The All Saints Cathedral, Nairobi recently held a civic education symposium as part of the cathedral’s public awareness series focused on Christian engagement in Public life. The symposium examined the need for involvement of the Church-and Christians, in promoting social justice, good governance; and credible electoral processes. Coming as the Country prepares for the upcoming general elections, speakers concurred that ‘the political space was equally critical’ to deserve the input of the Church.
The Rt. Rev. Prof. Joseph Galgalo, the ACK Provincial registrar and an assistant Bishop in the ACK Diocese of All Saints Cathedral Diocese was one of the panelists at the symposium. He remarked that the public space, to a large extent, “influenced the quality of lives that Kenyans live.” As such he explained that the church must seek to influence the country’s governance and safeguard the will of Kenyans.
Referring to values and character of leadership, Bishop Galgalo said that while much had been done to ensure high standards of integrity; it was hard for the Church and state to ‘effectively police morality.” “Kenyans must however, live by the high standards that we have set, and commit to upholding them.” This would help in modeling better leadership and values that can contribute to a better country,” he added.
Bishop Galgalo also proposed that Christians could influence the spaces that they held to promote better leadership, and as well influence those who offered themselves for leadership- as opposed to always “choosing the lesser evil.”
Dr. Katindi Sivi, a policy analyst, warned that lack of interest in public affairs allowed for “just a few people determining what course the country’s leadership takes.” She said that many other groups were equally interested in the affairs of the Nation and could use their influence to push for an agenda that may destroy the Country. She encouraged Kenyans to organize themselves and hold leaders to account on the promises they made to the electorate. She added that most politicians were not keen on addressing issues affecting Kenyans because they were not being held to account.
Kwame Owino, the Chief Executive officer of the Institute of Economic affairs, urged the church to “engage actively and aggressively in the entire 5 years of the electoral cycle.” He posed that the church could promote the rule of law by ensuring that “all human beings, created in the image of God, are treated with fairness.”
Civic Duty and responsibility.
With heightened political activity going on in the country, Kwame challenged the Church to promote vibrant dialogue on National issues. “We should operate in an environment where honest discussions take place, but ensure that what promotes the common good is championed.”
“Political Mobilisation is bound to be divisive and it is a great move by the church to promote peace; and at the same time understand and allow people to engage meaningfully with each other,” Kwame pointed. He also urged that, “the church must promote elevation of the levels of performance for those in power regardless of who is in power.”
The All Saints Cathedral, Nairobi is running a public sensitization series on active civic engagement and transformation of public processes. The Cathedral’s Provost, the Rev. Canon Dr. Sammy Wainaina, shared that the Cathedral would seek to engage not just the Country’s leadership, but the electorate on issues affecting them. He posited that “if the church is weak on the inside, it cannot heal the space outside it,” underscoring the need for the Church to understand its ministry and endeavor to transform the society.