Kenya: Back from the brink
Violence erupted in Kenya following disputed general election results in December left 1000 people dead and 600,000 homeless.
A small girl in Kenya loses seeks protection with Caritas
The Kenya Bishops were outspoken advocates for peace both between politicians at the national level and local communities divided by ethnic and political differences.
In his Lenten message, Cardinal John Njue of Nairobi said, “The people who were once friends have now become tough enemies. Kenya is a wounded people and divided nation. The values of society are now destroyed and even lost. We need to use all good and reasonable means available to stop this violence; to dialogue, to avoid both national and international misunderstandings
“Reconciliation means to become friendly with each other after estrangement and to re-establish cordial relations between us all. It means to settle quarrels amicably that are causing conflicts. As we search for peace and justice we must emphasize reconciliation so that the three aspects become a means of growth and not of revenge and stagnation.
“The experience of violence is still live and counting its victims day in day out. We are encouraged by the mediation talks that are currently under way and I urge you to participate actively by contributing to it by way of prayer and restrain from utterances that jeopardize the good end.”
The President of Caritas Internationalis Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez and the President of Caritas Africa Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga urged all sides in Kenya to work together to stop the violence.
Cardinal Rodriguez and Archbishop Lwanga said in the joint appeal, “Already too many Kenyans have been killed or lost their homes. Surely these deaths must act as a wake-up call to the political leadership to do all it can to pull Kenya away from the brink.
Their appeal was supported by directors and staff from Caritas members that have witnessed the destruction of war.
A fresh appeal was signed by Archbishop Thaddée Ntihinyurwa of Kigali ad President of Caritas Rwanda, Bishop Louis Nzala Kianza, President of Caritas Democratic Republic of Congo, Nuth Samol, Director of Caritas Cambodia, Father Louis Samaha, President of Caritas Lebanon, Sanja Horvat of Caritas Bosnia and Herzegovina. Frontline nurse during the siege of Sarajevo, Claudette Habesch, Secretary General of Caritas Jerusalem and Mons Héctor Fabio, Director of Caritas Colombia.
“Our countries have been ripped apart by political, ethnic and religious violence. We have witnessed the devastation these divisions bring. We are watching with despair as Kenya, once a beacon for stability in a troubled region, goes down the path of ethnic killing and ethnic cleansing.
“We offer the lessons of our own countries in solidarity with those caught in this conflict in the hope that our examples deter Kenya from following down this path towards tragedy. Peace and reconciliation through dialogue is the only way forward.”
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