.- The Kenya Episcopal Conference denounced the many acts of political violence after the reaction to disputed results and allegations of voting fraud in the national election. The bishops joined the Pope in praying for peace in the country.
“We wish to make a passionate appeal to all Kenyans, men and women, old and youth, from all the political parties, and from all walks of life, to refrain from violence and from the senseless killing of our brothers and sisters!” the letter said.
The letter was signed by John Cardinal Njue, who was elevated to the cardinalate in November. He was joined by two other archbishops and 21 bishops.
Emphasizing the sanctity of life and the love of neighbor, the bishops said, “We have lived together for all these years as brothers and sisters. There is therefore no reason for us to raise our hand against our neighbor because he or she belongs to a different ethnic group or political affiliation. Life is Sacred! We all belong to one family of God.”
The bishops acknowledged allegations of “electoral malpractices,” but insisted violence was not the right response to alleged injustices. They encouraged a peaceful resolution to the dispute through a commission that would audit and review poll results. The bishops themselves offered to serve as mediators to resolve the conflict.
Kenyans, especially the young, were urged to refrain from violence, property destruction, and theft, and to encourage others to do the same. The bishops exhorted Kenyans to share basic goods with those displaced by the violence and to pray for peace and for the victims of the violence.
Benedict XVI has also made an appeal for peace and dialogue in Kenya following recent violence in the wake of the country's presidential elections.
The Holy Father supported the stance by the bishops and assured them “of his prayers that this great tragedy will soon come to an end". He also expressed his closeness to the victims of the violence.
In his letter, Pope Benedict expressed his “heartfelt hope that this beloved nation, whose experience of social tranquility and development represents an element of stability in the entire troubled region, will banish as quickly as possible the threat of ethnic conflict".
The Pope pleaded “for an immediate end to acts of violence and fratricidal conflict" and issued an appeal to political leaders "to embark resolutely on the path of peace and justice”.