(Most Rev. Justin Welby, Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Bishop Ole Sapir at a closed door meeting in Nairobi today)
In a meeting that was held by former prime minister of Kenya Raila Odinga this morning with the Most Rev. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Head of the Anglican Church in Kenya Bishop Jackson ole Sapit and other senior ACK clergy, the Anglican church leadership declared their unwavering support for Building Bridges Initiative, BBI.
The visiting Archbishop of Canterbury described the BBI report as “a remarkable document that can be used to “change the ethos and culture of the country.”
The leaders met this morning to discuss the political environment in the country, with particular focus on the Building Bridges Initiative and the working relationship between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr. Odinga.
The top Anglican leaders described the “handshake” between President Kenyatta and Mr. Odinga, which gave birth to the BBI as “real statesmanship” with a “powerful transformational force.”
“A year before the 2017 elections, I had told the President that this country would be much better the day he and Mr. Odinga step back and agree to work together. It was the wish of the Anglican Church that the two work together. As a Church, we thank God that our prayers were answered and we remain convinced that posterity will remember the two positively,” bishop Sapit said.
Mr. Odinga briefed the church leaders on the journey to the working relationship with the President, the setting up of the BBI team and the on-going steps to involve more people in the preparation of the final document.
They discussed how to work with the church to help provide public education on the report in a non-partisan, non-political way.
Archbishop Welby noted that the bulk of the BBI report focuses on addressing socio-economic inequality as the source of the tensions and anger experienced in the country and appealed to Kenyans not to lose focus of those.
“There has been some focus on positions being created but we see that as part of the wider effort to create opportunity for more communities to come to the negotiating table and deal with imbalances,” the Archbishop said.
He asked the country’s leadership to establish ways that will enable the church to take up the role of highlighting the good things in the document.
He praised the country for embarking on the harder but more reliable way of uniting a country which is to create its identity.
“The BBI takes this positive route. The country should feel proud of what it has achieved,” Mr. Welby said.
He is set to meet other leaders on different matters.