Thousands of Catholics from Mombasa and Machakos counties on Saturday thronged the Mombasa Municipal Stadium to witness the installation of Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde.
Head of the Catholic Church in Kenya John Cardinal Njue led the colourful ceremony, which opened with a two-and-a-half-hour Mass.
Twenty-five bishops, more than 100 priests, hundreds of nuns and thousands of faithful were in attendance.
With his adopted motto, “That all may be one” (John 17:21), Archbishop Kivuva called on Kenyans to be tolerant of one another, saying this was the only way to foster unity among communities.
“My installation as the Archbishop of Mombasa Archdiocese should herald a new chapter where we embrace each other as brothers and sisters, and yes we can,” he said.
According to the archbishop, if every Kenyan played his or her role properly, the runaway insecurity bedevilling the Coast region and the entire country would be a thing of the past.
At 12.45 p.m. the newly installed archbishop was driven around the stadium as he greeted the faithful from the sun-roof of his vehicle.
He acknowledged greetings from different parishes of the counties of Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale and Taita Taveta.
Apostolic Nuncio — representative of the Pope in Kenya — Archbishop Charles D Balvo, said that with the arrival of Archbishop Kivuva the archdiocese was ready to pick up from where the late Archbishop Boniface Lele left.
Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua received the loudest cheers and ululations when he was introduced and in his short speech he took a swipe at leaders out to derail devolution through petty politics.
“What we want to tell such leaders is that whether they like it or not the ship for eradicating poverty has already left the port and is cruising to bring development and prosperity to the Kenyan people,” Dr Mutua said.
The archbishop was born in Muthetheni, Machakos County. Speaking on the sidelines of the event, his Taita Taveta counterpart John Mruttu said the archbishop’s appointment came at a time when the country was witnessing cases of religious intolerance.
“General moral decadence and societal evil due to drug abuse and a sense of hopelessness stemming from poverty and unemployment show the enormity of the task awaiting him,” he said.