Kenyan bishops ban politicians from addressing religious congregations


NAIROBI, Kenya – Kenya’s Catholic bishops have banned politicians from addressing congregations in churches, fearing leaders may abuse the purity of places of worship.

The bishops issued the ban after it became apparent political leaders were turning churches into campaign fields, as political realignments occur ahead of the general election next August.

“We wish to firmly reaffirm that our places of worship and liturgy are sacred and (do not) serve as political arenas. The church is above politics,” said Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde, president of the Church. Kenya Catholic Bishops Conference, in a statement. statement delivered at a press conference in Nairobi on September 15. “We, as the clergy, and in particular the priests, must ensure that the places are not used by the leaders to advance their political agenda.”

In the past, some priests have allowed politicians to greet religious congregations, but politicians have taken the opportunity to attack their opponents or attempt to influence the faithful on their side. Some politicians have been accused of hate speech in churches.

According to the bishops, any politician who attends Mass must do so like any faithful.

“No special consideration should be given to him for propagating his political agenda, nor for addressing the congregation in our places of worship,” Kivuva said.

On September 12, the Anglican Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit of Kenya issued a similar ban, saying politicians were interfering with the sanctity of places of worship.

At the press conference, Catholic bishops also addressed other concerns, including politicians’ challenge to a government ban on gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a dispute between the president and his deputy and political violence.

“We wish to issue a strong warning against the declarations and attitudes of possible drumming of war throughout the country. If left unchecked, such declarations and attitudes can trigger electoral violence in the next election period,” he said. declared the bishops.

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