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Archbishop closes Kenya’s pulpits to politicians: The Church of England Newspaper, May 27, 2012 p 7. May 31, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Kenya, Church of England Newspaper, Politics.
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Archbishop Eliud Wabukala

The Primate of Kenya, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala has asked the country’s Anglican clergy to eschew partisan politics in the run up to the country’s General Elections and close their pulpits to politics.

Speaking at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi on 20 May 2012, Archbishop Wabukala said the Anglican Church of Kenya will “remain non-partisan.”

“Politicians who want to divide Kenyans on tribal lines should be discouraged at all costs,” and not be allowed to speak from church pulpits in support of their political agendas as “we are aware that some of them may not mean well.”

In March the Kenyan electoral commission set 4 March 2013 as the date for the next presidential and parliamentary elections.  It will be the first general election since the 2007 vote that triggered factional and ethnic fighting that left 1,220 people dead, and triggered indictments of several prominent Kenyan political figures by the International Criminal Court.

It will also be the first election since the east African country adopted a new constitution.

President Mwai Kibaki, who is barred from seeking a third term of office, and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, had been at loggerheads over the date of the election.  In January the country’s High Court ruled the next elections should be held in 2013 and not in August 2012 as required by the constitution.  However, if the coalition government formed by President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga collapses, an early vote may be held.

During the 2007 elections, a number of ACK bishops gave their public support to political groups – which are predominantly tribal based.  This prompted sharp criticism from the wider Kenyan church and soul searching over the role of bishops, tribe and politics.

“We must embrace humility and become wiser as the country nears the General Elections,” Archbishop Wabukala told the congregation of All Saints Cathedral on Sunday,” and “we will not allow the church pulpits be used by politicians to attack each other.”

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

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