Clergy, Red Cross Challenged to Join Fight Against  GBV

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The clergy within Mt. Elgon region have been called upon to uphold professionalism and the teachings of the holy book since they are role models in society.

This was emphasised during an interdenominational meeting of church leaders sponsored by the Kenya Red Cross Bungoma with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Finland at Kapsokwony.

Speaking in the forum, Elly Mneria, chairperson of the Mt. Elgon Union of Pastors, challenged the church leaders to live an exemplary life that should be worth emulating and to also work collaboratively with the police department to uphold law and order in their areas of jurisdiction.

“Our work as pastors is purely a calling, and not like any other professionals, everyone in society looks up to us, from children to the national government. We therefore should not hide vices amongst us but ensure justice is served to the victims we come across in our line of duty,” advised Mneria.

Pastor Davis Chemo from Kapsokwony also observed that some pastors are in the industry not for their true calling but for money-making, hence tarnishing their name.

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“It is undeniably sad that some of us are promoters of gender-based violence right from our homes, so it becomes difficult to preach peace in the pulpit while things are different back at home,” bemoaned Chemo.

He further reiterated that marriage is a critical, delicate, and vital unit of society that should be carefully handled by incessantly holding rallies and talks amongst couples at all levels in churches.

Dr. Sikuku Kwenyi, a clinical officer at Mt. Elgon Sub County Hospital, also admonished that sexual violence be tackled right from Sunday school since many children under the age of 5 face defilement but are innocent.

“Teaching the 2–3-year-old children about their bodies and cautioning them not to allow strangers to touch their private parts will in a great way curb defilement cases, especially those witnessed among such innocent beings,” commended Dr. Kwanyi.

Counselling to Tame GBV

Vincent Morara, Deputy OCS Kapsokwony Police Station, also recommended that pastors should counsel couples more on physical, psychological, and economic violence, especially before and in marriages.

“Enlighten the residents on gender rule, which is mostly emphasised in political scenarios, but we forget that women face economic violence, notably among the Sabaot community, which is patriarchal,” noted Morara.

Peter Matundura, Assistant County Commissioner, Mt. Elgon, also accentuated the role of education, calling upon the clergy to be at the forefront of enlightening society in matters of education, especially among teenage mothers.

“Education is the only equaliser that will save us from being marginalised; having qualified candidates will put us on the map because we’ll be able to fill the vacancies advertised at all levels,” reiterated Matundura.

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