Pope Francis has called for ethnic and religious reconciliation after arriving in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, at the start of his landmark three-nation Africa trip. In what is his first official trip to the continent, the pope called all Kenyans on Wednesday to work for peace and forgiveness and warned of the need to address poverty as a key driver of conflict. “Experience shows that violence, conflict and terrorism feed on fear, mistrust, and the despair born of poverty and frustration,” Francis said in Nairobi.
“To the extent that our societies experience divisions, whether ethnic, religious or economic, all men and women of good will are called to work for reconciliation and peace, forgiveness and healing,” he added. “Ultimately, the struggle against these enemies of peace and prosperity must be carried on by men and women who fearlessly believe in, and bear honest witness to, the great spiritual and political values which inspired the birth of the nation.”
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and a group of traditional dancers and singers welcomed Francis upon arrival at Nairobi’s airport, at the beginning of a six-day tour that will also take him to Uganda and the Central African Republic, a country hit by ongoing Muslim-Christian violence and instability.