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 CNS Story:

KENYA-CONSTITUTION Mar-10-2011 (230 words) xxxi

Church launches Lenten campaign to teach Kenyans about new constitution

By Walter Cheruiyot
Catholic News Service

NAIROBI, Kenya (CNS) -- Kenya's Catholic Church has launched a Lenten education program aimed at educating Kenyans on the contents of the new constitution.

The program, organized by the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, works from a grass-roots level to educate Catholics on topics ranging from human trafficking to leadership to restorative justice and healing. A program booklet has been designed to be used for discussions in parishes' small Christian communities.

"We want Kenyans to fully understand the content of the new law rather than going by what political leaders say," said Kisumu Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth, chairman of the justice and peace commission.

Kenyans passed the new constitution in a referendum last August.

Church officials have said they helped drive the constitutional reform process although, in the end, they urged voters to reject it. They expressed concern that some of the language was too vague and could lead to the legalization of abortion and allow for the entrenchment of Islamic courts.

In an introduction to the Lenten discussion book, Archbishop Okoth said Catholics should "focus on the positive aspects of the constitution and see to it that it is implemented in a way that it promotes life, equality and dignity" of all Kenyans.

Mutula Kilonzo, Kenyan minister for justice and constitutional issues, told Catholic News Service that the new law would be fully effective after the 2012 general elections.


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