The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby joined Kenyan Anglicans yesterday in a service to mark the culmination of All Saints Cathedral’s first centenary celebrations.
The cathedral acts as the headquarters of the Anglican Province in Kenya as well as a diocese of the Anglican Church in Kenya.
Speaking during a service, Welby explained that there is a need in Kenya for structures to give the country the capacity to deal with challenges that bring divisions such as the recent presidential election.
I am not calling for mediation but for the steady and long term work of building structures of reconciliation. The capacity to deal with the nation’s challenges in a way that brings peace in the future even when there are deep disagreements.
The Archbishop added that Kenya has been a model of a peaceful country in the region, and stressed that this should be maintained.
Since independence, Kenya has been a model for Africa, yes with problems and trials but for the most part, keeping the peace. We need an example of reconciliation, not only in this country, but in the region of which it is the leader.
Both President Uhuru Kenyatta and his presidential rival Raila Odinga were present for the service, marking the first time they were appearing together following the repeat poll. The Archbishop recently met Mr Odinga in the Windsor Suite at Heathrow Airport to discuss the the political situation in Kenya, after the NASA leader withdrew from the Presidential race.
Reconciliation is not mediation or arbitration, or trickery and abandoning principle, it is the transformation of violent and destructive conflict into lives in which disagreements are still there but dealt with peaceful for the common good.
Mr Welby also said a prayer for President Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto.
Almighty God, we pray for our President-elect, his Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, the Deputy President-elect, the Cabinet Ministers and all those who hold leadership positions in our country.
Grant our President great wisdom as he leads this nation at a time when we are faced with many challenges that threaten our unity as a nation. Guide him in your righteousness so that we may be governed in a way that promotes peace and justice.
This is the second time this year that Archbishop Welby has visited Kenya, having previously been in the country in February at the beginning of the celebrations to mark the church’s 100th anniversary.