Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Hoping peace calls are heeded

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CHRISTIANS have just celebrated Easter and recently elected Roman Catholic Pope Francis delivered a plea for peace, particularly in the Middle East, in his first Easter message to the world in St Peter’s Square.
The pope also expressed his desire for a “spirit of reconciliation” on the Korean peninsula, where the North declared it has entered “a state of war” with the South. He also condemned warfare and terrorism in Africa and “the 21st century’s most extensive form of slavery: human trafficking”.
We are heartened by Pope Francis’ stance on the Catholic Church’s mission and his strong desire for change. We sincerely hope his efforts would not be stymied by the rigidity of papal bureaucracy.
In the case of Africa, we are also heartened by the level of maturity shown by leaders in Kenya following the ruling by the Supreme Court upholding the victory of Uhuru Kenyatta with respect to the election petition filed by defeated candidate Raila Odinga.  
It is indeed a triumph for democracy and we hope that now that Kenya’s Supreme Court has ruled, the country can move on. It cannot continue being stymied forever by the politics of “what if”, as the people have spoken, though not convincingly; much like Barbados.
As in every contest, there are winners and losers. But as Kenya’s The Standard newspaper editorial recently noted, the unanimous decision of the court clearly indicates that the winner is indeed the Republic of Kenya and Kenyans.
In the spirit of comity and kinship we too would urge Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, to start their five-year tenure on the premise of healing and uniting the country.
It is with profound relief that Odinga has said he would abide by the court’s decision and seek peaceful ways to end the row over poll results.
The defeated candidate said he accepted the judgement because he wanted to avoid bloodshed as happened after the 2007 vote, which led to Kenyatta’s indictment by the International Criminal Court.
As we congratulate Kenyans, yet another African republic has been hit by a powerful rebellion – landlocked Central African Republic, a former French colony, whose capital Bangui has been taken over by rebels, causing the country’s president, François Bozizé, to flee.
Unfortunately, France has again sent troops there to stabilize the potentially explosive situation, following its recent intervention in Mali to save the West African nation from a rampant militancy.
We are seeing a new adventurism by France in its former colonies to protect its citizens and its uranium investments in neighbouring Niger, but we are fearful that without diplomacy, the continent’s mess will not be resolved in a hurry.

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