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Man of peace who went out to unite communities

Bishop Cornelius Kipng’eno arap Korir of Eldoret Diocese, who passed on yesterday, will be remembered as a man of peace who espoused friendship and unity among Kenyans.

A soft-spoken man of faith, he often wore white vestment when on peace mission outside his parish, carried his golden crosier and put on his mitre half-way down his head leaving his shiny-grey sideburns uncovered.

Loved by his flock because of his kind heart, Bishop Korir touched many for his passion to create friendship in hostility. He will be remembered for combining spiritual teaching with wit and humour. One Sunday morning, invited to preach at the Holy Family Basilica, the Bishop interjected mid-way through a hymn that the choir was singing listlessly.

He challenged them and the congregation: “If that hymn is supposed to scare away the devil, the way you are singing could make him join in the song!” The congregation laughed and put life into the hymn.

Such was Bishop Korir, of whom peers say was involved in peace-building most of his working life. During election-related clashes that rocked parts of the Rift Valley in 1992, 1997 and 2007/08, Bishop Korir left his Eldoret town diocese headquarters to traverse affected areas, going to great length to bring hostile communities together.

Upendo FM that he started for his diocese in 2013 dedicates generous airtime to preaching peace and unity among communities in the North Rift. To attest to his peace efforts, the State awarded him the Moran of the Burning Spear in 2006 and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights honoured him with the Milele Lifetime Award.

He was often a thorn in the flesh of politicians for warning them directly to stop propagating hate through their utterances. The Bishop, who had been ailing for some time, had been receiving treatment at the St Luke’s Hospital in Eldoret but was pronounced dead on arrival at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital where he had been taken when he fell ill yesterday morning.

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