After referendum, Kenyan bishops urge reform for ‘flawed’ aspects of new constitution

Cardinal John Njue.
Cardinal John Njue.


Responding to voters’ approval of a new constitution, the Catholic bishops of Kenya professed respect for the outcome but urged that the constitution’s “flawed moral issues” be addressed. “Let us join together in prayer for a good constitution,” they said.

The bishops’ statement was released on Thursday at the Kenya Catholic Secretariat. It was signed by Cardinal John Njue, Archbishop of Nairobi and Chairman of the Kenya Episcopal Conference (KEC).

“We have urged the Kenyan people to pray for a good constitution, for a constitution that respects the right to life, safeguards religious freedom in its legitimate manifestations and upholds the family as the most important societal institution. We repeat this appeal to all the Kenyan people,” they commented.

The Catholic bishops had urged a ‘no’ vote on the grounds the new constitution would allow abortion and would establish Islamic courts.

“We respect the outcome of the referendum … However, truth and right are not about numbers,”  the bishops continued, adding that their voice of moral guidance “should never be silenced.”

They said the Church desires to remain at the forefront of legal reform because “we all aspire to build a better society that will respect the rights of all and facilitate our economic, social and moral development.”

Most Kenyans recognized that the constitution was flawed but mainly differed over whether reform should take place before or after the vote, the bishops commented.

“We recognize and highly commend the peaceful way in which Kenyans have generally conducted themselves during the referendum voting process,” their statement concluded. “We ask Kenyans to make even greater efforts now to uphold the need for peace, love and unity in our relations as brothers and sisters to all other Kenyans.”

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