Church urges opposition to be bold
The Catholic Church in Kenya has called on the opposition to come out stronger in keeping the government in check to ensure there is quality service delivery to Kenyans.
Addressing the press in Mombasa, Catholic Bishops through the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, (KCCB) reminded the opposition to be bold enough and highlight pertinent issues affecting the country, to give constructive criticism.
“We call upon the parties in the opposition to play their rightful role and keep the government in check in service delivery and ensuring it fulfils the promises it made to Kenyans. Being in the opposition, they should be bold enough…” said KCCB chair Martin Kivuva.
The Church leaders further condemned the tendency by the political class to maintain a persistent campaign mode, months after the elections, saying such trends are likely to choke the socio-economic progress of a country.
With the elections now over and the Government already constituted, the Bishops observed that it is time for the elected leaders to hit the ground running and serve the country in accordance with promises made during the campaigns.
“We should guard against the tendency in Kenya of being in the perennial campaign mode instead of focusing on service delivery. Our elected leaders must take seriously the responsibilities that Kenyans have bestowed on them. This is not the time for leaders to pass blame or engage in needless political rhetoric,” Archbishop of Nairobi, Philip Anyolo stated: “Let our leaders strive to be servant leaders focusing on improving the economy for the benefit of all the citizens.”
Prices of goods
According to the Catholic leadership, the nation is currently reeling from multiple chronic ills such as corruption, drought, high cost of living and insecurity in the North Rift region which require the government’s keen attention.
“We are concerned about the high cost of living in the country and the increased burden it is placing on the people. The price of essential household items such as maize flour, cooking oil, rice, cooking gas and electricity among others, continued to be way above the reach of ordinary Kenyans, leaving millions struggling to put food on the table,” Anyolo said.
While noting that it is unfortunate that the cost of fuel has continued to rise every month, contributing further to the increase in the prices of essential goods and services, the Archbishop of Nairobi further called on the parliament to look into the taxation regime and consider practical fiscal policies like zero-rating basic and essential food items.
The above, he said, will lead to the reduction in the prices of basic food items and petroleum products whose rise has a direct effect on the cost of living.
On the current drought situation and subsequent government humanitarian aid, Archbishop Anthony Muheria of the Nyeri Archdiocese appealed to the government to set up a better coordinated Multi-Agency system of distributing emergency relief to ensure that the support reaches the most vulnerable and does not end up benefiting a few well-connected individuals.
“While we commend the government for its efforts in releasing food relief to those affected by famine in the country, we have received reports that some of this support has not reached the intended recipients or is taking too long to reach them,” he said.
Danger to people’s health
At the same time, the bishops called on the government to tread cautiously on the GMO debate to ensure that they are cleared out of any danger to ensure that the public is not harmed.
“It is important that GMOs are cleared out of any danger to people’s health… Those who are charged with this responsibility have to come out clean and say what hurts and what does not hurt people. Our appeal to the government and those concerned is to let them do thorough findings so that we don’t hurt our economies, our people, and our food because of business,” said Muheria.