Turkana Inter-religious Council and the Catholic Diocese of Lodwar commemorated the ecumenical week by offering prayers for peace and unity among different denominations and faiths at a time when the country is gearing up for electioneering.
The occasion that brought together religious bodies making up the Turkana Inter-religious Council including the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM), Organization of African Instituted Churches (OAIC), Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), Seventh Day Adventists (SDA), Legio Maria and Evangelical Alliance of Kenya (EAK), was meant to promote cooperation and understanding among different denominations to foster religious unity.
Speaking in an interview at St. Augustine Cathedral Parish in Lodwar town, The Chairperson of Turkana Inter-Religious Council, Sheikh Yusuf Aremon, said they had gathered to pray for peace and unity to prevail in the country especially during the elections.
“We have all come together to pray and promote peace and unity especially now that the country is heading to an electioneering period, which requires God’s presence and support because it has always been faced with many challenges,” said Sheik Aremon.
He urged those eyeing various seats in the forthcoming General Election to conduct their campaigns peacefully devoid of actions that could trigger hatred among the people.
Diocese of Lodwar Vicar-general Rev. Fr. Paul Areman, said the Diocese had deemed it wise to invite other Christian denominations and Muslims to come together to pray and promote unity between different faiths because the event came at a time when the Catholic Church is celebrating a week of ecumenism or the Christian unity.
“Our aim today is to follow the prayer of Christ in the gospel according to John 17:21 “that all may be one,” this week from January 17th to 25th is usually a week to mark Christian unity according to the church calendar,” said Fr. Paul.
“It is our prayer that we would keep this unity so that we may stay as one nation, speaking one language and people of one God,” he said.
Diocese of Lodwar Pastoral Coordinator, Rev. Fr. David Ahiro, pointed out that Christians and Muslims ought to live together peacefully bearing in mind that they are children of one family of the same God.
The presiding bishop of the Glory Outreach Kenya and Uganda, Bishop Dr. Benson Ekuwam, urged all aspirants in the forthcoming General Election to preach peace and avoid such utterances that could create division among the people of Kenya.
“The first thing we say is peace, politicians should know that anything or any word that they would utter would have an impact on people’s lives, one must keep in mind that everyone needs peace to live, do not put your interests first for the sake of other people’s lives,” said Dr. Ekuwam.
He further noted that there are places in Turkana County where residents do not live in peace like their counterparts in the rest of the country.
Bishop Ekuwam singled out the border between Turkana County and the county of West Pokot, Turkana County border with Ethiopia and the border between Turkana and South Sudan, all, which he said, require peace and unity that can only be made possible through the effort of political leaders.
By Ekuwam Sylvester