Catholic bishops in Kenya appealed for end of violence and dialogue, as scores died in anti-government protests. The opposition has rallied around new taxes and a rising cost of living.
The bishops are worried that escalating protests called by Raila Odinga, the main opposition leader against President William Ruto’s government, have been turning too violent and disruptive-threatening the stability of the East African nation.
Parts of the capital, Nairobi, the port city of Mombasa, and several towns across the country became battle zones on 19th July as protesters blocked roads, burned tires and stoned cars in response to Odinga’s latest call for protests.
Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde of Mombasa, president of the Kenyan bishops’ conference, said there was no justifiable reason for the violence, while highlighting the ensuing injuries, property damage, trauma and loss of lives.
“The high cost of living has created a burden on individuals and families, making it difficult for them to meet their basic needs and maintain a decent standard of living,” Archbishop Anthony Muheria of Nyeri said, reading parts of the Kenyan bishops’ statement in Nairobi.
“We realise that many are struggling to afford essential goods and services, to secure stable employment, or are facing financial hardships that affect education and health care access.”
Picture: Supporters of Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga of the Azimio La Umoja (Declaration of Unity) One Kenya Alliance, participate in an anti-government protest against the imposition of tax hikes by the government in Nairobi on 21st July 2023. (OSV News photo/Thomas Mukoya, Reuters)