Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde of Mombasa urged Kenyans to accept the Supreme Court ruling upholding the election of Deputy President William Ruto as president.
"It was a very closely contested election. We can say half of the people are happy, while another half are not satisfied," Archbishop Musonde told Catholic News Service Sept. 6. "But since this cannot change now, we urge them to accept the outcome."
The archbishop, chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, told CNS that "accepting the outcome is much better than protesting in the streets. Fighting, burning or destroying property will not help our country."
Earlier, Archbishop Musonde told a news conference that the active and peaceful participation in the general elections was a show of democratic maturity in Kenya.
"Your commitment to peace and national cohesion is commendable," said the archbishop, while urging the people to focus energies on holding new leaders accountable so that they can deliver justice and implement strategic plans.
On Sept. 5, Kenya's Supreme Court ruled that Ruto, 55, was properly elected in the Aug. 9 polls. The judges threw out petitions by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, his main challenger, and others who had sought the win's nullification because of alleged fraud.
Archbishop Musonde has been chairing the loose grouping of religious leaders known as the Dialogue Reference Group. The group has been pushing for peaceful elections, and the archbishop told CNS the group's push for prayer paid off.
"When I walked to the area of voting, I could see the people were not tense, they were peaceful, they were doing things together and had continued to work together," he said.
The archbishop urged the new government to focus on tackling the drought currently facing the country.
"There are no rains, and the relief food which is being distributed causes dependency. Let's look for ways by which we get food. We all work together," he said.
He also urged the government to tackle the country's confusion over a new basic curriculum.
Outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta has pledged a smooth handover of power to Ruto, who will be sworn in as the country's fifth president Sept. 13.