We start in Kenya where the papers are all about the grandiose reception granted to Pope Francis on his arrival in the country on Wednesday at the start of a maiden 5-day African tour.
It was a Kenyan style reception reports Standard Digital complete with tribal dance troupes representing all of the country’s ethnic groups and a very warm State House reception from President Uhuru Kenyatta who invited two of his predecessors Daniel arap Moi and Mwai Kibaki, to join the welcome party.
As the Pope prepares to celebrate a High mass at Nairobi University, before meetings with ordinary people in Kangemi and street children in Kasarani, Daily Nation pays tribute to the Pontiff for bringing love and blessings to Kenya.
According to the newspaper, he got a rare request from President Kenyatta who sought special prayers to help him deal with corruption in the country.
Standard Digital reports that even before he uttered a single word the Pope had a vital lesson on humility and modesty for the majority of Kenyan leaders, who live life in the fast lane. It underlines that the Pope whose office operates on an annual budget of Sh 32.6 billion, ‘295 million Euros) rode from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in a rather simple car – the South African assembled Honda Ballade.
That according to the newspaper was as opposed to his hosts and senior government officials chauffeured in a large motorcade comprising top-of-the-range vehicles such as Mercedes-Benz limousines, Toyota Land Cruisers and Range Rovers; all bought, maintained and fuelled by Kenyan taxpayers.
Daily Nation publishes excerpts of a warm-hearted exchange he had with journalists travelling with him.
According to the paper, as the plane flew over Egypt, Francis walked down from the First class for a chat with reporters, one of them asking him whether he feared for his safety, now that some people are targeting Christians in Africa.
“There are good and bad people” responded the Pope, adding that the only thing he worried about are mosquitoes.”
One of the highpoints of the Pope’s stay in Kenya will be a visit to the UN Environment Programme headquarters in Nairobi just days before the opening of the seminal COP21 climate conference in Paris.
According to the Standard, as head of 1.2 billion Catholics around the globe, and moral leader hundreds of millions more, Francis has imbued the climate change debate with an ethical element that ties environmental issues to his vision of a just and equal society.
The Star publishes reactions to an injunction filed by an atheist group at the Nairobi high court demanding the nullification of the national holiday declared by President Uhuru Kenyatta in honour of Pope Francis’ visit.
This is ludicrous, disrespectful, narrow-minded and clearly a publicity stunt, comments a prominent reader of the newspaper. That is the essence of freedom of worship and freedom of association as enshrined in the constitution, argued another.
A third reader of the Star invited the atheists to go to court to ban Christmas Day and the Holy Month of Ramadan, while a fourth wondered if the members of the group are real atheists.
Source: rfi afrique