From the Worldwide Faith News archives

AACC WCC's Kobia says Kenya and world are prisoners of fear

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Mon, 12 Apr 2004 14:00:59 -0700

All Africa Conference of Churches
Information and Communication Desk
P. O. Box 14205
00800 Westlands
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: 254 - 020 - 4441483 / 4441338/9
Fax: 254 - 020 - 4443241, 4445835
Kenyans and the World are prisoners of fear

By Mitch Odero

The General Secretary of the Geneva based World Council of Churches, Rev. 
Dr. Sam Kobia, said today that Kenyans and the International Community have 
become prisoners of fear.

Delivering an Easter Sunday sermon at the Lavington United Church, Nairobi, 
Kenya, Rev. Kobia said, while the international community were hostages of 
the fear of terrorism, Kenyans were victims of fear of uncertainties 
threatening to wreck their nation's political stability.

Rev. Kobia is the first African to be appointed to the substantive position 
of WCC since its founding over 50 years ago.  He is making his official 
visit to Kenya and Rwanda.

"Today, humanity has become a hostage of fear", he said, noting that in the 
North, the Middle East and some parts of Asia, people fear to travel having 
become more security conscious than ever before in the history of the human 

Rev. Kobia recalled that wars in the past were easier to determine as to 
their start, the combatants and the end.  "Victims of today's violence are 
more of civilians, particularly women and children".

Noting that weapons of mass destruction particularly nuclear proliferation 
were causing even greater fear.  The WCC General Secretary called for 
global nuclear disarmament to help make the world a safer place.

"Today we are living a broken world.  A world where violence has reached 
most threatening proportions", he observed.

Turning to Kenya, Rev. Kobia, a Kenyan himself, said, within the few days 
since his arrival in Kenya he has noted that there was fear that the 
present government "might disintegrate".

He pointed out that "majority of Kenyans would want the government which 
came to power on December 27, 2002 after peaceful democratic elections, to 
hold together and to succeed".

"After all these years of investment in democratization process, we seemed 
at last to have succeeded in a government that is most promising and with a 
lot of potential.  Then we now see signs of instability, courtesy of 
endless wrangling among those who should instead be working together for 
the good of the country".

Rev. Kobia told his congregation which included the Minister for Water 
Development, Hon. Martha Karua and the former Member of Parliament, Mr 
Gitobu Imanyara, that he had also noted a fear that the constitutional 
review process may not work well.

"Kenyans always wanted a leadership they could trust with the affairs of 
governing this country.  They got it, but suddenly, they are afraid of what 
might happen if internal squabbles continued to intensify to a point things 
fall apart.

Rev. Kobia, a former General Secretary of National Council of Churches of 
Kenya (NCCK) advised that "the greatest service the politicians can render 
to Kenyans today is to stop the wrangling, get their act together and get 
down to implementing their campaign

promises to the benefit of all Kenyans".  Equally so, he urged Kenyan 
politicians "to refrain from their self-serving enterprises".

The message of Easter, he noted, was therefore most relevant today.  As 
Easter marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ, it is equally remembered 
that Jesus conquered death and fear.

Recalling Jesus' assuring words after resurrection, "be not afraid, you 
have nothing to fear", he noted that the words were not just empowering 
"Easter faith" but also consolidated "freedom from fear".  Rev. Kobia 
described fear as a great curse.

The irony of fear, he noted, is that it tended to galvanise people and 
define relationships such as patients and their doctors, lawyers and their 

Meanwhile, Kianjai villagers in Meru District, some 200 kilometres east of 
Nairobi, burst into ululations and prayers when they received their son, 
Rev. Kobia last Saturday, April 10, 2004.

Rev. Kobia visited his home to make the 100th day since he took over office 
as General Secretary of WCC.

"I felt as I started my official visits (to the world), I should go back to 
my roots and receive blessing from my parents", the Chief Executive of a 
global ecumenical organization commented.

Women sung, children recited poems all in the spirit of celebrations of a 
unique achievement by one of their own.

The same spirit prevailed at the Church today which had for 10 years been 
Rev. Kobia's church.  "Being re-united with my congregation is simply 
empowering and energizing", Rev. Kobia commented at the end of the service, 
which was presided by the Kenyan Methodist Presiding Bishop Kanyaru.

In attendance included the President of All Africa Conference of Churches, 
Rt. Rev. Dr. Nyansako-Ni-Nku, General Secretary of All Africa Conference of 
Churches, Rev. Dr. Mvume Dandala, WCC President for Africa, Dr Agnes Abuom 
and WCC Africa Secretary, Rev. Andre Karamaga.

For the full sermon, visit AACC website,, and click vital 

For further information, contact:

Mitch Odero
AACC Communication and
Advocacy Programme

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