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Wabukala shames bishops who put dialogue above doctrine: Church of England Newspaper, December 5, 2014 December 5, 2014

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The chairman of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans has urged Africa’s bishops to repudiate a dialogue initiated by the Anglican Church of Canada and backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury. In an Advent letter dated 27 Nov 2014 Archbishop Eliud Wabukala rejected the work of Bishops in Consultation initiative which has brought American, Canadian and African bishops together to discus ways of promoting institutional unity while permitting a degree of latitude of doctrinal positions on issues ranging from sexual ethics, Christology, universalism and soteriology. Archbishop Wabukala wrote: the dialogue “claimed that we must maintain visible unity despite everything because ‘now we see through a glass, darkly’ (1 Corinthians 13:12). In other words, things will only become clear in heaven. This is a bad mistake. It is true that there is much about our future state that we do not yet understand, but God has given us the inspired Scriptures as a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Ps.119:105). Our future hope cannot be turned into an excuse for compromise or silence when Scripture is clear. For Anglicans the collegial mind of the Communion on sexuality and Scripture remains the orthodox position as strongly reaffirmed by the 1998 Lambeth Conference which continues to call us to obedience and pastoral responsibility. Dialogue is no substitute for doctrine.”

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Al-Shabaab kill 28 Christians in Kenya bus massacre: Church of England Newspaper, November, 28, 2014 November 28, 2014

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The Somali Islamist group al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the murder of 28 Christians in Kenya last Saturday, saying the killings were payback for police raids on four mosques in Mombasa.  On the morning of 22 Nov 2014, a bus carrying 60 passengers to Nairobi was ambushed by gunmen approximately 31 miles south of the town of Mandera near Kenya’s border with Somalia. “They asked how many times I pray in a day, asked me to recite a Qur’an verse and also greeted one in Islamic,” a survivor told the Daily Nation. “If one failed to answer these questions, then you’d be asked to lie on a muddy patch of the road facing down.” Christian primary school teacher Douglas Ochwodo survived the attack. He told Reuters two killers went along the line of bodies, beginning at each end moving towards the middle, shooting their prone victims in the head. Ochwodo lay in the center and covered with blood from other victims, was overlooked by the killers. Nineteen men and nine women, identified as Christians, were shot dead. In September 2013 al-Shabaab terrorists assaulted Nairobi’s Westgate Mall, killing 67 people. The Islamist terror group has claimed responsibility for other attacks that have have left 90 dead this year. including the assault on Nairobi’s upscale Westgate Mall in September 2013 in which 67 people were killed. Al-Shabaab said it was responsible for other attacks on Kenya’s coast earlier this year which killed at least 90 people. Earlier this month Kenyan police closed four mosques in Mombasa after police raids discovered weapons and explosives caches in the buildings.Speaking to reporters after services at an Anglican Church outside of Nairobi on Sunday Deputy President William Ruto told reporters on Sunday that security force jets and helicopters had attacked a camp in Somalia linked to the perpetrators of the bus massacre, killing as many as 100 terrorists. “We shall continue to deal with all the terrorists and bandits in the same way because it is the only language they understand,” he said. “If you kill any Kenyan you will also be killed.”

Gay rights are not human rights, Archbishop says: The Church of England Newspaper, March 21, 2014 April 11, 2014

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Gay rights are not human rights as understood by the Christian tradition of natural law, the Primate of the Anglican Church of Kenya, the Most Rev. Eliud Wabukala told reporters on 9 March 2014 after services at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi. His remarks came in response to demands made by MPs that the country’s colonial era sodomy laws be stiffened along the lines of recent reforms of Uganda’s criminal code. The archbishop said he did not support change stating it was unnecessary as “Kenya’s constitution clearly outlaws” gross indecency. From the Anglican Church’s perspective, “we are very clear when it comes to matters of relationship which should be between two opposite sexes,” he told The Star, adding it was a false anthropology, however, to conflate actions with individuals. A person was much more than his sexual appetites. It was also wrong to raise an action to the level of a human right. “Human rights and rights are different. Human rights have no values while rights have values,” he told said.

Kenyan Anglican elected WCC moderator: Church of England Newspaper, November 15, 2013 November 14, 2013

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A lay woman from the Anglican Church of Kenya, Dr. Agnes Aboum, has been elected moderator of the World Council of Churches.

The 150-member Central Committee of the Christian ecumenical organization elected Dr. Abuom last week at its 10th Assembly in Busan, South Korea held from 30 October to 8 November 2013. She will be the first woman and first African to hold the post.

As moderator Dr. Abuom will lead the WCC’s highest government body. The administrative head of the WCC is its general secretary the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit of Norway.

“My open prayer is that we shall move forward together, in the next years, despite our diversities that have the potential to divide us,” Dr. Abuom said shortly after her election, “…and that the WCC will continue to remain an instrument for providing a safe space for all who can come and share their hopes, aspirations and visions, and prophetic voice.”

