The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) has urged President William Ruto to hold talks with Opposition leader Raila Odinga with a view to ending the ongoing Azimio protests.
Speaking to journalists at Russel House-Donum Dei in Karen, Nairobi on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, the clergymen said dialogue can resolve the standoff between the two leaders.
“We plead and ask our President to follow through with his promise to sit with and listen to Mr Odinga and other leaders and come out with reasonable proposals to address the main plights in our country. We also invite Mr Odinga to accept dialogue for the good of the country.
“We believe that dialogue can resolve this dangerous standoff. The two need to establish a common ground to address the ills facing the country and restore sanity we need in our country,” said Archbishop Martin Kivuva, the Conference’s chairperson.
Archbishop Anthony Muheria on his part condemned the use of force by police officers during demonstrations.
“The injuries and loss of even one life is way too expensive. Kenyan lives matter. We urge restraint of the police in such occasions and urge them against use of live bullets and excessive force that might cause injury to the people,” said Muheria.
“The fact that it is legal to demonstrate should not make it a vehicle to paralyse the country, nor degenerate to a forceful takeover of a legitimate government! We must allow ourselves to be guided by the law and not our own individual perspectives,” the archbishop added.
Bishop Maurice Muhatia, the Vice-chairperson of the conference faulted Azimio, saying that their call for the current government to resign is dangerous and unlawful.
“Demonstrations cannot annul or take over the Constitution. We must respect the rule of law. The only way to avoid chaos and anarchy is always to follow the Constitution and the laws of the land. We rtherefore appeal to all leaders to pursue the path of peace and dialogues and create an enabling environment where all Kenyans can work and increase productivity,” said Bishop Muhatia.
“We the Catholic Bishops declare our intention and willingness to rejoin with the leader’s and other Kenyans of goodwill to have national conversation over the issues that are ailing us,” he added.
The bishops also asked the President to address the high cost of living.