Major Kenyan churches starkly accused their government Monday of responsibility for grenade attacks that killed six people and injured almost 80 at a religious cum political rally on Sunday.
Three successive grenades shocked the thousands of Kenyans who had flocked to downtown Nairobi's Uhuru Park to pray against a proposed draft constitution that has sharply divided the East African nation.
President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga have strongly advocated for the current draft, hoping an August 4 referendum will put an end to a constitutional revision process that has stretched out for decades.
Most church leaders have teamed up with opposition politicians, insisting the current draft is faulty and should not be passed without amendments. These clergy, who represent nearly all of the major mainline, evangelical, Pentecostal, Anglican and Catholic churches, have been particularly irked by the proposal to permit Islamic courts and expand the list of who is able to approve life-saving abortions.
In the looming referendum, voters have been asked to simply say yes or no to the proposed constitution; thus the two words have become quite popular in Kenya. Supporters of the current draft have marched the country clad in green shirts, while opponents have made their own public displays of strength clad in red. Most church leaders have told their congregations to vote no, though a few clergy have rebelled and told their congregations to vote their conscience, as have Seventh-day Adventist churches.
These campaigns had been passionate but peaceful until Sunday's attack, which most likely will be a game changer. As top government officials visited the crime scene, comforted the injured in hospitals, and called for calm, church ...