RELIGIOUS LEADERS IN WEST POKOT UNITE FOR PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE AND SOCIAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
The 4th of December 2015 will be remembered as a historic day for Religious Leaders and the general public in West Pokot County. Hundreds of County residents and the County Government leadership joined the Religious Leaders fraternity at Chelanga Gardens in Makutano Town to launch West Pokot Interfaith Network. This was a culmination of two years of planning and hard work. It was the first public event jointly organised by Religious Leaders from the main faith communities in the area.
Procession of religious leaders and members of the public to the launch venue
The interfaith network consists of representatives of the local chapters of Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Council of Churches of Kenya, Seventh Day Adventists Church, Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims, Organisation of African Instituted Churches and Evangelical Alliance of Kenya drawn from the County’s four constancies.
The event was graced by the presence of Deputy Governor Hon. Titus Lotee as guest of honour, the Deputy County Commissioner and Dr. Francis Kuria Executive Director of the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya. Some of the senior Religious Leaders present at the function include Bishop Abraham Merikau (EAK), Bishop Joseph Murpus (NCCK), Apostle Raisti Meskina (OAIC), Sheikh Abdi Kibwana Sakwa (NAMLEF), Rev. Joseph Okech (NCCK) and Pastor Joseph Parklea (SDA). Dozens of religious leaders, representatives of civil society organisations, county government staff and hundreds of county residents turned up for the occasion.
Participants were treated to loads of entertainment by SDA Makutano Church Choir, Salvation Army Band and Roho Mafuta pole choir. Representatives of various faith communities addressed the gathering underlining the importance of strengthening interfaith relations in the area. They underscored the importance of engaging through the interfaith platform as a reliable forum for discussing issues of shared concern. The leaders presented a memorandum to the county government highlighting critical issues for consideration in health, education and security sectors.
The IRCK Executive Director explained that unity among Kenyans will only be achieved when we start thinking of ourselves as one. He noted that county government should not only rely on resources available within their borders. He encouraged the county to embrace cross boarder engagement as it is healthy for overall growth and wellbeing of all.
The Deputy Governor Hon. Titus Lotee said the leadership of the County Government recognises the importance and role of the interfaith body in the County and committed to give its members the necessary support. He noted that interfaith dialogue is a concept which could not have been imagined sometime back in the area. He thanked and appreciated the effort that had been put in forming the interfaith.
Dr. Francis Kuria handing over copies of IFN certificate and constitution to Sheikh Yussuf Morita the IFN chairman.
Dr. Kuria handed over the network’s certificate and two copies of its constitution to the chairman Sheikh Yussuf Morita in the presence of the executive committee and full council. Finally, with Hon. Lotee’s assistance the network’s members cut a cake to mark the official launch of the network.
Dr. Francis Kuria (right) and H.E Titus Lotee (left) cutting a cake to signify the launch of West Pokot IFN in the presence of IFN members