Letters to Secretary of State Rice on Crisis in Kenya, January 8, 2008

Year Published
  • 2013
  • English

January 8, 2008

The Honorable Dr. Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Rice:

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is following the tragic events in Kenya with concern and sadness. We have been in contact with the Bishops’ Conference in Kenya and have received their letter, “My Peace I Give You” (January 2, 2008). A copy is attached for your reference.

Our Conference has also taken note of your efforts to work with the international community to bring an end to the violence and to search for a solution to the political crisis that the Kenyan people face. We are encouraged by your efforts and assure you of our support. We ask that you take heed of the message from the Catholic Bishops of Kenya and take their ideas into consideration. As often happens in situations of conflict, it is the poor who suffer the most and deserve your greatest support.

In particular, as you consult and work with Kenyan political leaders, we urge you to reach out to the members of civil society and prominent religious leaders. Religious leaders can be the moral voice raised against the calls for death and destruction. They can also appeal for reason and calm in the face of violence and passion. The Catholic Bishops have called on the Kenyan people to exercise their power to resolve the crisis. It is important that you act to strengthen their ability to re-establish peace and stability in their own country. This strategy will lend credibility to the efforts of the international community.

Church leaders recognize that at the root of the outbreak of violence are the disputed results of the general elections. The Bishops have called on the Kenyan government to verify the elections either through the institution of a commission to audit the tallying of the election results or the work of an independent mediator. The Kenyan people seek and need the truth. They want to know that their democracy will ultimately respect the voice of the people. Discovering the truth is the best means to re-establish the credibility of the electoral process in Kenya. It is noteworthy that the Attorney General of Kenya, the Honorable Amos Wako, has acknowledged the wisdom of the Church’s position and publicly has expressed his support for a proper tallying of the electoral votes.

The Catholic Bishops of Kenya have also called on the two major political leaders by name to reach out to one another in dialogue. These leaders should set aside political interests for the common good in order to re-establish peace through justice and brotherhood.

Our Conference has congratulated the Catholic Bishops of Kenya for their courage and integrity and for their stand against the forces of ethnic division and violence. We urge the U.S. government to reach out to the Catholic Bishops of Kenya in your efforts to reestablish justice and peace in their beloved country.

In gratitude for your efforts to assist the people of Kenya in this crucial moment of their history, I am

Sincerely yours,

Bishop Thomas G. Wenski
Bishop of Orlando
Chairman, Committee on International Justice and Peace

cc: Dr. Jendayi Frazer, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs
His Eminence John Cardinal Njue, Archbishop of Nairobi, Apostolic Administrator, Murang’a/Nyeri and Chairman, Kenya Episcopal Conference

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