The Nation (Nairobi)

5 August 2010

Kenya: Church Has Not Lost Credibility Over Vote, Says Njue

Nairobi — The Church has not lost its credibility due to the decision by Kenyans to approve the proposed constitution at the referendum.

The Kenya Episcopal Conference chairman John Cardinal Njue said Thursday the vote was not about numbers but the truth, which has not changed and that the Church will continue to speak about the issues of concern.

He said the Church, which campaigned against the proposed constitution, respects the outcome of the referendum where majority Kenyans voted for the document.

"Kenyans have voted after having heart with what the various people had to tell them," he said.

Cardinal Njue, however, said the majority does not necessarily mean the truth.

"Truth and right are not about numbers," he said at the Kenya Episcopal Conference offices in Nairobi where he convened a press conference to comment on the results.

"We therefore as the shepherds placed to give moral guidance to our people still reiterate the need to address the flawed moral issues in this Constitution, that voice should never be silenced," he said.

The Church was strongly opposed to the clauses on abortion and the kadhi courts.

Cardinal Njue, the Archbishop of Nairobi, said churches had played their part guiding their flock.

"We have travelled a long and arduous road that has seen us speak to you as your shepherds and direct your footsteps along the road of proper moral choice, we are convinced before God that we have played our role as mandated to us with diligence and respect," he said.

He added that the church has not shied away from stating the tenets of its faith with regard to certain issues on the new Constitution 'in season and out of season".

"We, your Catholic Bishops, have done our bit before the referendum to sensitise Kenyans about the danger of passing a Constitution that does not respect our moral values, God will be our judge.

"We have urged the Kenyan people to pray for a good Constitution that respects the right to life, safeguards religious freedom in its legitimate manifestations and upholds the family as the most important societal institution," said the Archbishop.

The Church says it will remains at the forefront to support the Constitution and legal reforms in the country for a better society.

"Most Kenyans indeed recognised that the proposed constitution we voted for or against on August 4 had errors that needed to be corrected, our main difference was whether we believed the reform should take place before or after the vote," Cardinal Njue said.

The Church has also commended Kenyans for upholding peace and the Interim Independent Electoral Commission for steering the process.

It has urged Kenyans to remain peaceful in the post-referendum period.

The Catholic Church is expected to give a more comprehensive statement on the results in the coming week.

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