Violence in Kenya Must Stop Now

Peter Kimeu, CRS’ regional technical advisor for partnership, global solidarity and justice, shares his condolences for the loss of Father Michael Kamau and his plea for peace.

This past Saturday, Father Michael Kamau of the Nakuru diocese lost his life to the downward spiraling violence in Kenya. A man of faith, kindness and inspiration, Father Michael will be deeply missed.

His death is the terrible result of terrifying ethnic divisions that are splitting Kenya in two. Father Michael was returning from the seminary where he taught, in Kakamega, to his home diocese. Like thousands of other Kenyans, he was stopped at a roadblock by a gang of vengeful youth. He was asked to show his ID, and when his name revealed that he was of the opposing Kikuyu ethnic group, the gang brutally killed him on the roadside.

The same weekend, Michael’s bishop, Bishop Peter Kairo of Nakuru, was also stopped by a vigilante group of boys. This time, fortunately, when he was pulled from his car, his Kikuyu background saved him from death.

This is a very sad moment in Kenya’s history, when even a priest of God wearing his collar is not spared. It is very dangerous and frightening when people choose to see nothing beyond the ethnicity someone belongs to. It is unacceptable.

Violence in Kenya must stop now. President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga must each reach out to their followers and demand an immediate end to all violent acts.

We pray that both these leaders and their mediation teams will come to the table with Kofi Annan truly committed to the peaceful resolution of the disputed election, foregoing hard stances for the good of the nation. Kenya will also need to address other underlying issues driving the violence – including longstanding conflicts over landownership and perceived economic injustices – but first it is paramount that the political crisis be resolved.

We need your prayers. We need Catholics in the U.S. and across the world to stand in solidarity with Kenyans. We need you to lobby your leaders. Ask them to support efforts to end this crisis while taking care that statements made don’t fuel the conflict. Words from leaders have a powerful impact on the average Kenyan and can mean the difference between life and death.

I thank the people who are sending so many messages of love and support from all across the states. It comforts me to hear you are with us and to read your wishes for us to stay safe.

I am deeply saddened that not all have been able to stay safe, and I extend on behalf of my family condolences to the family of Michael. I wish them strength as they bear this deep pain. May Father Michael’s death not go to waste. May this loss and so many others finally touch the hearts of Kenyans and move us to peace. Amen.

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7 Responses to “Violence in Kenya Must Stop Now”

  1. Sarah Says:

    So many of us read about the horrible things that are happening over there, and shake our heads. It’s terrible. But you are one of the courageous people who are actually doing something, working toward peace. You all are in my prayers, and I will contact my congressman and ask my friends and colleagues to do the same. Thank you for your work and your courage.

  2. Terrri Says:

    Its a pity this is the road we have to go walk through as Kenyans! Many a time I have laid my blame on our leaders for failing to create institutions that are favorable tot he Kenyan people. If only the constitution could be amended in the shortest time possible addressing fully the long term issues then it would be great.

    We are praying, personally I am but what help will it be if we are praying and some Kenyans who it is being claimed are being used are busy planning stuff to go against our prayers?

    Some time back I was listening ot a discussion on radio and was taken back to looking at myself and seeing if I am responsible for what is going on! I was shocked that I am, reason, I am able to dream of one day owning my own car or house or whatever when somebody somewhere is busy struggling and pondering his meal at that moment! we have to recognize that there is also a class issue and that is why it is easy for someone to be given some money to go torch or steal or kill his fellow neighbor!

    We as Kenyans need to join hands to push for constitutional review, equitable distribution of resources and among other things be able to share what we have with our neighbors and stop having the ME, MYSELF AND I attitude!

    We also need to talk, dialogue and educate each other on the need for UJIRANI MWEMA!

    I am more than willing to do that, the big question is ARE YOU?

  3. Kathy Carlisle Says:

    Peter and Friends,
    I just discovered this blog and am happy to reach out to you to say that I have been keeping all of the CRS staff, partners and people in Kenya in my prayers to find a way to resolve this crisis. Having been to Kenya in March 2000 with CRS as a U.S. staffer with the St. Cloud Harvest for Hope delegation, it is a place close to my heart. Even though I no longer work for CRS, I try to keep up with events and always know that your efforts are extraordinary and your work is extraordinary. May you stay safe and find the strength to continue to lead your neighbors toward a peaceful path.
    Best wishes.

  4. Mary Steiner Says:

    Hello Peter and friends,
    Thank you for alerting us to this blog and for sending this well done but very sad article. We are lobbying and enlisting ohers to do the same in the US. The US Senate passed a good resolution on Jan. 29 and we are now encouraging them to demand that the state department work to see through the points of the resolution.
    Please continue to be safe many are sending thoughts, prayers, and love.

  5. Terrri Says:

    I am currently working with youth in some peace initiative, we would like to start a lasting solution, anyone who knows which organization we can partner with?

  6. monica connor Says:

    I was so deeply distressed to hear about Fr Michael, he was a wonderful priest, good friend and fantastic human being.
    I am a teacher in Gateshead, England and my previous school, St. Mary’s RC. Primary School twinned up with St. Anthony’s Academy in Nakura.
    He had been to England several times to the parish of St. Mary’s and helped us to form the link.
    With his help, the two schools learned a lot frm each other’s cultures. I was one of quite a few staff who had the privilige to visit and work in Nakuru. I actually stayed a while with Fr. Michael’s mother overnight, with colleagues.Several Kenyan teachers came to England to teach at our school.
    Fr. Michael inspired us to raise money, as a school and a parish to help the people of Nakuru. Apart from raising a large amount of money to provide provisions and educational equipment for the school, the parish raised enough money to have bore holes dug for water.
    I will always remember Fr. Michael for his love of life, his pride of his country and his infectious giggle.
    God Bless you Michael, we all loved you and will miss you. What a great pity that these “men” didn’t know the real you and understand the great work you were doing for your people.

    Monica Connor
    Deputy Head Teacher
    St. Wilfrid’s R.C.Primary School
    Gateshead
    England

  7. Opata Peter Paul Says:

    One last comment Peter, you have been an inspiration and i beleive your efforts will bear fruit. Kenya and Kenyan will soon start to embrace each other again, i believe this because i pray about it every day and i know my God is listening and he will answer to my prayer.

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