Bishops call on Kenyan Government to protect its people as deaths mount

Kenya’s bishops have called on their government to fulfil its constitutional duty to protect all Kenyans, following the massacre of 50 Kenyans at the North Rift and elsewhere in the country. 

The bishops’ conference, headed by Homa Bay’s Bishop Philip Anyolo, heard the news of the killings as they gathered in Nairobi for their Ordinary Plenary Assembly, following last month’s Ad Limina visit to Rome.

Recalling how over 42 security officers were killed in the region in November 2013, the bishops point out that the killings took place barely a month after 148 young Kenyans were murdered at Garissa University College. 

“In less than a month, we have lost more than 200 Kenyans to senseless killings,” they said, adding, “These murders, including the deliberate targeting of Christians for execution, are unacceptable.”

Criticising the government for doing little despite promising much, they declared “time has now come to draw the line,” as “a government that cannot protect its own people loses its legitimacy to govern.” 

“The government, which swore to protect Kenyans, seems hopelessly incapable of offering permanent solutions to perennial insecurity,” they observed, pointing out that they have frequently drawn attention to the worsening situation in the North Rift, exacerbated by the discovery of oil and other minerals. 

“Hundreds if not thousands of lives have been lost in this perennial conflict that has erroneously been called ‘cattle rustling’, but which we as Church leaders call brutal murder,” they said.

“As a country, we cannot sit back as Kenyans continue to lose their lives due to laxity on the part of our security personnel,” they said, insisting that murders across Kenya must stop. Urging that “local leaders and other ‘untouchables’ who continue arming and inciting communities against each other must be dealt with”, they advocated other conflict resolution mechanisms including disarmament, economic empowerment and local peace initiatives, and said “We have one government and one President. Decisive action must be taken.”

The bishops also called for “zero tolerance” in tackling “runaway corruption”. Claiming that state agencies set up to tackle corruption had “failed the test of integrity”, they called on Kenyans to “unite to end corruption and save our country”.