Members of Orthodox Church diocese of Kisumu and all Western Kenya members walk along Gisambai-Majengo road in Vihiga County as they mark Good Friday celebration.(Photo: Denish Ochieng/ Standard)
Christians across the country thronged churches to celebrate Good Friday – a period in the Christian calendar when they remember the crucifixion of Jesus Christ – as they ushered in Easter celebrations.
Church leaders took the occasion to urge Kenyans to embrace peace and cultivate reconciliation, especially as the country heads for the General Election in Augusu.
At the Holy Family Basilica, Catholic Church head John Cardinal Njue, led Catholics in a Crism Mass urging Kenyans to consider forgiveness and harmonious co-existence, which he said would help in averting violence in the upcoming elections.
“Let these days that are coming before elections be days of reflection and a period of renewal. I urge you to celebrate peace and solemnity of the death and resurrection of Christ during this period,” said Cardinal Njue.
He said as the country prepares to go to polls, it was important for politicians to watch their language to avoid plunging the country into anarchy, asking Kenyans to avoid being divided by the leaders, who will employ divisive means in a bid to be elected.
The archbishop also urged Kenyans to walk in humility, watch their utterances and actions so as not to stir war. He further emphasised on inclusivity and tolerance during this volatile period.
Pray for peace
“We have in the past witnessed divisions during elections, but we want to urge Kenyans to shun those who may want to cause chaos and instead cultivate tolerance, including among those with divergent political views,” he said.
Cardinal Njue asked Kenyans to continue to pray for peace during and after the elections.
At the All Saints Cathedral, the Head of the Anglican Church, Archbishop Jackson ole Sapit, reiterated calls for peace as he led the congregation in a special Good Friday holy communion service.
Archbishop Sapit said the Church was concerned over emergence of violence and threats to life especially in rural areas, warning politicians against inciting their supporters in the hunt for votes.
“We note with grave concern the tendency of politicians to bribe the youth through cash or cheap alcohol and use them to attack their opponent’s supporters. We therefore urge the youth to play their rightful role in this democratic process by voting in leaders who have their interests at heart and not politicians who are out to misuse them for violence by giving cash or alcohol,” said the Archbishop.
He said the signs witnessed so far in campaigns were not encouraging, even as he asked political players to tone down.
“We have already witnessed political incitements and violence in some parts of the country. The negative political mobilisation witnessed across the country is polarising as it is based on name calling, insults and violence. As a Church, we feel that the rising political temperature creates fear among the populace,” he added.