Churches leaders urge caution on opposition street protests
Tuesday March 21, 2023
By Emmanuel Masha
National Council of Churches of Kenya affiliated churches in Malindi have called on Christians to be peace makers and avoid being caught up in violence during the street protests organized by leaders of Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya coalition.
The NCCK leaders said although Kenya’s Constitution 2010 allows Kenyans to demonstrate, violence cannot be ruled out during the mass protests and urged Christians to stay away from the demonstrations.
The NCCK Coast region sent peace messages in the presence of journalists to all affiliated churches in Malindi to be delivered to faithful during the Sunday services.
At the Malindi PEFA Cathedral, Church Secretary Christopher Ziro said mass protests are usually infiltrated by hooligans who could cause chaos and commit felonies, hence the need for Christians to be cautious.
Speaking to faithful during the Sunday Service, Mr Ziro stressed the need for all Kenyans, and especially Christians, to be peace makers even as he told them to exercise discretion as they decide whether to participate in the protests.
“As a church, we are non-partisans but we are calling for caution, knowing that the Bible urges us to be peacemakers,” he said.
Bishop Thomas Kakala of the Jesus Cares Centre (JCC) church and Pastor Francis Katana of the Malindi Baptist Church, had earlier called on international community not to wait until Kenyans shed blood before intervening.
During a media briefing, the two clerics said the demonstrations had the potential of worsening Kenya’s already battered economy, especially in the Coast region which relies heavily on tourism.
“The African Union should not wait until Kenyans lose lives, like they did in the 2007/2008 post-election violence. The time to act is now,” Bishop Kakala, who is also the Patron of the Malindi Pastors Fellowship, said.
Meanwhile, it was business as usual in Malindi town and its environs as residents ignored a declaration by opposition chief Raila Odinga that Monday was a public holiday.
Civil servants, teachers, students and the business community continued with their daily activities undeterred.
Some however acknowledged the need for an improvement of the economy saying life had become hard, especially after last Tuesday’s hike in the price of petrol in the country.