Kenya: Canterbury Archbishop Urges People-Centered Discourse on BBI Void of Political Machinations

21 January 2020

Nairobi — The Anglican Church has asked politicians not to hijack the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) process.

Canterbury Archbishop Justin Welby and Anglican Church of Kenya Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit said the unity of the country was more important than scoring political goals.

They said the views of all Kenyans irrespective of their standing in society must be heard.

Archbishop Welby said he had taken note of the BBI's objective of finding solutions to Kenyans problem.

He said: "Allow everyone to be heard in the process. It should not be mostly leaders bringing up an idea. This is a problem we face throughout the world. I find it easier to allow all shades of opinions."

They spoke during a courtesy call on the Deputy President William Ruto at his Harambee Annex office in Nairobi on Tuesday.

Archbishop Welby said he was fascinated with the report because it sets out to address social economic problems facing the people.

He said addressing issues of tribalism and creating a new culture and a new agenda for the country was good for the people.

The Archbishop said it was a good "attempt to create a positive vision for Kenya".

Archbishop Sapit said we should not allow political "expediency" in the process.

He added: "If it becomes a political rallies' document we lose it. We should have a people centred approach."

He said the BBI should not be a political tool by politicians to mobilize for political reasons.

Ole Sapit said: "We can begin to see deviation from the original course."

He added: "The church just wanted to see the prosperity of the country and wasn't taking sides on the matter."

He wondered how views of the people were being collected in political rallies.

Dr Ruto said all Kenyans should be allowed to participate and give their views to enrich the document.

The Deputy President asked politicians not to ignore views from Kenyans.

He argued that divergent views does not constitute opposition to the report.

In fact, he added, differing opinions enriches the document.

He said: "There is a temptation to think that a different or contrary view is opposition. I believe accommodating alternative views allows an all-inclusive process that enriches the document."

He added: "We should create space for all to prosecute their viewpoints. No viewpoint is inferior."

Dr Ruto said he would resist any attempt to create political camps or "us versus them" in the process.

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