Pope Francis Starts his First Visit to Africa in Kenya

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NAIROBI (HAN) November 26, 2015 – Public Diplomacy and Regional Stability Initiatives News. Pope Francis, Head of the Roman Catholic Church landed in Kenya on Wednesday afternoon (November 25) and was received by President Kenyatta, First Lady Margaret, Deputy President William Ruto and Cardinal John Njue.

The visit to Kenya is the first stop in a trip that includes Uganda and the Central African Republic. During his two day visit Nairobi is expected to see more than a million people visiting the city. Thursday has been declared a public holiday and the Pope will be celebrating an open-air Mass at the University of Nairobi.

Following his arrival the Pope urged Kenya’s leaders to work with “transparency” to ensure a fair distribution of national resources. He said, “I encourage you to work with integrity and transparency for the common good, and to foster a spirit of solidarity at every level of society.” Pope Francis also emphasized the need to address poverty as a key driver of conflict.

He said, “Experience shows that violence, conflict and terrorism feed on fear, mistrust, and the despair born of poverty and frustration. Ultimately, the struggle against these enemies of peace and prosperity must be carried on by men and women who fearlessly believe in, and bear honest witness to, the great spiritual and political values which inspired the birth of the nation.” Following a meeting he had with the Pope, President Kenyatta, himself a Catholic, asked the Pope to pray for the country which is facing challenges particularly over the issue of corruption.

He said “Civil society, media and leaders from across our political social spectrum have come together and made their views known and in the hearts of every Kenyan we know that we must win this war…it is up to me to lead it and Holy Father, I ask for your prayer.” Noting that country must set the highest levels of integrity, inclusivity and peace if the country was to grow, he said, it was time for Kenya to heal and move forward towards progress.

The President reiterated the government’s commitment to fighting corruption and said “We want to combat vices of corruption which sacrifice people and our environment in pursuit of illegal profit and misdirects resources, sows hatred and divides the people.” MFA


 

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