We the Catholic Justice and Peace Commissioners drawn from all the Catholic Dioceses in Kenya gathered here at Kolping Vocational Training Center - Kilimambogo for our Annual General Meeting from 19th to 22nd October 2010; as a Commission of the Catholic Church mandated to advocate for good governance, promote peace and champion justice in the country, as guided by the Social Teachings of the Catholic Church do register our concerns as highlighted hereunder:
Implementation of the New Constitution of Kenya
We acknowledge the democratic decision exercised by the majority of Kenyans in passing the new Constitution. As a stakeholder we commit ourselves to supporting the process of its implementation.
In pursuit of the above, we are disappointed at the confusion characterizing the interpretation of the New Constitution. This is in regard to areas such as restructuring of the Provincial Administration, the status of Local Authorities, the functions of the County Governments and the functions of the implementing organs (Executive, Parliament and Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution).
Leadership and Integrity
With the promulgation of the New Constitution, Kenyans ushered in a new culture of transparency and accountability. However, we are concerned that the continued culture of impunity among political leadership has not changed, making reference to the following issues; unwillingness of legislators to pay taxes, the kind of horse-trading witnessed in and outside Parliament whereby some leaders accused of corruption and other integrity issues are being protected by their colleagues. There are also unmerited public appointments based on tribalism, nepotism and political affiliation.
Kenya agreed to subject herself to the provisions of the Rome Statute in pursuing justice for the victims and perpetrators of gross human rights violations. In addition, the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission was set up to address historical injustices.
However, in the recent past, sections of political leadership have been applying diversionary tactics to derail the International Criminal Court effort in pursuing justice. This has been characterized by politicians inflaming ethnic passions and sympathy as a cover up for their misdeeds. Similarly, the Truth Justice Reconciliation Commission process has been plagued by issues of credibility and inadequate support.
· In implementation of the New Constitution we call for tolerance, understanding and above all, the involvement of all stakeholders. To facilitate a pro active and participatory approach, Kenyans require immediate structured and intensive Civic Education to help them understand the New Laws. As Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, we are prepared to partner with the Government and other stakeholders towards the realization of this noble objective. Civic education on the Constitution should be infused in the school curriculum at all levels.
· Since the New Constitution acknowledges the “Supremacy of the Almighty God” the teaching of religion should be upheld as part of the school curriculum. To effectively do this, we urge the government to recruit more religious education teachers in our schools and forbid tuition on Saturdays and Sundays as a process of implementing the New Laws. At the same time, faith based organizations should articulate their rightful role in inculcating the moral values in the New Constitution.
· With implementation of the New Constitution, future leaders of this country in 2012 should be God fearing, and people of high integrity, high moral standing, and high professionalism. The judges should exercise impartiality and ability to make wise, prudent, timely and balanced judgments, so that Kenya can get rid of pending cases of corruption, (Goldenberg, Anglo Leasing, the sale of Grand Regency), and extra-judicial killings.
· In reference to leadership and integrity, we call upon political leaders and public office holders, to start living the culture of the New Constitution. This requires that Legislators, Judges and other public servants start paying taxes without any further delay. Public appointments should also be based on merit and due process.
· With reference to transitional justice, we exhort the Government to address the issues of credibility and inadequate support plaguing the TJRC process. In the event that the Government fails to do this, we call for the overhaul or disbandment of the Commission. In addition, since the Government has made commitments with International Criminal Court in signing the Rome Statute, the latter should be allowed to fulfill their mandate unhindered.
In conclusion we refer to the Social Teachings of the Catholic Church and note that the tasks accompanying the responsibilities in social and political institutions demand a strict and articulated commitment that is able to demonstrate clearly the absolute necessity of the moral dimension in social and political life through thoughtful contributions to the political debates, planning and chosen actions. Failure to do that, inadequate attention to the moral dimension leads to the dehumanization of life in society and of social and political institutions thereby consolidating “structures of sin”.
Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth
Chairman Catholic Justice and Peace Commission
Date: 21st October, 2010
 Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Nairobi: Paulines Publications Africa, 2004, pp. 304.
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