Welcome to Kenya, Pope Francis. I share the sentiments of millions of Catholics and many other Kenyans when I say that we have been waiting for your visit with bated breath.
We pray that your visit will be a success and that it will leave us a better people. Let me tell you a little bit about us, Kenyans. We are warm, kind, and loving. We always look forward to receiving visitors even when we have nothing to offer them.
We are innovate and creative.
I am sure you have heard about M-Pesa, the mobile phone application that we use to send and receive money, one of our greatest innovations.
I know you like watching football and support the San Lorenzo football team. I wonder if you have ever watched our world-class athletes run.
They dash like lightning and even when they finish a 42-kilometre marathon, they look as if they can run another 42 kilometres.
Your visit is timely. You could not have come at a better time.
We are experiencing some challenges. One of them is a huge monster that is determined to make most citizens of this country poor live miserable lives.
It is called corruption, which involves stealing and misuse of public resources.
I want to tell you about it because I know how you abhor poverty and how you love to speak out for the poor.
I remember you once saying that you would love a church that is poor and is for the poor.
Corruption is visiting misery on most Kenyans and as a result, the prices of essential commodities are shooting up, hospitals do not have enough medicines and equipment, and there are not enough teachers in schools.
Teachers — those who are employed are not paid much. Corruption has also made it difficult to fight terrorism.
We have another challenge, Pope Francis: In December 2007, we voted for our leaders and in January 2008, there was post-election violence.
Over 1,000 people were killed — very sad indeed — and about 350,000 people were displaced. This left us with deep wounds and harbouring hatred.
There has not been any meaningful effort to bring about healing. We are still very much divided along tribal lines.
During your visit, could you please remind our leaders to stop dividing us and remind all of us to love and forgive one another without caring about tribe, religion, race, age, gender, wealth, or poverty?
Your encyclical on the environment, Laudatio si’, is rich in content and relevant to Kenyans. Could you please remind us about the need to love and care for our environment?
SOURCE: DAILY NATION