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Our country seems to be in a state of fear due to the upcoming General Election. There is tension, undue anxiety, cut-throat competition and apparent bad blood, making the process delicate. The question is, should election process ever be a recipe for an impending chaos, violence and disorder?

The Catholic Bishop of Kenya hastened to invite all Kenyans of good will early in the day, to preach, promote, work for and pray for peaceful and credible elections and to elect leaders of integrity, at the launch of Lenten Campaign in February, 2017. In the same vein, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, through the instrumentality of Justice and Peace Commission, has developed a civic, voter and peace education handbook. The purpose of the simplified handbook is to appeal to Kenyans to make informed decisions that will enable them conduct themselves so peacefully during the entire election process that they will avoid violence, and in instances of conflict and disagreement, to seek dialogue and reconciliation and drum up for peace.

Citizens are assisted to appreciate the fact that peace, development and good governance are in their hands. The Civic, Voter and Peace Education Handbook, For Free, fair and Peaceful Elections and For Electing Leaders of Integrity emphasizes: “They must perform their responsibility of promoting and defending peace, good governance and socio-economic development.”

However, peace is not a mere human effort, it is a gift of God. In the Old Testament it was one of the great needs constantly implored from God. But it was the Messiah, the prince of Peace, who brought the true peace: shalom. At the birth of Jesus Christ the angels proclaimed: “Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to those on whom his favour rests” (Luke 2:14). After his Resurrection, he greeted his disciples with: “Peace be with you; it is I, do not be afraid” (Luke 24:36). His presence in our lives is always the source of our joy, calmness and peace that endures. He passes this gift to his disciples when he says, “Peace I leave you; my peace I give you; not as the world gives it do I give it to you” (John 14:27). The peace of God totally goes beyond an earthly peace and is incompatible with injustice. Christ is our peace (Ephesians 2:14).

What is it then that causes anxiety, sadness, worry, loneliness and disorder in the human soul? It is sin. It is selfishness. God’s peace is the product of interior order and unfailing respect for others, regardless of their tribe, race, religion, political or ideological affiliation, and complete trust in God who will always be with us.

In the beatitude, Jesus proclaimed: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9). This calls us to carry interior peace in our hearts and communicate it wherever we may be. We are blessed too when we pray for peace, work ceaselessly to obtain it and offer to reconcile people with themselves and with God.

Therefore, we need to reach out for peace that is the gift of God (Shalom), which is born in the heart, rather than peace which men make for themselves which is imposed by force of arms.

As we prepare for peaceful, fair, transparent and credible elections, let us remember that clouds will not cover the world on 8th August, 2017; there will be the 9th too! We need to be open to peace and fairness. As men and women of faith and/or good will, let us never forget our eternal destiny. We must beat up drums of Shalom. Peace as God’s gift must triumph! We encourage various groups and individuals to purposely organize peace prayers, walks, demonstrations and activities.

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FINANCE |MANAGING OUR RESOURCES

Year 2016 the diocese witnessed major milestones in development by launching two important documents; the five year strategic plan and diocesan financial manual.

The 2016-2020 Strategic Plan sets a framework to reorganize our resources and refocus our energy and operations towards a common goal and vision. This collectively calls for sterling stewardship, change of mindset, strategic alignment and management to effectively implement the document.

 

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