According to a press hand out from the WCC, Dr. Aboum said the prophetic voice is vital for “ecumenism in the 21st century and the church in our world today.”

As the first woman moderator of the worldwide body, Aboum says the model of consensus discernment “resonates very well with femine decision-making processes,” consultative and careful listening and seeking to understand the other person’s perspective.

Dr. Abuom has served on the WCC Executive Committee, representing the Anglican Church of Kenya. She is also a development consultant serving both Kenyan and international organizations coordinating social action programmes for religious and civil society across Africa.

Dr. Abuom was the Africa regional president for the WCC from 1999 to 2006. She has been associated with the All Africa Conference of Churches and WCC member churches in Africa. She is a co-president of the Religions for Peace and the National Council of Churches of Kenya.

Keep guns out of church, pleads Kenya’s archbishop: Church of England Newspaper, November 8, 2013 November 11, 2013

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The Primate of the Anglican Church of Kenya has denounced a call by Mombasa clergy that they be given guns to protect themselves from the depredations of criminals and Islamist militants.

“As church leaders, we should be on the forefront preaching for peace and reconciliation. Churches are places of worship and not a battlefield,” Archbishop Eliud Wabukala said on 1 November 2013.

On 20 October 2013 a pastor at a Pentecostal church in Mombasa was shot to death in his church’s sanctuary. At his funeral church leaders called upon the government to protect ministers – or give them the means to do so.

The call to arms received the cautious support of the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), which last week issued a statement saying it supported the right of clergy to bear arms, if they complied with civil laws concerning the registration and use of guns.

However, Archbishop Wabukala told the congregation gathered at Bishop Hannington’s Teachers College in Mumias, guns were no guarantee of safety.

“AK47 rifle will never secure anyone’s security. I beg to differ with my fellow pastors because even if they are issued with guns, how will they protect themselves from a mob. They should ask Kenyans to repent and live in peace,” the archbishop said.

It was the responsibility of “government to provide security to all. No single person can protect himself. We need everyone to be protected regardless of their position in society.”

“The murder of the pastor was wrong; the attacks on churches should be stopped. All places of worship should be respected whether it’s a church, a mosque, a temple or even a traditional shrine. We should be tolerant with those who don’t believe in our religion because we are all Kenyans,” the archbishop said according to an account of his sermon printed in The Standard.

Church calls for prayer and restraint in wake of Nairobi massacre: The Church of England Newspaper, September 27, 2013 p 7. October 15, 2013

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Kenya’s Christian and Muslim leaders have issued a united statement condemning the terror attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, which has left at least sixty people dead including five Britons and a dozen other ex-pats.

Police report that approximately 15 terrorists of the Somali Islamist group Al-Shabaab attacked the upscale shopping mall in suburban Nairobi on 21 September 2013, spraying shoppers with automatic rifle fire. Some shoppers were taken hostage, eyewitness reported, and were released if they could recite the Shahada, the Islamic basic profession of belief, or if they converted to Islam. Those who could or would not were executed.

The Shabelle Media Network in Mogadishu reports that al-Shabaab has identified the names and nationalities of the killers.  Three are listed as Americans, one Briton and a Finn amongst the Somali and Kenyan terrorists. Those who could or would not were executed.

Kenya’s inter-religious council responded to the attack by saying they would not let the massacre divide the country along sectarian lines, but would stand united against terrorism.

Reading the statement on behalf of the religious leaders, Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims Secretary General Adan Wachu said:m “We, the religious leaders, are engaged in robust dialogue to ensure that these relations are not just maintained but also made stronger. We are convinced beyond doubt that the attempt to sow seeds of discord between Muslims and Christians will fail miserably and that we shall remain united,.”

The Rt. Rev. Joel Waweru, Anglican Bishop of Nairobi urged Christians not to seek revenge. “We are so disheartened with whatever happened, but we would want to call upon our Christian brothers and sisters to keep peace and to maintain peace,” said Waweru.

The religious leaders statement said that one of the motives behind the attack was to destabilize the economy by driving away tourists. On Sunday the general secretary of the Gafcon movement, the Most Rev. Peter Jensen, Archbishop of Sydney released a video saying he was flying to Nairobi this week to review security arrangements for next month’s Gafcon Conference at All Saints Cathedral.

Dr. Jensen said it was his “desire” to “stand with our Kenyan brothers and sisters” in the face of terrorism, but he would nonetheless meet with local organizers to review security details and report back within the week.

Church leaders from around the world have offered their prayers and condolences to the families of the dead and injured and to the people of Kenya. In a note to the Archbishop of Kenya, the Most Rev. Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town wrote “to express not only that the Anglican Church of Southern Africa stands in solidarity with you at this time, but that we too share in the grief that this senseless attack has brought.”

