A Call to all Kenyans – AACC – 21 Jan 08

A Call to all Kenyans from the All African Conference of Churches
Monday, January 21, 2008

A Call to all Kenyans from the All African Conference of Churches
The All Africa Conference of Churches wishes to express its deep and profound sorrow with the leaders and peoples of the Republic of Kenya at this time of turbulence.
Conscious of our status as guests of this nation and having been graciously allowed to operate from this soil for more than forty years, we wish it to be known how grateful we are for the hospitality that has always been extended to us by the Republic of Kenya as well as the Churches of Kenya. The hospitality thus extended to us in a true African fashion has made us feel truly Kenyan.
The joys of this nation have become our joys and therefore its pains, our pains. It is thus impossible for us not to agonize with all Kenyans in this hour of crisis.
Expression of Solidarity
It was on this basis that earlier in the year the AACC arranged for Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate and former President of the AACC, together with the current President, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Nyansako-ni-Nku from Cameroon and Dr. Brigalia Bam, former General secretary of the South African Council of Churches and current Chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa, to pay a solidarity visit early in January 2008 to Kenya.
As a universally respected peace broker, Archbishop Tutu called on the political leaders of this country to stem the mayhem of killings and come to the table to resolve this problem.
As your fellow Africans and in the name of Christ we desire for you to know that your and our pain is the pain of Africa.
Compelled to Speak Out
How can we remain silent as the All Africa Conference of Churches when we ourselves, working from Kenyan soil have ministered to so many in this continent calling for justice and peace? We cannot underplay the standing of the Republic of Kenya in the eyes of the African populations, and the contribution that Kenya has made to peace and stability in many countries in this continent.
Kenyan Peace-Brokering in South Africa
As a South African, I can never forget that when my country was on the precipice, it was a Kenyan in the person of Prof. Washington Okumu who brokered peace among our chief protagonists at the time. Kenya has been in the forefront in helping to stem bloodletting in Sudan and Somalia. How then can Kenya stand so steadfastly on the grounds that the assistance from the international community in its hour of need simply amounts to unmerited interference?
Gestures of Good Will
By maintaining this position, is Kenya not effectively accusing itself of having meddled in other peoples affairs? The African community that has never seen Kenya as meddler in its affairs, but rather seen them as interested and concerned parties whose goodwill for every inch of this continent is valued and merited, is dismayed that the Republic of Kenya would wish to reject gestures of goodwill extended to them. We urge Kenya to acknowledge, accept and embrace the goodwill overtures of their fellow Africans. We urge the Kenyan church in particular to stand firm for the appropriateness and value of such accompaniment by their fellow Africans.
If anything, the theology of the body of Christ urges us to be available for one another, not only for those who share at the common sacramental table, but for the world for which Christ died. There is no desire within the African community that such accompaniment should in any way undermine the sense of sovereignty or the sense of pride of this great nation.
The standing of both Archbishop Tutu and President Kufuor represents the ultimate gesture that this continent could show to express its respect for Kenya, its concern for a situation that is essentially destroying the last shreds of dignity and democratic hope for Africa, and the hope that Africa can conduct its business effectively in non violent ways.
The Urgency for Resolution
Surely, if nothing else, the desperate situation of Kenyans being seen the world over as refugees in their neighbouring countries and displaced in their own country, should move even the most hard hearted to accept the urgency for the protagonists to sit down and seek to resolve this problem.
Kenya the Steward of Africas Collective Hope
If Kenyans see this crisis as simply just one of their problems that they will in time resolve, let it be said that the rest of the continent is desperate, for if it happens thus to Kenya, how about the rest of us, what hope do we have? Kenya, you are one of the custodians of the last vestiges of hope for this continent! Please steward our collective hope.
The Legitimacy of Peaceful Protest
The AACC wishes to remind all that the cornerstone of democracy we dreamt of, that we continue to dream of and work for, is freedom of speech in Africa. The essence of democracy is that people have the right to express what they are feeling without fear. Peaceful protest is an integral part of such a democracy. Those moments where this right has been squashed remain in the collective memory of the world as a blot on the record of those countries.
Legacies of Shame
Democracies like the USA have to live with the shame of their callous response to the defenders of this right like Martin Luther King Junior. Autocracies like the Apartheid regime in the pre 1994 South Africa could afford to trample on this right as they had no place whatsoever in the roll of honour of Democracies.
Non-negotiable Democracy
Not so with Kenya. This country belongs in the roll of honour of developing Democracies. What with the gallant struggle to stand up for multi-party politics that Kenya and its people displayed to the world only five years ago? It is certainly not impossible for Kenya to find a way whereby protest action can happen peacefully without threatening the lives and property of Kenyans. For a democracy this surely is a non-negotiable!
So are the courts, the Rule of Law, a cornerstone of Democracy. As has been acknowledged the world over, courts are slow and frustrating in any country. But cases have to be filed to demonstrate a commitment to legitimacy.
Through systematic presentation of facts before courts a case is being made of the high value that democracies put to the rule of law. African democracies cannot allow themselves to be an exception to this rule however they feel about their courts. Under the courts of some of the worlds worst regimes some individual jurists have refused to be compromised. Africa should not allow a situation where some of our best jurists are tarred with the same brush as the corrupt, and are not given the opportunity to prove and demonstrate the calibre of their legal conscience.
A Defining Moment for the Continent

The world is steadfastly keeping its focus on the situation in Kenya as a point of importance in the definition of the future of Africa.

So they will keep their eyes on the process of the law in Kenya. The world will expect the human rights lawyers of Kenya to publicize in great detail and in summary what had been filed in court. The world will want to read the judgments.
Where legal processes have been subverted the world will engage their learned friends to explain themselves to the world. And indeed if we desire for Africa to be acknowledged as a respectable member of the family of nations we should welcome this. To do this is not to compromise sovereignty or to allow the world to patronize us. Rather to do so is to fortify the cause of justice and peace for generations to come in our beloved continent.
Our freedom of speech and the rule of law must be made sacrosanct. They must be trusted, and developed as the bulwark for the future of Africa. Let us see Kenya champion these for all in Africa, beginning here in Kenya.
An Urgent Call to Kenyan Leaders
In the name of Christ, in the name of Africa and in the name of the vulnerable especially those who we see scattered by this crisis everyday, we beseech you brothers and sisters in Kenya to sit down together and resolve this problem. As you debate robustly and as you continue to put pressure on each other, we will continue to pray that you are given wisdom to ensure that not another single life is lost and that Kenyan property is preserved.
Rev. Dr. H. M. Dandala
(For the All Africa Conference of Churches)
Waiyaki Way, Westlands


21st January 2008

Source: http://www.aacc-ceta.org/en/default2.asp?active_page_id=321&id=67

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