Kirk repeats call for end to bloodshed in Kenya

|PIC1|The Church of Scotland again added its voice to those of religious leaders in Kenya in calling for an end to the violence and bloodshed which erupted in the aftermath of the disputed December 27 presidential election.

Speaking on Thursday, World Mission Council Convener the Rev Colin Renwick said: "We have been deeply shaken to hear from our Kenya partner, the 3-million strong Presbyterian Church of East Africa, of the devastating impact it has suffered over the past three weeks.

"When they share with us their stories of a minister's wife burned to death in the manse, of a church elder being murdered by an angry mob, it brings home to us the tragic reality of the current situation.

"The Church has had to close three Presbyteries because all the church members have fled from those areas."

Renwick backed the call of the Inter-Religious Forum in Kenya for a review and closure of the 2007 General Elections to be carried out by a task force established by the Inter-Religious Forum and completed within one month.

He also came out in support of the forum's call for the establishment of a truth, justice and reconciliation commission to address the issues underlying the conflict sparked by the election, including ethnic, economic, social and justice concerns.

The forum previously urged the Kenyan Government and opposition to make an immediate commitment to resolve their differences through mediation and dialogue, and to jointly condemn violence and sincerely work for the peace of the country.

Renwick commented, "The message we are hearing from Kenya is that people are fast losing patience with their politicians. We believe that the call from the faith leaders gives them a wake-up call which can turn the situation around."

Asked whether the Kirk can do anything to assist with the humanitarian catastrophe, he responded: "Presbyteries, congregations and individual church members throughout Kenya are giving sacrificially to contribute funds and other resources to the Church's relief efforts.

"The Church of Scotland has joined this remarkable effort by making an emergency grant of £40,000 to the Presbyterian Church in Kenya. This will be used to provide basic necessities for people who have had to flee their homes and who are taking refuge in churches and police stations."