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Statement on post-election violence in Kenya

The people of Kenya and their many friends in countries and in churches around the world are appalled and concerned as the outcome of the recent elections has descended into violence, says WCC general secretary Samuel Kobia.

03 January 2008

2 January 2008

The people of Kenya and their many friends in countries and in churches around the world are appalled and concerned as the outcome of the recent elections has descended into violence. The killings, beatings and burnings are causing much loss, suffering and fear. We pray that God will protect all who remain at risk.

Now is the time for leadership and statesmanship for the good of the nation from the leaders of Kenya's two main parties, the Party of National Unity and the Orange Democratic Movement. As leaders, they must turn urgently from partisan postures and negotiate in good faith to reach a non-violent, political solution to Kenya's electoral dispute.

As statesmen, they must rekindle national and international confidence in their intentions. An independent investigation of the electoral dispute is necessary and should be monitored by international observers. Now is the time to put the interests of the nation and the surrounding region above other concerns.

We call on the churches of Kenya to do their part in pursuing the common good of their communities and country. Churches have a leading role to play in ensuring respect for human life and seeking reconciliation between neighbours. This is especially urgent amid ominous signs of ethnically targeted hatred and violence. Homes, businesses, public buildings and places of worship must remain safe.

We also appeal to churches abroad to provide humanitarian aid through ecumenical partners in Kenya to communities affected by the violence. We would like to assure the churches and people of Kenya that the World Council of Churches stands ready to support the process of dialogue and reconciliation that is now necessary.   

The violent perversion of public life in Kenya at present cannot be accepted in a New Year or at anytime. After the immediate measures are taken, and while the current troubles are still fresh in the nation's mind, it will be necessary to have a frank and thorough appraisal of underlying constitutional and electoral issues that have damaged previous Kenyan elections as well as this one. We register this concern now in order to strengthen the rule of law, improve governance and save lives in Kenya in the future.

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia
General secretary
World Council of Churches