“As you speak and act in response to these terrible events, may you be a channel of God’s grace:  to comfort the bereaved, bind up the broken hearted, and proclaim the triumph of our Lord Jesus Christ over both evil and death,” Dr. Makgoba said.

Archbishop David Gitari dead at 76: Anglican Ink, September 30, 2013 September 30, 2013

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The former Archbishop of Kenya, the Most Rev. David Mukuba Gitari has died following a short illness, his grandson, Dennis Itumbi, has reported in a post on Facebook.

On 30 September 2013 Archbishop Gitari died in the intensive care unit of Mater Hospital at 2:15 pm local time. The archbishop had been scheduled for surgery, but was transferred to the ICU after his heart stopped. He was 76.

The President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta offered his condolences to the archbishop’s family and friends. In a message released on the State House website, President Kenyatta described the late Archbishop as “a true servant of the people and a dedicated leader who made a lot of personal sacrifices to serve humanity.”

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 82: September 28, 2013 September 29, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Church of North America, Anglican.TV, Church of England, Church of Pakistan, GAFCON, Property Litigation, The Episcopal Church.
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Gafcon II is a go: Anglican Ink, September 27, 2013 September 26, 2013

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Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya

Last week’s terror attack on the Westgate Mall will not derail the Gafcon II conference set for 21-26 October 2013 at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi, the secretary of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans tells Anglican.TV.

In an interview recorded on 26 September 2013 with Anglican.TV’s Kevin Kallsen, Dr. Peter Jensen stated that he and Bishop Martyn Minns had flown to Kenya to meet with local conference organizers to discuss security arrangements. Dr. Jensen said he was satisfied with the precautions taken by conference organizers to forestall disruptions of the proceedings and noted the Kenyan government had matters well in hand.

The archbishop’s flying visit coincided with a special meeting of the Anglican Church of Kenya’s synod on 25-26 Sept 2013 at All Saints’ Cathedral to discuss the attack on the Westgate Mall by terrorists linked to the Somali Islamist group al-Shabaab and the Gafcon meeting.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Return al Qaeda hate with peace, Nairobi bishop asks Kenyans: Anglican Ink, September 23, 2013 September 23, 2013

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Westgate Mall, Nairobi

Religious leaders in Kenya have called upon Christians and Muslims to foreswear revenge in the wake of the attack on the Westgate shopping mall in suburban Nairobi, urging all Kenyans to remain united in the face of terrorism.

On 21 September 2013 upwards of 15 members of the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab attacked shoppers in the upscale mall patronized by the city’s expatriate community and the burgeoning middle classes.  Reports from survivors state the terrorists, including one woman, began to spray shoppers with automatic rifle fire and lobbed grenades into stores and restaurants.

Some patrons of the mall were taken hostage, eyewitnesses reported. Those who were able to recite the Shadada, the Muslim profession of belief, were released. Those who would not convert to Islam were executed.  The Red Cross reports that 69 bodies had been recovered from the Mall, including those of two terrorists. However the interior ministry reports only 59 dead so far, but concedes the death toll will rise.

Read it all at Anglican Ink.

Triumph of the stringer in the Nairobi massacre coverage: Get Religion, September 23, 2013 September 23, 2013

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African reporters are coming into their own with the stories coming out of Kenya this weekend. If you step back from the reports on the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi — now entering its third day as of the writing of this post — and look not at the content of the news, but how it is being presented, you can see examples the changes taking place in journalism. Advances in technology, newspaper and network business models, and the worldviews brought to the reporting by journalists have resulted in different stories today than would have been written 10 years ago.

Religion is part of the story. In the last week Boko Haram has killed over 150 Nigerians, the Taliban has killed 70 plus churchgoers and the Mall death total is expected to rise.  All of the attacks were undertaken by Muslim terrorist groups, and the initial reports suggest they were targeting non-Muslims.

Twitter and the internet have changed the game. The police, the president of Kenya and the terrorists (if the tweets from the Somali Islamist group al-Shabaab which claim responsibility are to be trusted) have taken to Twitter or posted statements on the internet to release information that in the past would have come from press conferences or interviews. This story written by AFP and printed in The Australian as “More hostages freed as explosions rock mall complex” draws on one the scene reporting from local stringers and staff, statements posted on the web, Twitter tweets and press conferences.

The quantity of information has increased, but has the quality? By this I do not mean discrepancies such as the Red Cross reports 69 dead and the police report 59, as noted in this Reuters report. Twitter provides immediacy, but no context. The Shabelle Media Network in Mogadishu reports that al-Shabaab has identified the names and nationalities of the killers.  Three are listed as Americans (two from Minnesota and one from Kansas City), one Briton and one Finn amongst the Somali and Kenyan terrorists.  Major news — “Twin City killers in Nairobi Mall Massacre” — but can we trust it? I have no idea who the Shabelle Media Network is, and their report is drawn from a Twitter post.

