(the STAR) — Pope Francis has condemned ‘faceless private developers’ saying he is aware that they “even attempt to appropriate the playgrounds of your children’s schools”.
“These are wounds inflicted by minorities who cling to power and wealth”, he said, noting God gave the earth for the sustenance of all humans, without exclusion or favouritism.
“The minorities selfishly squander while a growing majority is forced to flee to abandoned, filthy and run-down peripheries,” he said during Mass at St John the Worker Catholic Church in Kangemi on Friday.
“We see the unjust distribution of land (if not in this neighbourhood, certainly in others) which leads in many cases to entire families having to pay excessive and unfair rents for utterly unfit housing.”
The Pope said the vice has resulted in other problems including lack of access to infrastructure and basic services such as schools, roads, hospitals and workshops for artists and craftsmen.
He also decried the lack of electricity, toilets, recreational and sport centres, sewers, drains, studios and refuse collection services.
The Pope made the remarks on the last day of his tour of Kenya.
Land woes have left schools rioting and the public raising complaints against public officials and authorities.
Notable land scandal includes the Weston hotel and Langata Road Primary School, where pupils were teargassed by police during a protest. The hotel linked to Deputy President William Ruto has denied grabbing the school’s playground.
Francis said to deny a family water, under any bureaucratic pretext whatsoever, “is a great injustice, especially when one profits from this need”.
“I ask God that the authorities may embark, together with you, upon the path of social inclusion, education, sport, community action, and the protection of families, for this is the only guarantee of peace,” he said.
“This situation of indifference by poor neighbourhoods is aggravated when violence spreads and criminal organizations, serving economic or political interests, use children and young people as “canon fodder” for their ruthless business affairs.”
The Pope proposed renewed attention to urban integration, as opposed to elimination, paternalism, indifference or mere containment.
He said solid initiatives must be implemented, as opposed to the mere” proclamation pfo rights.
Francis asked Christians, pastors in particular, “to renew their missionary zeal” and respond to injustice by helping others with their problems and protecting all the yields of societal efforts.