Kenyan churches blame govt for blast at rally
Nairobi: The National Council of Churches has accused Kenya`s government of involvement in a grenade attack on a rally against a draft constitution that would allow abortions in life-threatening pregnancies and recognise Islamic courts.
The accusation yesterday over Sunday evening`s attack, which killed six people, could set a contentious tone between the groups supporting and opposing the draft constitution, which the country votes on August 04. Political analysts said leaders of the groups needed to tamp down emotions or violence could flare.
The August referendum will be the first nationwide vote since Kenya`s 2007 Presidential Election, which saw more than 1,000 people killed following days of rampaging violence after the contentious vote.
Political leaders yesterday tried to separate the blasts, which the police said were caused by grenades, from the political issues around the referendum. Prime Minister Raila Odinga said the attack was an "isolated case”. But the National Council of Churches blamed the attack on the government and supporters of the draft constitution.
"Having been informed over and over that the passage of the new constitution during the referendum is a government project, we are left in no doubt that the government, either directly or indirectly, had a hand in this attack. Who else in this country holds explosive devices?" said a statement by the council and 14 other churches and groups.
President Mwai Kibaki said in a statement that Kenyans need to "embrace tolerance and accommodation, regardless of each other`s views”. The government appealed for calm and to avoid speculation on the attacks.