There appears to be no way to confirm or verify this information. Are they immigrants, refugees, converts? The appearance of intimacy offered by the immediacy of the internet does not mean what is being said is true. When reporters trekked into the mountains to meet guerrilla groups — think of Mao in Yunnan or Castro in the Sierra Maestra Mountains — the stories they brought home were conditioned by what they were allowed to see and hear. Yet they offered a more complete story — depth, context and analysis. It is too soon in the news cycle from Nairobi to hear these things — but will we ever? Will the next big story (the Pakistani church bombing perhaps) overshadow Nairobi?

In comparing the American to Australian or English press reports, most papers have relied on the wire services, adding local color to the base story. The Australian story adds the name of the Australian national killed in the attack, while the British papers list their countrymen killed. Few newspapers or networks have bureaus in East Africa anymore — and those who do such as the New York Times — do not appear to have an advantage in their reporting over their competitors.

The value added found in these stories comes from local stringers. (I am making an assumption that the on the scene interviews with Kenyans have been conducted by Kenyans.)

This passage from The Australian is compelling.

Mall worker Zipporah Wanjiru, who emerged from the ordeal alive but in a state of shock, said she hid under a table with five other colleagues. “They were shooting indiscriminately, it was like a movie seeing people sprayed with bullets like that,” she said, bursting into tears. “I have never witnessed this in my life.”

Cafe waiter Titus Alede, who risked his life and leapt from the first floor of the mall, said it was a “miracle from God” that he managed to escape the approaching gunmen. “I remember them saying ‘you killed our people in Somalia, it is our time to pay you back’,” he said.

One teenage survivor told how he played dead to avoid being killed. “I heard screams and gunshots all over the place. I got scared… (and) hid behind one of the cars,” 18-year-old Umar Ahmed told AFP.

Two Christians and a Muslim (based upon their names) speak and Africans, based upon my experiences, really do speak this way. But so do Americans. Yet we are not as likely to hear God-talk in reports about natural disasters and traumatic incidents in the American press. Is this a function of the worldview of the African stringers?

The Nairobi story is not done. It will be fascinating to see how the story is told based upon these new variables: Twitter and African reporters telling the story. But I do believe this story signals the end of the good old days of the ex-pat reporter. From what has been published so far, those newspapers that have invested in bureaus in Nairobi have not seen a return on their investment in terms of the quality or quantity of their coverage.

African rebuke for Justin Welby: The Church of England Newspaper, July 14, 2013 p 6. July 13, 2013

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The Archbishop of Canterbury has let down the wider Anglican Communion through his half-hearted defense of marriage in the House of Lords debates on the government’s same-sex marriage bill, the leader of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA), the Most Rev. Eliud Wabukala Archbishop of Kenya, said last week.

Justin Welby’s perceived lack of confidence in the Bible and his failure so far to exercise leadership on the international Anglican scene prompted the public rebuke — the first formal statement by the leader of the global South coalition of churches.

In a letter released last week to supporters of the FCA, a global Anglican renewal movement, Archbishop Wabukala said Archbishop Welby and the Archbishop of York, the Most Rev. John Sentamu, appeared to have compromised the Christian faith in an attempt to curry favor with secular Britain and with the liberal Anglican Churches of North America.

“We are painfully aware that the Episcopal Church of the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada continue to promote a false gospel and yet both are still received as in good standing by the Archbishop of Canterbury,” Dr. Wabukala wrote.

“Furthermore, the Church of England itself, the historic mother church of the Communion, seems to be advancing along the same path. While defending marriage, both the Archbishops of York and Canterbury appeared at the same time to approve of same-sex Civil Partnerships during parliamentary debates on the UK’s ‘gay marriage’ legislation, in contradiction to the historic biblical teaching on human sexuality reaffirmed by the 1998 Lambeth Conference,” he said.

The Church of England and the North American churches have been in decline, with some branches of “the Church of Christ … being claimed by the world through compromise and false teaching.”

At the same time the evangelical Anglican churches in the developing world had seen explosive growth with millions converted to the Christian faith, even when “tested by violent persecution” from without and challenged internally by “nominalism and tribalism, he noted.

In 1970 the number of Anglicans in Africa stood at 7.7 million. African Anglican Church membership grew through conversions from Islam and indigenous faiths to 50.8 million in 2010 and is expected to reach 65 million by 2020, a report published last month by Gordon-Conwell Seminary in the U.S. predicted.

“In these circumstances, attempts to achieve unity” among Anglicans across the globe “based merely on common humanitarianism and dialogue, without repentance,” was doomed to fail as it sacrifice “the transforming power of the gospel.”

The “seeds of the East African revival transformed a cold were planted through years of faithful bible teaching and were brought to life by the Spirit of God, with deep conviction of sin and the irrepressible joy of sins forgiven,” the archbishop said.

“This is the core of the transforming power of the gospel and in this we delight.”

CAPA treasurer murdered: Anglican Ink, June 19, 2013 June 20, 2013

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The treasurer of CAPA — the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa  — was murdered last week at her home outside of Nairobi.

