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Listen to the people: Clergy appeal to government

Catholic bishops have warned the government not to live in denial amid the growing anti-tax revolt in the country.

Chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), Archbishop Maurice Muhatia, expressed concern that the street protests led by Generation Z could spiral out of control and cause political instability.

While stressing the importance of paying taxes, the clergy faulted the 2024 Finance Bill for failing to address the needs and aspirations of the majority of Kenyans.

“The issues raised do not only affect Gen Z but other Kenyans as well. As KCCB, we have submitted our views in writing. We have serious concerns and we think it should not be passed in its current form,” Archbishop Muhatia said on Sunday while presiding over a mass at Our Lady Queen of Peace Muhoroni Parish.

The archbishop also warned security agents against using excessive force against peaceful demonstrators exercising their right to picket.

Citing Article 37 of the Constitution, he pointed out that Kenyans have the right to peacefully and unarmed protest, demonstrate, picket and petition.

However, he said: ‘The streets are not the best place for our young people to be. President William Ruto should see wisdom and take them off the streets by addressing their concerns.

Apart from the controversial Finance Bill, Archbishop Muhatia called on the country’s leaders to look into the welfare of the young generation who make up the majority of the country’s population.

While calling on the young protesters to stay the course, he urged them not to fall into the temptation of illegality.

“Don’t allow yourselves to be infiltrated by people who have ulterior motives and want to cause chaos,” he said.

Archbishop Muhatia, however, discouraged both politicians and the youth from turning churches into podiums to make political statements.
“Don’t heckle your leaders in churches. Two wrongs don’t make a right,” he pleaded.

As the Catholic Church, we have called on parish leaders to ensure that places of worship are respected.

“This doesn’t mean that we prevent anyone from attending our services, but let’s respect the sanctity of the pulpit,” he said.