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‘Chest thumping and arrogance have destroyed many leaders’ – Legion Maria Church warns Ruto

The Legion Maria Church Bishops have expressed concern over the violent incidents that marred Tuesday, June 25, 2024 anti-Finance Bill 2024 protests in Nairobi and other parts of the country.

In a press statement issued on Wednesday, June 26, 2024, the bishops voiced their opposition to what they termed “unprecedented, unwarranted, unlawful, and inhuman” actions by the Kenyan police towards peaceful demonstrators.

The church leaders condemned the violence meted on the anti-tax protesters asserting that such behavior harkens back to darker times and stands in contrast to the values of democracy and human rights outlined in Kenya’s constitution.

“We, the Legion Maria Church Bishops, hereby declare that we are opposed to the current turn of events that were witnessed during Tuesday’s demonstrations in Nairobi and other parts of the country!” the statement read in part.

The church leaders criticized the government for neglecting the grievances of its citizens, particularly concerning the Finance Bill 2024.

They highlighted the constitutional rights of Kenyan citizens to peacefully express dissatisfaction with government policies and criticized the government’s response to the protests.

“We, therefore, stand with Kenyans who have lost their lives, got serious injuries, and/or been affected by police brutality! We strongly feel that this high-handedness by the police was unwarranted, unnecessary and uncalled for. All sovereign powers belong to the people of Kenya according to the constitution of Kenya 2010. Let all the players listen to the people of Kenya. We all know they are not asking much,” the bishops declared.

They called upon President William Ruto to heed the voices of the people and urged him to refrain from deploying military forces against civilians.

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The bishops urged for dialogue and peaceful resolution of grievances, emphasizing the sanctity of life and the importance of upholding democratic principles.

The Legion Maria bishops appealed to the youth urging restraint and peaceful protest.

They noted the need to preserve the nation amidst the current tensions and called for unity and understanding among all Kenyans.

Ruto’s speech

The bishops also expressed their displeasure with the president’s address regarding the ongoing demonstrations.

They pointed out that President Ruto failed to address the controversial Finance Bill 2024 during his speech, an issue at the heart of the protests.

The clergy also criticized him for not acknowledging the lives lost during the demonstrations.

The bishops urged the Head of State to adopt a more conciliatory approach and to pay attention to the voices of the people.

They warned that arrogance has historically led to the downfall of many leaders with promising visions for their countries.

Part of the press statement issued by Legion Maria Church bishops addressing President William Ruto and Kenyans on Wednesday, June 26, 2024. PHOTO/Screengrab by K24 Digital

“Surprisingly in his address last evening, the President mentioned nothing about the contentious Finance Bill 2024. He was not even sorry to those who lost their precious life during the demonstrations. This is a big concern for us the clergy. We ask the president to tone down and listen to his people,” the clergy stated.

Adding;

“Great leaders listen more and follow the heart of their subjects. These are the same people who elected him. Chest thumping and arrogance have destroyed many good leaders who had great visions for their nations,” the clergy stated.

Protesters turned criminals

In his address on Tuesday, June 25, 2024, Ruto claimed that the protesters were criminals pretending to be the anti-Finance Bill 2024 demonstrators.

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He further asserted that those who teargassed and shot at the protesters were an organised crime unit.

He condemned the incident and assured that Kenya’s security forces are actively working to stop any further attacks by these criminals who terrorized the protesters.

“I thank our security officers who were on duty today for applying themselves to the best of their abilities in the defence of Kenya and its people. I have directed all organs of our national security to thwart any attempt by criminals to undermine the security and stability of Kenya,” Ruto said.

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