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Escalation of Killings in Kenya: A Call for Respect for Human Life

The escalating killings happening in almost every part of Kenya and other African regions is very disturbing. Most African states are known to have embraced Christian values including that of respect for the value of human life.  However, one needs to listen to our radio stations, TV-news or read a Kenyan newspaper to get a glimpse of the seriousness of the matter. There are officers killed in the Baragoi massacre, Tana Delta killings, Garissa killings or harrowing reports of death and anguish after a middle-aged man butchered eight members of his family but failed to take his own life and another killing his wife and children over food, and the list can go on and on. This is happening in a nation in which according to the 2009 census 80% of the population are Christians.

However, the impact of Christian ethics is yet to be felt, if ethics is about what or how we ought to do or not do. In a sense the current situation in Kenya, and other regions of Africa for that matter, is a call to reexamine our methodology of living out the Church’s Teaching on pertinent concepts such as the respect of human life. Admittedly, there is a challenge of living out our Christian values in Kenya. John Paul II on the document, Evangelium Vitae, on the value and inviolability of human life, states that God did not make death, and that God does not delight in the death of the living, rather God created all things – human beings included – that they might exist. Even in the midst of difficulties and uncertainties, every person, every Kenyan, sincerely open to truth and goodness can, by the light of reason and the hidden action of grace, come to recognize in the natural law written in the heart of every person the sacred value of human life from its very beginning until its end. Our nation today offers us a truly alarming spectacle, if we consider not only how extensively attacks on life are spreading but also how corruption has taken root in our society.

It would help to take concrete measures such as devoting time during Small Christian Community to discuss and reflect on such concepts as the African and Christian understanding of human life as well as identifying and erecting symbols that can help us place life over money, power, greed, or any selfish tendencies. Working with our sisters and brothers from other faiths and diverse fields to look for solutions to our common problems would help us to remain united i.e., united in attitude and to be committed in solidarity with our suffering sisters and brothers for the common good, for a peaceful Kenya.