From: Ouko joachim omolo
The News Dispatch with Omolo Beste in images
JANUARY 4, 2013
This speech was made on January 4, by Kenya Episcopal Conference Justice and Peace Chairman, Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth of Kisumu:
Dear people of God, fellow citizen’s ladies and gentlemen, I am happy to join you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for peace in the growth of our nation.
About Fifty Years ago the founding fathers of this nation in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, defined the destiny of this nation with clarity as we often sing in our national anthem “Justice be our shield and defender, may we dwell in Unity peace and liberty, plenty be found within our boarders’, This momentous declaration came as a great beacon light for posterity of this beautiful nation.
If you look at the Kenyan Flag, it stands out as the most beautiful of all the world’s flags, but I am afraid today that if one were to open the heart of many Kenyans, it would be area contradiction what our flag symbolizes-(A nation United in peace and liberty.)
This is due to the militarized conflicts this country has undergone in the past five decades which have greatly impacted on the stability and peace of this great nation.
That is why I stand before this august forum to invite you to join in the Journey towards peace and mutual co-existence as one family with one destiny. This peace whose heralds we have to be, is the only way to the new dawn, a dawn that says goodbye to impunity, inequality, abuse of human rights, violence and corruption amidst the many evils that have plagued and crippled the progress of this nation.
A dawn that upholds the dignity of the human person and its inalienable rights there by promoting the local aptitudes with its charisms and potentialities to celebrate the gift our rich and diverse heritage.
I stand here today as a witness to the growth of this nation amidst its challenges to date. At independence; Kenyans enjoyed a deep spirit of nation hood and peace; this was exemplified by harmony and unity that was all inclusive especially among the founding fathers of our nation and its political leadership.
In those days Kenyans were judged by the content of their character and not their ethnicity or other affiliations. This beautiful fabric has over the years degenerated and disintegrated into anarchy fuelled by ethnocentricism.
The last Five decades have been characterized with historical injustices, grabbing of the public utilities, tribal clashes (ethnic cleansing] leading to the degeneration of the systems of Justice and loss of credibility in the institutions of the Government.
On 30th December 2007, carne the darkest day in the history of this nation when all these ills reached their climax in the post election violence due to a disputed election. The Loss of over 1000 innocent lives, property of innumerable value, crimes against humanity that will never be forgotten through generations.
The gruesome sight of the events will forever leave indelible marks in the memories of innocent Kenyans some of whom have not found a home there since, living as internally displaced persons in their own country.
That is why I am here today to tell you the most important word; NEVER AGAIN,
Never again will the blood of the innocent be sacrificed at the altar of impunity, never again will Kenyans rich or poor live in the cold away from their homes because they have been driven away by their neighbors with whom they have lived in peace, Never again will Kenyans become refugees in their own land.
Never again will we subject this region to such atrocities. Never again will we see children and women undergoing the untold pain, never again will should this nation be in flames lit by its own citizens.
This proclamation “Never again” is a matter of Faith in Action that we believe in peace and work for it as a preferential and fundamental option for the growth and development of all institutions.
Never again means choosing peace and desisting from all forms of violence. This is why I am here today to invite you to join me in this caravan of peace, peace that is not just the absence of war but a true experience in the heart of every Kenyan.
Peace in our homes, peace in the neighborhood and the nation at large; peace which is synonymous to development. Since our destiny is defined by the choices we make in the present; choosing peace today is choosing a brighter future for this nation which has been guaranteed by the New Constitutional dispensation.
As we chose peace let us be aware of the seven evils enumerated by Mahatma Gandhi as deadly to the growth and survival of any nation; which in my opinion has deeply penetrated the leadership and structures of our beloved country;
1. Politics without principles (political affiliations based on Tribal outfits)
2. Pleasure without conscience (indulging into social evils without being mindful of the consequences- Kenya of a few billionaires against millions of people living in abject poverty and nobody cares).
3. Wealth without work (plundering public resources and institutions through corruption)
4. Knowledge without character (compromising academic prospects and truth because of money and positions)
5. Business without morality (making business through stealing, even some parts of the dead)
6. Science without humanity (not being mindful of the consequences of scientific research)
7. Worship without sacrifice (Inability to sacrifice personal ambition for the sake of the common good).
This is why I invite you as to join me to say Never again as I propose the following as the panacea of the past injuries in the region and the way forward;
1. Investment in peace as a personal prerogative since any act of violence affects each and every one of us directly.
2. That our politicians articulate their party manifestos during this electioneering period without insulting each other and inciting the populace against one another
3. That we give each party a chance in this region to conduct peaceful campaigns irrespective of their ideologies and foundations.
4. That we respect and appreciate each other within our neighborhoods, since we all belong to one tribe (called Kenya all Kenyans have the right and freedom to enjoy their fundamental rights in any part of the country without fear and intimidation.
5. That we resist from being hired or used by politicians to rise against each other in violence.
6. That we all work as a team towards a fair process towards the next general elections.
7. That we all become heralds of peace and preach it to one another since as you must have discovered; discord is more expensive than peace.
8. That we chose peace as a way towards economic recovery of the region and job creation since most of the investors are seemingly scared of Kenya since the experience of 2007 post election violence.
9. That the politicians treat each other with respect without contempt or provocation.
Yes We Can! We can have peace if we all choose peace today, True peace, reconciliation and justice as the way forward to a brighter destiny for each of us.
Remember with God nothing is impossible thus, I want to say peace is possible if we make a definitive decision to embrace it.
Kisumu for peace, Yes we can- Respect and love each other irrespective of our heritage- yes we can. Conduct violence free campaigns-yes we can-Resisting being used by politicians to fight each other -yes we can.
Kondele for peace-yes we can- Bodaboda for peace-Yes we can- Politicians for peace and mutual respect-ye we can- Women for peace-Yes we can.
I request you to join me in this wonderful prayer of peace which I here today propose for personal devotion and dedication before; during and after the forth coming elections.
The Peace Prayer of Saint Francis
“0 Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace!
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is discord, harmony.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sorrow, joy.
Let me conclude by wishing each and every Kenyan a happy ride in this caravan of peace we have launched today, peace for positive change and economic prosperity.
Thank you all, may the Lord turn each and every one of you into instruments of Peace.
Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578
Real change must come from ordinary people who refuse to be taken hostage by the weapons of politicians in the face of inequality, racism and oppression, but march together towards a clear and unambiguous goal.
-Anne Montgomery, RSCJ UN Disarmament Conference, 2002