Thursday, November 19, 2009

Archbishop Okoth: "Debate Draft Constitution exhaustively"

The Catholic Church, through its Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC) will undertake a countrywide civic education on the Harmonised Draft Constitution of November 2009.

During a Catholic Media Houses’ press briefing on November 18, 2009, a day after the Harmonized draft was released for public debate, the Bishop Chairman for the CJPC, Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth said this was to enable Kenyans make informed choices.

“Justice and Peace Commission is committed to continuing to engage the Catholic Bishops, Clergy Religious, Laity, Dioceses, Deaneries, Parishes and Small Christian Communities in this process of Constitution making. We want a document that will establish an order based on truth, freedom, justice and the Common good of all Kenyans,” he said in his statement.

The Archbishop of Kisumu termed the window opportunity granted for the public to debate the draft as ‘too short’.
According to the time frame given by the committee of experts, the debate on the document is to go on for 30 days, beginning from the moment the draft was released to the public on November 17, 2009, after which the Committee of experts will take 21 days to put together the issues raised from the debate, before submitting the same to the August house for Parliamentary debate.

“Because of the timeframe, we shall do what we can within the capability of CJPC,” said Archbishop Okoth, “we want the debate on this harmonized draft constitution to go on exhaustively.”

The Archbishop said the Bishops conference would be meeting soon to ‘understand the draft better’, and only after then will the bishops give their common input on the document.

Terming the time for new constitution as ‘Now’, Archbishop Okoth urged for sober discussion on the document. “Let us have a constitution that will serve us and the future generations,” he said.

On the public debate he said: “The ball is now in our court as citizens and we urge all Christians to engage with process. We should read the document, discuss and share it. By knowing what is in the document we empower ourselves to make enlightened decisions. We should also take up the responsibility of empowering others to make informed choices.”

“We want a document that will establish an order based on truth, freedom, justice and the Common good of all Kenyans.”

He applauded the efforts by the committee of experts ‘to ensure that we are informed and can participate in the process of constitution making.

“It is a positive sign that brings us closer to the dream of a new constitutional dispensation for Kenya. We would also like to take this opportunity to appreciate the Committee of Experts and their efforts,” he said.

Despite what Nzamba Kitonga, the chairperson of Committee of Experts that was made up of experts from within and without Kenya termed as ‘numerous challenges’ during the launch of the Harmonized Draft Constitution at the Kenya International Conference Centre (KICC) on November 17, 2009, it took 9 laborious months to come up with the document.

The draft was published through the media on November 18, 2009, and is currently within the public domain for debate.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary Mourns its Dean

St. Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary lost its Dean of studies, following the death of Fr. Francis Ngoci, A.J.

The fully professed member of the Religious Missionary Institute of the Apostles of Jesus passed away on November 15, 2009 at the institution, from what was described as kidney problems which he developed back in 1999 while ministering in the Archdiocese of Nyeri.

Born on October 6, 1952 in Kipio Village, Gatanga, Murang’a District to Mr. Isaac Ngugi Karanja and Mrs Rahab Wairimu, the late, after finishing his elementary education, joined Apostles of Jesus Minor Seminary in Moroto, Uganda in 1977 to prepare for postulancy and his Novitiate, where he also undertook his philosophical and theology studies. He later joined Catholic Higher Insitute of Eastern Africa (Now Catholic University of Eastern Africa, CUEA) in 1988, where he graduated with masters degree in Sacred theology, Canon law.

He took his first vows in 1979, while his final profession was on August 22, 1985, and a year later, he was ordained priest by Bishop Sisto Mazzoldi, Mccj, co-founder of the Apostles of Jesus Congregation.

In his Priesthood, the late had ministered various capacities in parishes and church institutions in the Archdiocese of Nairobi, Nyeri and Diocese of Bungoma, including Ikinu and Lioki parishes (Nairobi); Apostles of Jesus Theologicum (Nairobi) as Rector, Dean of studies and a teacher; Dean of studies at St. Augustine’s Mabanga National Philosophicum (Seminary) – Bungoma, among others.

His latest ministry was at St. Thomas Aquinas National Major Seminary, as a teacher and Dean of studies.

The late will be laid to rest at St. Austin’s Msongari Cemetery, after a requiem Mass on Thursday, November 19, 2009, at the Sacred Heart Shrine, Langata, Nairobi, at 10.00am.

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