The CAPA website reports that on 8 June 2013, Grace Wambua (51) was hacked to death by a farmhand at her Kinaanie farm in Machakos. Local press reports state Ms. Wambua was slashed across her neck and her hands nearly severed as she sought to ward off the blows.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

MPs expenses “selfish and inconsiderate” Archbishop charges: The Church of England Newspaper, June 9, 2013, p 6. June 15, 2013

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The Archbishop of Kenya has denounced plans by the country’s MPs to boost their salaries in defiance of the rules set down by the East African country’s Constitution.

In a statement released last week the Most Rev. Eliud Wabukala said the unanimous vote in Parliament to raise salaries from Sh532,000  to 851,000 shillings and repeal laws that gave oversight to the Salaries and Renumeration Commission (SRC) was “selfish, inconsiderate and uncalled for.”

The archbishop’s attack on MPs salaries and expenses follows a statement issued on 24 May 2013 by the House of Bishops calling for the police to crack down on crooked politicians involved in the drugs trade

An independent nonpartisan government agency established under the Salaries & Remuneration Commission Act, 2011, the SRC last year blocked a bill giving MPs who leave office a hefty severance package and in February implemented a steep salary cut for senior government officials. Last week the SRC said the vote to increase MPs pay was unlawful and violated the Constitution.

Dr. Wabukala urged MPs to respect the constitution stating that “barely 4 months ago they agreed to ‘obey, respect, uphold, preserve, protect, and defend’ the constitution.”

By ignoring the SRC they were in “direct violation of the same. SRC has not overstepped their mandate but are operating within their scope of regularizing state officers’ remuneration. It would be unconstitutional and illegal for MPs to award themselves salaries in defiance of SRC recommendations. We applaud SRC for operating within their stipulated mandate and contributing to measures that will lower the public officers’ wage bill,” the Archbishop said.

Kenya was “undergoing a transition period inculcating devolved governance structures that will shape the nation’s social and economic well- being. Efforts and resources should be channeled to stabilize the structures for counties’ take- off; and the MPs and other legislators’ demands are derailing the process” the stated.

Easter messages from across the Communion: The Church of England Newspaper, April 7, 2013 p 6. April 9, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand & Polynesia, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Church of North America, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Church in Wales, Church of England Newspaper, Church of Ireland, Church of Nigeria, Church of the Province of Uganda, Church of the Province of West Africa, Scottish Episcopal Church, The Episcopal Church.
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Easter messages from the overseas leaders of the Anglican Communion sounded a common theme this year of hope and joy. While the archbishops of the church touched upon issues of local concern, each spoke to the victory of Christ over death and the grave.

The Archbishop of Uganda Stanley Ntagali urged Christians not to lose heart in the face of economic and political uncertainties. “There could be social pressures in the country and many people might have lost hope. Many people no longer trust fellow human beings, but let the risen Lord Jesus whose victory over death we are celebrating this Easter give us a new hope.”

He also warned of the dangers of alcohol. “I urge our people not to celebrate [Easter] by drinking. They should go to church and worship the Lord and return home. This a time to repent and make our homes, offices, schools and business places more enjoyable and suitable to glorify God who gave us the greatest gift of salvation through his Son Jesus Christ,” he noted.

Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya, Chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council, also spoke of the joy found in life in Christ. “In his resurrection from the dead there is the glorious ‘yes’ of the fulfilment, actual and yet to come, of the promises and purposes of God. Through repentance and faith we share in his risen life and at its heart, our calling is to simply say the ‘Amen’ and glorify the God who has triumphed over sin and death.”

The GAFCON leader also urged Christians to reject the “ungodly innovations” coming from Western liberal churches which seek to “substitute human effort and speculation for divine grace and revealed truth.  It is a profound contradiction to say this ‘Amen’ and then go on, as some do, to deny the real physical resurrection of Jesus.”

When Christians say ‘no’ to false teaching it is for the sake of truth. “There can be no more positive a movement than one which gives an unqualified ‘Amen’ to the fulfilment of all God promises in Jesus Christ.”

The Archbishop of West Africa Dr. Tilewa Johnson said the Christian’s response to the sufferings was to turn towards God. “Where to start? We have tools and guidelines to hand. One of the greatest tools we have is prayer. Prayer is a means of communication with God.”

“As with so many things, it requires practice. We know what it is like when we become close to another human being – a husband, wife, brother, sister or close friend. In time it is possible to read their thoughts, and know what they are going to say before they say it. It is the same with God. To sit in the presence of God – maybe in silence; maybe with a few words – it is possible increasingly to come to know God and the will of God. Gradually we know the way to go,” the Gambian archbishop said.

The Primate of All Nigeria, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh said that when celebrating Easter it was “important” to “re-emphasize the incontrovertible fact that Jesus has risen from the dead and He is alive for ever. Through His resurrection power, therefore we can overcome all sorts of challenges we might have as an individual, as the Church of God and as a Nation.”

