All signs are that Pope Francis will receive a rock-star welcome as he prepares for his first visit to Africa. Millions of people across Central and East Africa are already talking about the “historic visit” to the continent, and hundreds of thousands more are expected to turn out to catch a glimpse of the pontiff when he arrives in Kenya, the first stop in his three-country tour.
Francis is scheduled to travel to Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic (CAR) – a travel itinerary that has raised eyebrows but also endeared him to the region.
Father Anthony Gichure, a theologian and Catholic Church expert based in Nairobi, told Al Jazeera the timing of Francis’ trip was important considering the high level of corruption and repeated violent attacks in the country.
“By coming [here] he can suggest to us ways and approaches to tackle these problems in a human way,” Father Gichure said. “I think he will talk about relations between Muslims and Christians relations – that terrrorists can be from any religion. … I think he will encourage us to avoid consumerism and materialism that encourages corruption.”