wasted,” he said. 

He called on the government to take responsibility and address the poor economy to enable Kenyans to sustain themselves. 

KCCB condemned clerics using religious extremism to take advantage of the faithful and ruin their lives. 

Oseso cited the Shakahola massacre that left 429 people dead, 72 with non-fatal injuries and 613 missing simply because they were taught religious extremism. 

“Religious leaders are called to stick to the teaching of the Bible or Quran and avoid going beyond or twisting the word of God for their own benefit,” he said. 

The bishops expressed concern over the rising cases of homosexuality and same-sex marriages, which goes against the national culture and tradition. 

Oseso said the family is threatened owing to the new and unlawful immorality brought about by same-sex marriages. 

“As father, mother and children we have to be responsible and ensure our families are united, for this country to retain its culture and sanity,” he said.

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