Uhuru asks Pope for prayers to fight corruption in his government
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday evening asked for divine intervention from Pope Francis in the fight against corruption.
Six of his Cabinet Secretaries have been forced out of office over corruption related cases, as the vice threatens to become the biggest challenge to his first term.
The President welcomed his fellow head of State at the airport and at State House, where the Pope was accorded full honours, but his first request to the man Catholics call Holy Father was personal.
“In the heart of every Kenyan, we know we must win this war and it falls on me to lead it and Holy Father, I ask for your prayers as we fight this war,” said President Kenyatta.
The President said civil society, the media and various political and social leaders had made it plain that the fight against corruption must be given priority.
“Kenya’s future depends upon upholding the highest standards of integrity in governance, inclusivity and the protection of peace. Your Holiness, like you, as a nation, we want to combat the vices of corruption, which sacrifice people and our environment in the pursuit of illegal profit,” said President Kenyatta.
He said Kenyans had been divided not only by the boundaries imposed by colonialists, some of which cut communities in half, but also by selfish politicisation of ethnic and religious differences.
“Right now, priority must be dialogue between faiths and indeed between all of us and hope for developing equal understanding,” said President Kenyatta.
The President, a Catholic, also spoke of the role the church has played in Kenya in development.
“Through its dioceses, in Kenya, the church is the largest non-state provider of healthcare with nearly 500 healthcare units and over 50 community-based orphanages and programmes for vulnerable children,” he said.
He said Kenya now has more than 5,000 Catholic primary and secondary schools, five colleges and a university.
President Kenyatta also described himself as a product of a school run by the Catholics – St Mary’s School.
Recent events however appeared to weigh heavily on President Kenyatta’s mind and after discussing environmental conservation and the work of Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai, he went back to his original request.
“I close by asking that you pray for me, you pray that as I lead this nation, God will lead me and I ask you to pray for Kenya, I also ask that you pray for Kenyans and that God will hear us and indeed heal this land,” he concluded.