Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth, Chairman of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, leads the Lenten Campaign Launch Procession along the streets of Marsabit Town on Sunday 23rd February 2014

Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth, Chairman of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, leads the Lenten Campaign Launch Procession along the streets of Marsabit Town on Sunday 23rd February 2014

By Samuel Waweru

There was pomp and colour as hundreds of Christian faithful from all the Catholic Dioceses of Kenya joined their counterparts in the Diocese of Marsabit to launch the 2014 Lenten Campaign on Sunday 23rd February 2014.

The function started with a procession from Marsabit Stadium through the town’s streets to the Cathedral of Our lady of Consolata where the Chairman of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, Most Rev. Zacchaeus Okoth, presided over mass to mark the official launch of the campaign. He was assisted by the Bishop of Marsabit, Rt. Rev. Peter Kihara and Bishop Emeritus of Marsabit, Rt. Rev. Ambrose Ravasi.

In his homily, Archbishop Okoth expressed solidarity with the people of Marsabit, saying the Catholic Church in Kenya had heard their cry of anguish. He urged the residents of the conflict prone region to embrace peace and live in harmony with each other, stressing on the need to respect human dignity. “You need to look into your lives as Kenyans, as Catholics, as Christians of various denominations and as people of other faiths”, said Archbishop Okoth. “Be one people, one nation. Let us think as Kenyans and not according to our ethnic groups.We are all brothers and sisters and must embrace and live with each other in peace.”

During the Lenten season, Archbishop Okoth called on the faithful to reflect on four questions: Lord where am I going? Why am I going where I’m going? What am I doing? Why I’m doing what I’m doing?

The theme of this year’s Lenten Campaign is ‘How can we be one?’

Archbishop Okoth said for the country to be truly one, there is need to start from an early age, and place emphasis on promoting unity among young people. “Let children interract together for purposes of national development, from the level of Early Childhood Development to the University level,” said Archbishop Okoth. “We should promote true values of Kenyan Citizenship as enshrined in our constitution in Chapter 3 and 4 dealing with Citizenship and Civil Rights respectfully so that the young generation may grow to be one. To be one, we must start with the children, from young people in primary and secondary schools, to people doing jua kali work and those in professions.”

Archbishop Okoth thanked the Kenyan President, H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, for the purchase of 1,200 vehicles to beef up security throughout the country. He, however, lamented that insecurity was still a grey area where the government had perfomed poorly. “There is some lethargy in the security of the nation,” said the Archbishop. “The security apparatus does not seem well coordinated. Accordingly, there’s banditry, arson, carjacking, ethnic conflicts in areas such as Marsabit, cattle rustling and terrorist attacks in our cities.”

He called on communities to set up conflict resolution mechanisms to stem ethnic conflicts. He said insecurity was a threat to national development. “Where there’s insecurity, there can be no development, no growth, no learning, no attainment of Vision 2030 and achievement of set goals,” he said.

He urged Kenyans to take advantage of devolution to develop their regions. “Devolution is an opportunity to bring about development and fight poverty, ignorance and disease,” he said. “It is time to double our collective efforts to develop our counties.”

Archbishop Okoth expressed concern that corruption had begun to rear its head again in the country and called on elected leaders to work tirelessly to weed out corruption and regain public trust in the offices they hold. “There’s a disquiet among the general population on issues of corruption, especially in the award of tenders,” he said. “The noise is getting louder and louder. Corruption is not something our leaders can wish away. They must take it head on to regain public trust.”

Comments are closed.