NAIROBI, Kenya Sep 23 – The Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) has moved to restrain its dioceses from permitting the conduct of fundraising events during worship services with churches required to organize separate events for such.
ACK Archbishop Jackson ole Sapit gave the directive on Thursday in yet another attempt to restrain political speech during worship services.
“We deliberated and we said we will separate Harambees from our thanksgiving. For the thanksgiving we will do in the church sanctuary where Christians will come and give their tithe and offerings but when we have Harambee for a specific thing, it will be organized outside of our worship set-up,” Archbishop Sapit said.
The head of the Anglican Church reiterated the ban on politicking in church lamenting that in the recent past politicians have assumed the role of the clergy in places of worship.
“Whereas all our churches welcome all worshipers, we have witnessed cases where politicians assume the role of clergy and use the pulpit as an arena for negative and divisive politics,” Sapit noted.
In different parts of the country, Sunday services have increasingly transformed into political rallies of sorts following the ban on political gatherings in a move to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The takeover of churches by the politicians has put the clergy under pressure with claims that they have surrendered their authority to politicians in favor of handouts.
Sapit further backed the call by Catholic bishops for a truce between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto saying the Anglican Church was ready to take part in mediation efforts.
He warned that disunity occasioned by the war of words between the two leaders will polarize the country.
“Our call still stands that the there has to be need for unity, but I affirm that as a team of church leaders we have been making those attempts. We cannot say we have come to an end on it, it is still a matter in our prayer closet,” the Anglican Archbishop said.
Religious institutions had offered to mediate talks between President Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto as the two leaders increasingly drift apart shunning joint public appearances.
The church leaders stated that the strained relationship between the two leaders poses a huge threat to the stability of the country as it edges closer to the 2022 general elections.
Ruto had welcomed the Catholic Church offer to mediate the rift between him and President Kenyatta, but the latter is yet to comment on the matter.
“Church leaders have said they want to reconcile us with the president, I am ready early in the morning with no condition because I respect the president. He is my boss,” Ruto said at his official residence in Karen.
Meanwhile, the Anglican Church called on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to ensure preparations for the 2022 general elections through proper civic education.
Sapit warned that voters were being mobilized along tribal lines and other forms of exclusion, a situation likely to breed violence.
“We urge aspiring candidates to adhere to electoral laws, National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) to be vigilant, proactive and impartial at all times this will ensure campaigns are civil,” he noted.