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Anglican Church in Kenya gets new head

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 24  – Eliud Wabukala is the new Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya.

The 58 year old Wabukala who has been serving as the Bungoma Bishop was elected by a simple majority in the fourth round, after the contesting clerics failed to secure the compulsory two thirds majority in the first three rounds.

Dr Wabukala is due to take over from Benjamin Nzimbi who formally retires in June after attaining the maximum age limit of 65.

The church’s dean of Bishops Stephen Njehia made the announcement after three hours of voting at the All Saints Cathedral on Friday. The other bishops who contested the poll were Maseno West bishop Joseph Otieno Wasonga, Kitale’s Stephen Kewasis, and Taita’s bishop Samuel Mwaluda.

"After a very peaceful, joyous and orderly election process we now have the Archbishop-elect," Bishop Njehia said. "Bishop Wabukala will be enthroned the fifth Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya on July 5 at the All Saints Cathedral."

An overjoyed Dr Wabukala said he would advance the initiatives of his predecessor. He further said that the church would continue prioritising reconciliation in the country.

"Our main aim and agenda as a church is to spread the world of God. We know there are challenges to do with building bridges among our communities, reconciling people and healing and that is what the gospel will do," he said.

"As a church we have a system that gives us the policies and basically those that are there will continue," he added.

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For one to be an Archbishop he has to be nominated by the electoral college after strict scrutiny. He must be one of the bishops and have a minimum age of 40.  The Archbishop serves the church until the age of 65.

One hundred and fifty eight delegates from the 30 dioceses took part in the secret ballot election. The poll was conducted by the church’s provincial chancellor Tom Onyango (a lawyer by profession) assisted by a team of three other advocates. According to the rules of the church, the polls chief is barred from releasing the actual votes of the poll.

The winner must garner a mandatory two thirds majority of the vote. If this fails in the first round the candidate with the least votes is eliminated from the race. If the winner does not gain two thirds majority in the subsequent rounds the process of elimination is repeated until there are only two candidates. If the vote for the two does not produce a two third majority winner then the final round of a simple majority is conducted.

A graduate of Wycliffe College, University of Toronto in Canada, Makerere University and St Paul’s College Limuru, Bishop Wabukala has previously served as an Academic Dean of St Paul’s, has been a lecturer and an administrator in the provinces.

Dr Wabukala also previously served as the Chancellor of Daystar University.  He is a member of the board of the National Anti Corruption Campaign Steering Committee. He is also a former chairman of the National Council of Churches of Kenya. He chairs the ACK provincial Colleges Council and the ACK Constitutional Review Commission.
The polls were concluded amid claims of irregularities and reports that the election had divided the church and taken a political dimension.


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