Kenyan churches demand action on strikes and ethnic clashes

By Fredrick Nzwili
Posted Sep 21, 2012

[Ecumenical News International, Nairobi, Kenya] Roman Catholic and Protestant churches in Kenya, in a rare show of unity, are demanding decisive action from the government on industrial strikes that have paralyzed schools and hospitals and ethnic clashes that have left scores dead.

The leaders spoke on 20 September in Nairobi as 260,000 teachers in public school rejected an announcement by the government that it had no money to raise their pay. The teachers, who went on strike on Sept. 3, are demanding a 300 percent pay rise. They were joined by university lecturers on Sept. 6 and doctors on Sept. 13.

“We add our voices to the many Kenyans asking for lasting solution to the teachers, lecturers and doctors strikes through equality based dialogue from all stakeholders,” said Anglican Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, holding a joint news conference, for the first time, with Roman Catholic Cardinal John Njue, Presiding Bishop Stephen Kanyaru of the Methodist Church and representatives from the National Council of Christian Churches in Kenya (NCCK).

Meanwhile, Kenya’s para-military, the General Service Unit, was tracking down community militias in Tana Delta in the Coast Province, where more than 100 people have killed and more than 13,000 displaced in ethnic clashes. Since June, the Pokomo, a farming tribe, have been warring with the Orma, a pastoralist community, over water and pasture.

“We urge the government to put in place mechanisms to ensure that no other Kenyan is killed, hurt, displaced, abused or other way mistreated or discriminated upon or loses his property or feels insecure on the basis of religion or any other basis,” said Njue.