, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 13 – The African Independent Pentecostal Church of Africa (AIPCA) is mourning the death of the immediate former Archbishop Samson Gaitho Mwangi who passed away on Wednesday morning, barely two weeks after handing over the top seat.
The 76 year-old cleric succumbed to prostate cancer at 5am at the MP Shah Hospital in Nairobi.
Newly consecrated AIPCA Archbishop Evanson Ndung’u told journalists at the hospital that Archbishop Gaitho passed on after fulfilling his greatest desire of peacefully handing over the church’s leadership.
“I am shocked because he only presided over the hand-over a fortnight ago, but he has passed away having fulfilled his heart’s desire.” he said.
In his condolences Archbishop Ndung’u termed the death as a big blow to the church and described his predecessor as a steadfast man, of wise words who dedicated his life to church service.
“The church has received the news with shock; he was a man of wisdom, a great advisor, a man who gave his life for the church. We want to keep the church as peaceful and united as he left it,” he said of the man he has previously called his mentor.
President Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta also sent their condolences to the relatives, friends and family of the deceased.
The President acknowledged that the late Archbishop Gaitho would be remembered for his deep devotion, unbounded religious zeal, endurance and love for God’s flock.
The Head of State further affirmed that many Kenyans will remember him for his simplicity, and the sense of equality with which he treated everyone as well as his sincere service to the Church.
Appreciating that the deceased was a great shepherd and spiritual leader, President Kibaki said that Archbishop Gaitho would forever be remembered for his inspiring and thought-provoking sermons as well as his great contribution in the growth of the Church.
In his 12-year service as head of the Church, the late Archbishop Gaitho initiated many development projects including the AIPCA Theological College in Kamulu which he envisioned to develop to become a fully fledged university, the Head of State said.
President Kibaki said many Kenyans will always remember his active participation in the Interfaith Ufungamano initiative during the agitation for a new Constitution. He also served as a commissioner and councillor in the Nairobi City Council.
The Head of State noted: “Indeed, we have lost a true servant of the people, a leader and a role model. His valuable contribution to our country will remain amongst us forever. Therefore, although he has departed from our visibility, he is still with us so we do not lose our hope.”
President Kibaki assured the family and the entire church that he shared in their grief and prayed that God will fill them with grace and courage to bear the loss.
The late Gaitho voluntarily stepped down as the leader of the AIPCA on health grounds and peacefully oversaw the handover to the new office. His last public appearance was during the handover ceremony at the Nyayo National Stadium.