Sr. Jecinter Antoinette Okoth, FSSA
Catholic Bishops in Kenya have called on politicians to respect places of worship and warned that churches are sacred spaces for prayers and devotion to God and are not to be used for political rallies.
“We wish to firmly state again that our places of worship and liturgy are sacred and should not serve as political arenas,” members of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) cautioned politicians in their collective statement issued Wednesday, September 15, adding that “the Church is above politics.”
They pleaded with politicians to join other congregants and pray with them without distinctive attention given for politicking in Church saying, “Any politician who attends Mass must do so like any other worshipper and no special consideration should be made for him or her to propagate his or her political agenda or address the congregation in our places of worship.”
“Know that we love you to come and pray with us but leave the places for worship just for that,” The KCCB Chairman Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde of Mombasa Archdiocese said while addressing the nation after a two-day meeting of the prelates in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, adding, “Priests must ensure that places of worship are not used by leaders to further their political agenda.”
The Church leaders further cautioned politicians to respect the government and Ministry of Health (MoH) guidelines on Covid19 protocols and stop gathering citizens for campaigns.
“We, note with concern that despite the Government announcing a suspension of all public gatherings in the country, a section of political leaders has continually defied this directive,” bemoan the Prelates in their statement as they lament that “no action has been taken on all those leaders who are abjectly flouting these protocols.”
“We wish to state that our political leaders are sending a wrong message to ordinary Kenyans and it is dismaying that the law enforcement agencies are not taking action on this recklessness by politicians,” the bishops expressed.
The prelates noted during the press conference that the country continues to experience devastating impact of the pandemic in daily lives, highlighting that “from daily updates by the Ministry of Health, the number of infections and deaths is still worrying, (and) Covid19 is still wreaking havoc in our midst, robbing us of close family members and contributing to loss of livelihoods for many of our people.”
“We express our solidarity with all people who are infected and affected by Covid19,” the bishops underscore as they applaud the majority of Kenyans who have continued to adhere to MoH protocols on Covid-19 prevention and the government for the “Concerted efforts towards ensuring that the country is cushioned against the ravaging impact of the Covid19 pandemic through a raft of measures, including rolling out a vaccination campaign.”