The Archbishop called on “all Christians and Nigerians as a whole to reaffirm their trust in God, and in corporate Nigeria.”

“Let us remain resolute and resilient, having our hope in the strength and power of the Almighty God. Our prayer for our country, Nigeria is that we shall overcome the present challenges of lingering insecurity: bloodshed, destruction of lives and property; poverty and political squabbles. We should keep hope alive of a corporate Nigeria,” he said.

Preaching at the Easter Vigil at the Cathedral of St. George the Martyr in Cape Town, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba told the congregation he had just returned from a retreat in “frozen rural North Wales”, staying in an attic room overlooking the Irish Sea in the mountains of Snowdonia.

“I was there to follow the 30-days Full Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola,” he explained “to explore what God was wanting to do in my life.”

But even found that the spiritual journey did not end there as God was leading him “to integrate all I’ve experienced and learnt into my ministry and life” –  “And I certainly came back to find an awful lot had been going on,’ he said.

“The over-riding lesson of my retreat is that God, in his redeeming love, is everywhere. Nothing is beyond his care, or his desire to bring healing and new life to you, to me, to everyone,” the archbishop said.

“If you truly want to know what Easter is all about, look at the places where there are tough challenges, difficult issues, hard wrestling, painful contexts – and where God’s people nonetheless dare to go, and to stay for as long as it takes, witnessing to light and hope and life.” Archbishop Makgoba said.

In in his final Easter message before he retires in July the Archbishop of Sydney Dr Peter Jensen reflected on his tenure in office. “As I think on my time as Archbishop, naturally I look back and try to judge myself – not with much success!” he says. “Like you, I have a real judge. Think how much more God, who knows all the secrets of our hearts, must be able to hold me to account. It should make us tremble.”

But Easter filled him with hope. “What happened at the first Easter reminds me of the love of God. Through the death of Jesus even I, and all of us, can have forgiveness as we turn to him in sorrow and trust him for our lives” he says.

“Our failures are not the last word over our lives. And, through the resurrection of Jesus I have a great and undeserved hope of my own resurrection and future,” Dr. Jensen said.

Archbishop-elect Philip Richardson of New Zealand reminded Kiwi Christians that “life comes out of death; the horror of crucifixion bears the fruit of redeemed and renewed humanity; the worst that we are capable of becomes the access way to that intimacy of relationship with God that Christ makes possible; it is in the bowl and towel of the servant that true power is expressed; it is in losing ourselves that we are found.”

The “heart of the message of Easter,” he observed was not the “passion or the suffering, but the resurrection.”

“As Martin Luther King rightly reminded us, ‘Hate begets hate, anger begets anger, killing only begets more killing. The only thing that can turn an enemy into a friend is the power of love’,” he said.

In a joint message released with the leader of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz of the Anglican Church of Canada celebrated the bonds of friendship between the two denominations and also urged Christians to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem”.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori the Episcopal Church stated: “Easter celebrates the victory of light and life over darkness and death.  God re-creates and redeems all life from dead, dry, and destroyed bones.  We are released from the bonds of self-obsession, addiction, and whatever would steal away the radical freedom of God-with-us.”

At Easter “our lives re-center in what is most holy and creative, the new thing God is continually doing in our midst,” she said, “practicing vulnerability toward the need and hunger of others around us” thereby cultivating “compassionate hearts.  We join in baptismal rebirth in the midst of Jesus’ own passing-over.”

The Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, writing from Juba where he was standing holy week with Archbishop Daniel Deng of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, wrote: “This Easter I am looking back,” he said – “I am asking, ‘What does it all mean?’ Whether in Juba or in Pittsburgh – and wherever you find yourself – what I testify is that the Gospel is my strength and my song, and that Jesus has become my salvation.”

“Easter is the day that lights and gives meaning to all the others, wherever I – we – spend it and with whomever I – we – spend it.  The tomb is empty.  The world, the flesh and the devil are defeated.  Jesus is alive.  In Him, the alien becomes familiar, loss becomes gain, sorrow becomes joy, and death becomes life.  This Easter I am also looking around and looking ahead,” Archbishop Robert Duncan wrote.

The Archbishop of Armagh Dr. Richard Clarke said what Ireland need this Easter was “confidence – a full–blooded confidence – that we actually want to allow Christ to run loose and dangerous in the world around us. We need to recover that spirited confidence to assert that Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, is not our private property as churchy people, but is truly for the whole of society and the entire world.”

Dr. Barry Morgan the Archbishop of Wales in his Easter sermon preached at Llandaff Cathedral stated that: “If you wanted to sum up God’s work, He is a God who is in the rescue business.  That is the root meaning of the word ‘salvation’ – it means being saved from something or someone.”

“Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we too as members of His body, are rescued from sin, despair, meaninglessness, disaster, and death,” he said, adding that “this offer of rescue, of salvation, by Jesus, is for all people not just for the select few – a bit like being rescued by a lifeboat.   When a life-station receives a distress signal, no enquiry is made about the social status of those who need rescuing, or whether they can pay for the service, or whether they are at fault for having got themselves into danger in the first place by being careless in going out without life jackets when a storm was forecast.  Lifeboats simply go to the rescue.”

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church Bishop David Chillingworth of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane stated: “We greet with joy the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We look forward to welcoming many people to worship in our churches at Easter.  We hope and pray that they will experience joy and hope in our congregations.

“As disciples of Jesus Christ, we believe that we are people of the resurrection.  We are Easter people – shaped in our baptism through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  We feel deeply the pain of the world and its people.  We bring compassion and care to the ministry which we exercise in our service of others.  We have a passion for justice.  We are also people of hope.  Because of the resurrection, we believe that good will triumph over evil and life over death.”

General Election appeal for peace in Kenya: The Church of England Newspaper, February 24, 2013 p 6. March 23, 2013

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Church leaders in Kenya have called upon voters to reject politicians soliciting support by appeals to religious enmity and ethnic hatred and vote for the candidates that can best serve the needs of a united country.

On 7 Feb 2013 the Standing Committee and House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Kenya released a pastoral letter warning the country that the violence that followed the December 2007 elections that left approximately 1500 people dead in tribal-based political clashes could return. Kenya goes to the polls on 4 March 2013 to elect a president and members of the senate and national assembly under a new constitution adopted last year.

“The images from the last general elections and the resultant post-election violence are still fresh in our minds. Many people died, others were injured and a lot of property was destroyed leaving many Kenyans disenfranchised and disillusioned. A lot of their emotional wounds are yet to heal. A major contributing factor to this tragic situation was words spoken by Kenyans against their neighbours and colleagues based on assumptions and perceived political leanings,” the church statement said.

“Kenya is a land of God-given ethnic diversity that we should all embrace and manage to ensure that we harness the various strengths for national development.”

“This is our message to all political aspirants: take responsibility for your utterances during campaigns and desist from statements against other Kenyans just because they are from a different ethnic background,” the statement said.

Appeals to tribal unity and ethnic demagoguery by politicians during the 2007 election campaign were blamed for the post-election violence that pitted the dominant Kikuyu tribe of Central Kenya of President i against the Luo tribe of his challenger Raile Odinga, who built a coalition with the Luhya of Western Kenya, the Kalenjin from the Rift Valley and Muslims from the Coast Province. After results were announced, Kikuyus living outside their traditional homelands were the target of tribal violence – which sparked reprisals against Luo living in Kikuyu lands.

“We are emerging from an experience where violence was triggered by disputed presidential election results. Our prayer is that free and fair elections will be held and that political aspirants and their supporters will accept the election results,” the church leaders wrote, adding “this is a sign of maturity and responsibility” that all must support to build a better Kenya.

“Let every voter take time to vet the candidates aspiring for political office to ensure that Kenya is led at all levels by men and women who have humility and lead with integrity, transparency, and accountability. The leaders we elect also need to have the requisite skills and understand the context in terms of the needs and aspirations of Kenyans,” the church statement said.

Faith healing not enought to fight HIV/AIDS archbishop warns: The Church of England Newspaper, November 4, 2012 p 6. November 7, 2012

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Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi

The former Archbishop of Kenya has urged church leaders not to scorn anti-retroviral medications and rely upon prayer alone to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi, a spokesman for the Kenya Network Religious Living with or Personally Affected by HIV, told a Nairobi news conference last week that Christians need to seek medical treatment in addition to relying upon prayer.

“We want religious leaders not to mislead their congregation, but instead preach to them the right information about the scourge. We must fight it to the end through proper information. Miracles alone cannot reduce their viral load, but proper ARV use will lengthen their lives,” the archbishop said..

Members of the ecumenical HIV/AIDS ministry also criticized societal attitudes that stigmatized those with the disease, as well as unscrupulous healers who prayed on the credulity of believers by claims of faith healings or through herbal medicines.

Canon Gideon Byamugisha a Ugandan Anglican priest, who in 2002 became the first religious leader in Africa to publicly declare his HIV status, said the government health campaign should target those already infected to avoid new infections. “If those already with HIV/Aids are targeted by providing them with needed treatment, care and nutrition and encouraging them to lead safer lifestyles where they don’t infect others then this war against this scourge will be won,” he said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

New suspects in Kenya church bombing: The Church of England Newspaper, November 4, 2012 p 6. November 6, 2012

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Bishop Joel Waweru and Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya visiting one of the victims of the 30 Sept attack on St Cyprian’s Church

Greed, not terrorism, may have been the motive for last month’s Nairobi church bombing, the Bishop of Nairobi reports.

