Cardinal Maurice Michael OTUNGA 
(Archbishop of Nairobi, Kenya)
 

I am speaking in the name of the Kenya Episcopal Conference. I am speaking on no. 9 of the Instrumentum Laboris: Evangelisation as Justice and Peace. About justice and peace concerning the people on the move. Among the problems in the various parts of the world with which the Church must contend in our days, the evangelisation concerning the peoples on the move cannot be ignored. They are so many. They seem to have no domicile or even semi-domicile. In practice they seem to belong to no particular ecclesiastical jurisdiction and therefore no definite Shepherd. But they are also images and likeness of God; also redeemed by the blood of the Son of God. If baptised they are incorporated in the body of Christ, his Church. The International Charter of Human Rights is also for them.

The Republic of Kenya has had its share of those human beings. They can be grouped into these: (1) Properly so-called refugees, (2) Properly so-called Nomads, (3) The displaced people, (4) The victims of discrimination.

We have had refugees during the last twenty years from Uganda, Za´re, Sudan, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Angola and Somalia. The Kenya government has been quite accommodating. The UNICEF, CRS (Catholic Relief Service) JRS (Jesuit Refugee Service) OXFAM, TRECOR and Misereor have proved very helpful; we are grateful to them. But it has never been easy to bring them spiritual help.

The Nomads are usually the tribes that still move from place to place looking for pastures for their flocks. An apostolate for the nomads has been set up. The particular Churches: Marsabit, Garissa, Ngong, Nakaru, Lodwar, working among them have established among them, whenever possible, Mission centres with boarding schools and dispensaries to serve nomadic peoples.

The displaced persons in Kenya are those citizens rendered homeless on account of tribal violence in the same country, called in Kenya tribal clashes. Urbanisation is another major cause. The victims of discrimination, I think, are particularly those citizens who have to move from place to place in search of employment and this may be due to nepotism, religious discrimination or corruption in the administration of the country.

For this people it is difficult to establish a stable contact. For those who already believe, many are in great danger of losing their faith. It becomes more difficult when the situation is politically originated and perpetuated as it is the case in Kenya now. Here the Bishops have exercised their prophetic role and have spoken out to the government. It has not been easy.

I conclude this brief analysis of concern of evangelisation as justice and peace with three suggestions:

1) That Bishops in Africa and Madagascar, conscious of our divine mandate to bear witness to Jesus Christ and to preach the Good News of eternal salvation to every creature in Africa and Madagascar, come up with a guideline to work and to feel and follow up ever more in solidarity to obstacles, particularly political ones, against evangelisation as justice and peace.

2) That this Synod establish a procedure to be always followed whereby to call on our Brother-Bishops of other continents with and under the Holy Father for unison voice for or against evangelisation as justice and peace.

3) This is in the form of a question (ref. No. 94 Instrumentum Laboris): how long will our brothers and sisters of Islam faith continue to hold us their brothers and sisters as infidels worthy of cane, yet these so called infidels believe in God and are so much committed to the word of God, the God of Abraham, the father of our faith in one and only one God?

Original text: English

 

 

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