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Divisions in church leave little hope

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 12 – In Kenya people view religion as an important institution to run to in times of hardship. During the 2007 poll violence, people looked up to the church to resolve the crisis.

But for the first time, Kenyans were left in shock after realising that religious leaders were as sharply divided as their flock.

The idea of having some of the leaders joining Parliament also gave a lot of hope to Kenyans. But still, Kenyans feel they have failed and performed below expectation.

Capital News spoke to former National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) Secretary General Mutava Musyimi, who is now the Gachoka MP.

Our interview was premised on complaints that he had become silent and failed to give direction where his colleagues in politics have failed.

He explained that he had decided to carefully weigh his words, saying ‘look before you leap’.

“In 2003, NCCK came up with a policy decision of operating on the basis of principled collaboration with the government. Rather than shouting, we should discuss national issues with a view to giving a solution,” he said.

Rev Musyimi added that being a MP and a religious leader are different and this had required him to engage with different people to familiarise himself with politics.

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“Speaking from a perspective of a church leader and MP, I am not quite the same thing; vehicles of engagement are different. There was a lot to learn, I had to listen a lot and talk to many people in the political divide,” he said.

“It has also been necessary for me to find my voice and to be more comfortable with the vehicle that is called Parliament,” he continued.

The Gachoka MP said that he had finally found his footing in Parliament and that Kenyans would hear and see more of him as he pushes the national interest forward.

“There are serious issues and I will be addressing and raising them. I am now speaking a little bit more in Parliament and that will continue,” he promised.

The clergyman, however, said society was to blame for the country’s leadership.

“If our MPs are as bad as we are, we need to use this as a cue to look at ourselves as the society; we elect leaders who are like us…that is who we are. MPs provide an entry point and a window for the society to look at itself,” he explained.

But he still says there are challenges of leadership and the only way to get over them is for the society to check its leadership by questioning and making leaders accountable.

Rev Musyimi has at the same time expressed confidence that Kenya would get a new constitution soon, citing political will.

On corruption, however, the clergyman who once headed the government’s anti-corruption campaign steering committee believes the vice is still far from being eradicated.

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“We are dealing with a Kenyan problem and selective finger-pointing is not the way forward, though the elected leaders should be held accountable in a bigger way than other people. To imagine it is a problem of MPs is to fail to understand the magnitude of corruption,” he said.


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