The Diocesan Justice and Peace Commission was established in 1992 and mandated to deal with civic related issues, create awareness through seminars and workshop both at Diocesan and at parish level through the Social teachings of the church. The commission has a chairman who is the Bishop, an Executive secretary and an officer who is the secretary as well as the project officer. The Commission has a structure that flows from the Diocese – Deanery – parishes – Local churches – small Christian communities (SCC). It has established parish commissions, which are intensively trained on relevant civic issues who sensitize the other members of the community in their parishes thus enabling easy reach of the persons at the grassroots. The office operates within the five (5) deaneries and 39 parishes of the Diocese. It has personnel which are three (3) persons; Coordinator/Executive Secretary, Program Officer, Secretary and five (5) Deanery Coordinators.
The Catholic Church proclaims that human life is Sacred and that the dignity of every human person is at the core of a moral vision for any society. Our belief in the sanctity of human life and the inherent dignity of the human person is the foundation of all the principles of social teachings.
If human rights and responsibilities are met, then human dignity can be protected leading to a healthy community.
Therefore, every person has a fundamental right to life and a right to those things required for human decency. Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities for all.
All people have a right to participate in the economic, political , spiritual and cultural life in the society. It is wrong for an individual or a group to be excluded unfairly in participating towards the improvement of the society since all human beings are equal and created in the image of God.
St. John Paul II said, ‘Peace is not just the absence of war, but involves mutual respect and confidence between peoples and nations in collaboration and building agreement’. Peace is the fruit of justice and depend upon order among human beings. The Catholic social teaching therefore, promotes peace as a positive action.
In the Catholic Diocese of Murang’a, the Commission was started in 1992.
Since its creation CJPC has been involved individually or in collaboration with other organizations with similar objectives in promoting issues of Justice and Peace.
Justice and Peace is concern with any occurrence involving an injustice affecting a community or disadvantages individuals within a community, disaster, or any other event that threatens human life.
To create space and awareness for those who are under privileged in our community. To be the voice of the voiceless. It focuses on fairness and justice for all which should be emulated in love of neighbor, protecting every person’s rights and their property.
Lk 4:14-19. ‘The spirit of the Lord is upon me. He has sent me to free the captives and proclaim the year of the Lord.’ Make justice and peace flow among all members of the community.
a) Transforming every individual person’s heart through training as it is an arm of evangelization.
b) To have a deeper understanding of Catholic social teachings.
c) To inculcate to every individual the aspect of being your neighbor’s keeper.
d) To sensitize the community on civil matters.
e) To assist the needy through acts of charity.
f) Enhancing justice and peace among people through mediation and arbitration.
g) Creating awareness on certain issues of governance, penalties and implications as enshrined in the Kenyan constitution.
Justice and Peace is concerned with:
Any major problem that has won the public attention or interest at the particular level (small Christian community, parish, Deanery and Diocese)
Any events that threatens human life and has caused concern at all levels.
Issues concerning of human right violation.
The mandate of CJPC is:
To awaken God’s people to a full understanding of Justice and Peace issues in the world, in light of Gospel and of the social teachings of the church (art.142), raise their awareness on the part they should play in addressing these problems and attend the people to their Duties in development, human advancement, peace and human rights. Maintains that every person should have access to resources, benefits and services necessary for a life lived with dignity.
Sent to set the captives free and give dignity to the oppressed.
To create a society that is free from all forms of injustices and promotes peace through the social teachings of the church
The commission’s role is:-
Capacity building through training
Monitoring and evaluation on all programs in place
Peace building activities
Advocacy and lobbying
Lenten campaign activities
Civic education on general election which includes
Mobilizing voter registration
Monitoring the elections
Advisory role to the candidate on peace matters
Participation to the meetings
Networking with the government and other relevant bodies i.e. legal bodies
The commission has been engaged in the following activities:
This is empowering the community with knowledge.
This is a major activity of the commission which entails trainings through seminars and workshops in our parishes with the inclusion of the other denominations and Muslims where applicable.
Empowering the community on basic knowledge of legal issues.
Empowering men, women and youth on their rights.
Empowering them on environment conservation and maintenance.
We advocate on issues affecting the public by creating public awareness and seeking policy changes. It will use the available channels such as the media.
We create an action alert through it’s own network and where necessary seek solidarity from it’s own and other networks. This may involve letters or statements
We Lobby for change of policy and other issues affecting the public
We Prepare Lenten campaign materials train the Christians and distribute the materials. Funds raised are meant to assist in the commission in the justice and peace issues.
CJPC offers legal support to victims of injustice which may include giving advice, financial support access to lawyers, medical treatment and linkages with other organizations
Raise awareness among those affected that they have a right of representation and legal redress
Intervention in cases of injustice including corruption, embezzlement of public resources and harassment by government organs such as the police and provincial administration
Interventions on human rights violations. This involves advisory services, providing or contributing towards legal support, investigations, monitoring, and documentation and determining course of action.
We raise funds both locally and externally. We develop proposals for purposes of civic education and other Justice related issues.
f) Peace Building
The commission advocates for the promotion of peace at any given time hence ensures that people are empowered to live in peace and harmony through different peace building activities and engagement at different levels.
We recognize that networking contributes towards strengthening advocacy and lobbying particularly on national issues. We seek network and corroboration with organizations which are like minded to enhance better working.
On – Going Events
Seminars and workshops on devolution, marriage act, land and succession act and human rights.
Jesus Christ Our liberator.
Courage, perseverance, honesty, kindness, love, humility, wisdom and purity.
NB: The main work of CJPC is Civic Education, Election observation and deals also with Lenten campaign materials. It acts as a whistle blower when rights of an individual or a group are violated, but it is not an activist or a lobbyist group.