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More must be done to stop corruption, say Kenyan bishops

Protesters in Nairobi wear mock prison uniforms and stand behind a false prison to demand that corrupt government officials be jailed (CNS)

Kenya’s Catholic bishops urged the government to intensify its efforts to eliminate corruption in the country. The bishops said “the disease of corruption … seems to be perpetrated without shame or fear.”

“That now there are allegations of mismanagement of funds meant for health services yet again brings the country to another low. We are left wondering what is exactly going on,” they said in a statement issued on November 11, after their meeting in Kakamega.

They said they wondered if Kenyans were “being treated to propaganda as a campaign tool for 2017,” when Kenya holds its next general elections. The bishops also warned against pre-election violence and hate speech and noted that candidates have abandoned their responsibilities to campaign full time.

“We must never allow ourselves to be used for political expediency every election period, only to be left wounded, maimed, hopeless and divided more than ever before,” the bishops said.

The bishops’ concern over corruption comes in the wake of a reported financial scandal involved the country’s Ministry of Health and the National Youth Service.

“We have insisted again and again that those who have been entrusted to govern this country must be people free from corruption, who hate corruption and are willing to fight corruption to the end,” said the bishops. They said half-hearted actions would not do.

“We don’t want to be counted among the generation that lost the dream our ancestors had when they fought for the independence and prosperity of Kenya,” they said.

The bishops offered themselves as facilitators to address corruption, “away from political rhetoric.”

“We seek to reason together, to see how we can strategically address this vice. As a point of departure, all those implicated with credible evidence should step aside.”

The bishops also addressed the situation in South Sudan, describing it as a “situation of endless strife.” They urged the Kenyan government to take its traditional role of brokering peace in the neighbouring country.