, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 19 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on Kenyans to embrace peace as the country approaches the General Election, saying that is the way to build a great nation.
Speaking at the funeral service of the late Very Rev Dr John Gatu in Karen, President Kenyatta said Kenyans should emulate great leaders like Rev Gatu who was a man of peace.
“As we head to the General Election, let us extend a hand of peace. That truly is a way to build a great nation,” President Kenyatta said.
He paid glowing tribute to Rev Gatu, saying he was a man of honour, dignity and great wisdom who not only preached about the love of God but also lived to demonstrate his love to others.
“We have lost a great leader, a man of peace and all of us should seek to emulate what he taught us,” the President said.
The Very Rev Dr Gatu was the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) of the 9th and 10th General Assembly from 1979 to 1985.
He was also the first African Secretary General of PCEA, a position he held from 1963 to 1979. Apart from being one of the founders and pioneers of the World Council of Churches, Rev Dr Gatu was instrumental in the establishment of the ecumenical movement in Africa that led to the birth of All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC).
President Kenyatta said Reverend Gatu loved his country and the African person, saying his sermons were spiced and enriched by African sayings in conveying the message of Christ.
“He loved his country and the African person. On numerous occasions, he would mix his sermons with African sayings both in Kikuyu and Kiswahili languages. That way he would portray Christ in an African way,” said the President.
President Kenyatta said Rev Gatu was a close family friend who used to frequently visit the country’s founding father, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.
Other speakers described the late veteran clergy as a transformative leader whose ideas helped shape the church and the country into what it is today.
They said the late Reverend Gatu was a champion of faith who believed in hard work and was instrumental in teaching the Kenyan clergy to be self-sustenance.
“We celebrate a man in whose heart there was no ethnicity, he was an inspiration to many,” said the NCCK Secretary General Rev Peter Karanja.
Rt Reverend Julius Guantai Mwamba, the moderator of the 21st General Assembly of PCEA, said the late Rev Gatu was a father and mentor to many Christian faithful, a leader who never condoned any form of discrimination be it ethnic or religious.