• The Catholic bishops particularly urged the political class to portray decency and respect for others as demonstrated by the late president.
• The bishops asked the country’s leadership to learn from Kibaki and lead without habouring hatred.
Catholic bishops have called on Kenyan politicians to emulate the selflessness of the late President Mwai Kibaki and learn from his wealth of wisdom as the country enters the electioneering period.
In a message delivered on their behalf by Bishop Martin Kivuva of the diocese of Mombasa, the Catholic bishops particularly urged the political class to portray decency and respect for others as demonstrated by the late president.
“And especially we should learn from his stewardship of the resources of this country, his readiness to serve in any capacity with humility and spirit of reconciliation,” Kivuva said.
The message was delivered during Kibaki's state funeral service at the Nyayo National stadium on Friday.
The bishops asked the country’s leadership to learn from Kibaki and lead without habouring hatred towards each other.
“In honour of emulating the example of our late leader, we can call upon our leaders to demand of themselves the highest level of respect for one another,” Kivuva said.
He asked the leaders to avoid any expressions on intolerance, hatred or ethnicity.
The bishop said the late Mzee Kibaki always put the nation before personal ambitions.
This, he said, was demonstrated when he agreed to a power-sharing deal with Opposition leader Raila Odinga when the country was on the brink of collapse after the disputed 2007 general elections.
“He will be remembered for reaching out to Hon Raila Odinga in 2008 in an earlier handshake that stopped the post-election violence.”
The bishops said the late president consulted widely with the church on matters of national importance and was a man who listened more than he spoke.
They said he was humble enough to agree to the voice of reason. “Where he disagreed, it was with respect and honour.”
The bishops said so selfless was the late president that he never named any road or public institution after himself.
“Mwai Kibaki believed in the war on corruption. When he came on as president, everyone took on the war on corruption,” they said.
“He was an icon of intolerance and allowed everyone to say what they wanted to say and we all remember him saying utaongea na utalala.”