Statement on Violence from the Religious Superiors Conference of Kenya

AFJN was shocked by the news of the murder of AFJN member, Rev. Martin Addai, M.Afr, as reported in our recent Easter newsletter . Fr. Martin, who lost his life in Nairobi on March 10, 2007, was only one of many victims of violence that the Religious Superiors Conference of Kenya deplored in a recent statement. They call for all Kenyans to search their souls, to rediscover the power of the word in resolving conflicts and for all levels of inequalities to be addressed in Kenyan society. We wish to share this statement with you in its entirety.

STOP THE CARNAGE!
NAIROBI-KENYA
APRIL 3, 2007
As Rev Fr Martin Addai, former lecturer in Tangaza College and Rector ofthe Missionaries of Africa (M.AFR) Theological House of Formation was laid to rest on Saturday March 31, 2007; we the Religious Superiors Conferenceof Kenya react to the violent death, shocking as that may be.Fr Addai was another good an innocent missionary whose life has been violently cut short by gunfire. It happened in the early afternoon of March 10th on a lonely street in of Nairobi.
As we call to action to condemn the ‘merchants of death’ in our nation,please tell us what we can say to his religious brothers shocked by thistragedy? Counsel us on the consolation we might bring to his grieving family in Ghana. Help us also stop the creeping violence now engulfing usbefore we reach a point of no return.Predictably the cry has gone up for the government to do more and so itshould. But while we may relieve ourselves of responsibility by calling on the government and police on such occasions we must also look to ourown role and share in the perpetuation of such madness. For violent crime is having a field day now, not just because the government should do more but also, because ordinary citizens are doing too little.The enemy among us and the demons within us are growing stronger by the day because too many among us seem to be promoting a culture of violence. We see this attitude when for whatever reason we withhold information from the police and from those who are responsible for security in this country, because we do not wish to get involved. We see it in all those indirect criminals who while they do not use a gun, harbour those who doit or refuse to cooperate with the forces of the law.

We do not have any universal remedy to deal with this situation. Nevertheless we do believe that if the nation is to move forward the trends that are destroying the nation must be arrested and our culturere directed.

Today each of us is called to do what it takes to abolish the gross inequalities which drive people to criminal behaviour, which creates insecurity for ordinary citizens and guests of this nation, including police and night watchmen alike, which breeds hopelessness among many youth for their future, and this is just mentioning a few areas. Theviolence spouting from the barrels of guns is a symptom of a city and indeed a nation at war with itself. Like successes, it has a thousand fathers.

While we believe that the scourge of poverty at intolerable levels is astrong contributing factor we add a deeper root: it is a loss of confidence in the power of the word as an instrument of conflict resolution. There is a profound erosion of moral authority pervading many sectors of our society and institutions today, a corruption of the mindthat has entered the blood stream of our daily activities.

The soul of the nation is at stake and the lives of many innocent peopleare in our hands. The barbaric, senseless killing and robbing of ordinary, innocent PEOPLE highlights the mindless disregard for the sanctity oflife. These are symptoms of a society that is clearly losing its spiritual compass and, as a consequence, all vestiges of civilized living.

But just as we may be reaching alarming level of crime, it is never toolate to stop and turn things around. If we call ourselves followers of a just and compassionate God then we must have that unique love that has thecourage to make demands on ourselves and on others.

We have to be pro-active as advocates of change lest by doing nothing weencourage the doers of evil. ‘All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.’

We must never give up on each other and on our ability to do somethingbecause God never gives up on us. While many of the youth of our time search in vain for genuine spiritual and political leadership we are allchallenged to engage in a culture of daily living where respect for human rights and life is held to be sacred and honoured

While we reiterate and acknowledge that ultimate responsibility is squarely on the shoulders of the Government and Police Force to provide Protection and Safety for the people in this Nation, we have to become more involved in the struggle to defeat the evil forces of crime and death in this potentially great country.

The agents of evil who kill and murder people cannot be tolerated and have to be stopped by all of us. ‘Leo ni Leo’. Tuamke.!

Fr. Patrick Devine SMA
Chairman of RSCK

The Religious Superiors Conference of Kenya . (R.S.C.K)
(Representing 63 International and National Religious Congregations/Orders
of the Catholic Church working in Kenya

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