Monday 11 August 2008

Media blackout as Kenyan Head of State rules out legalised abortion

A statement last weekend by President Mwai Kibaki ruling out legalized abortion was virtually ignored by the Kenyan media. He was speaking at the installation of a new bishop in eastern Nigeria.

I heard this news over the phone today from Dr Stephen Karanja, a retired consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, and former secretary of the Kenya Medical Association. He told me: “Last Saturday, 9th August, Bishop Anthony Muheria, was installed as the Bishop of Kitui, in eastern Kenya, in a ceremony at the Kitui High School grounds.

“The installation was graced by the presence of Mwai Kibaki, the President of Kenya, two ministers, and at least five members of the Kenyan Parliament.

“During the inauguration, His Eminence John Cardinal Njue addressed all men and women of goodwill about the position of the church on the draft Reproductive Health and Rights Bill. This bill was publicly launched last month but has not yet been introduced to the Kenyan Parliament.

“The Cardinal said that the Bill was unacceptable. It was an affront to humanity of everybody and, especially, to the integrity of the human being.

“Cardinal Njue said that a country [is going mad] if it starts killing its youth – because in children the country has the seed for its future. He said that if any government, including President Kibaki’s government, were to enact such a law, they would be acting against the people of Kenya.

“Mwai Kibaki, the President of Kenya, responded to the Cardinal’s comments. He said he saw no reason, now, or in the future, why anyone would want to legalize abortion in Kenya.”

Mutula Kilonzo, Minister for Nairobi Metropolitan Development, also spoke the draft Bill, saying that, if it reached Parliament, he would marshal the parliamentary forces to shoot the bill down.

The installation ceremony was conducted by the papal nuncio, Bishop Allan Paul Lebeaupin.

Earlier last week, Cardinal Njue said of those promoting the draft Reproductive Health and Rights Bill, that they are “slaves of foreign ideologies and policies that are devoid of Christianity.” He said that life begins after conception and was sacred and “so nobody has authority to terminate it” and called on Christian parliamentarians to reject the proposed draft bill.