Speaking at the 10 Oct 2012 funeral of one of the victims in the attack, Bishop Joel Waweru said a dispute over the ownership of the church’s land may have been the cause of the crime.

“The case on the ownership of the plot is dragging in court and we think the dispute could be connected to the attack,” Bishop Waweru said.

While the 30 September 2012 attack on St Cyprian’s has all the hallmarks of an operation by the Somali-based Islamist group al-Shabaab, police are investigating an alternative theory of the crime and are considering the lawsuit between the church and the Juja Development Company headed by Kenya’s former Defence minister Njenga Karume.

Initial witness statements said two men of Somali appearance were seen fleeing the scene after the explosion and were said to have thrown grenades.  However other witness reports said no one was in the alley when the explosion took place.

Nairobi’s police commissioner Njoroge Ndirangu reported that an examination of the crime scene indicated a limpet mine or an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was electronically detonated alongside the wall of the Christian education building of St Cyprian’s Anglican Church at approximately 10:30 local time.  Shrapnel from the blast killed an eight year old boy and wounded several children attending a Bible study.  Six children were taken in serious condition to the capital’s Kenyatta National Hospital for treatment.

Popular sentiment in Nairobi blamed the blast on al Shabaab.  The Somali terror group had been responsible for a series of low level bombings of churches and public buildings in Nairobi and in towns along the border with Kenya.  Last year it claimed responsibility for a series of blasts in Kampala that killed 74.

Bishop Waweru said the use of an IED might have been a copycat attack designed to drive the church off its land.  The land on which the Sunday school building sits is the focus of a protracted legal battle between the church and a property developer – a former parishioner.

Asked at a press conference whether he believed the bombing was political, or a dispute over land, Kenya’s Archbishop Eliud Wabukala said he did not know, nor was it fruitful for him to speculate.  This was a “crime” he said, that called for prompt police action.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Thrift a sign of Christian living says Archbishop: The Church of England Newspaper, October 14, 2012 p 6. October 16, 2012

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Archbishop Eliud Wabukala

Self-reliance and thrift should be the hallmarks of Christian living, the Archbishop of Kenya said last week, urging Anglicans not to rely upon the state or political leaders to build their churches.

Speaking at St Peter’s Osasme Church in Teso North in the Diocese of Katakwa on 2 Oct 2012, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala said “what a credible church needs to do is just buy envelopes for Christians to give their tithe on Sundays instead of waiting for politicians to come to their rescue.”

Relying upon politicians to help raise funds entangled the church in partisan politics, he warned, noting that the spirit of Christian giving was for the poor “whose only possession is a chicken, they can sell it for Sh500 and surrender Sh50 as tithe. This is the spirit of development that we need.”

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Water shortages lead to tribal battle in Kenya: The Church of England Newspaper, October 6, 2012 p 6. October 10, 2012

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Tribal clashes over the shortage of water in Eastern Kenya’s Coast Province have left 111 people dead, church leaders report. On 11 Sept 2012 the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) and the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya (EAK) denounced the government’s failure to intervene in clashes between Pokomo farmers and Orma nomads in the Tana River District.

On 10 Sept, 38 people, including nine policemen were killed in a revenge attack following weeks of fighting between farmers and cattle herders. “It is not enough for government to issue hard hitting statements after the damage is done,” Canon Peter Karanja of the NCCK and EAK General Secretary Dr Willy Mutiso said.

“It is indeed incomprehensible to us that more than a hundred Kenyans have been killed in Tana River County over the last three weeks yet the government seems either incapable of or un-committed to restoring sanity,” they said.

The church leaders urged the government to address the root cause of the conflict and establish secure property rights and grazing rights under law.  Eastern Kenya has been afflicted by drought in recent years and the access to water for farmers and pastoralists has led to violence. “As the custodian of security and safety of Kenyans, we call upon the government to ensure that it provided humanitarian relief to all the affected community members regardless of their ethnic backgrounds, and deploy adequate and well equipped security agents on the ground to protect all the community members without discrimination,” the church leaders said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Kenya’s bishops warn of election violence threat: The Church of England Newspaper, October 6, 2012, p 7 October 10, 2012

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The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Kenya has warned the East African nation it risks tribal and religious civil war over the forthcoming March 2013 General Elections if its political leaders do not pull back from hate speech.

In a statement read at the close of the House of Bishops meeting in Nakuru on 28 September 2012, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala said some politicians were guilty making “offensive political utterances with impunity” that strained “fragile inter-ethnic relations”. By appealing to race and religion, politicians were priming the country for an explosion akin to the violence that followed the 2008 elections, he warned.

The church called for the immediate appointment of a national Inspector General of Police before the elections, and urged the government to implement the reforms of the police services proposed by a blue ribbon commission. The bishops urged President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to act now in preparing the security services to ensure a peaceful, free and fair General Election.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Terror attack on Sunday School: The Church of England Newspaper, October 7, 2012 p 7. October 8, 2012

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One child has died and nine have been injured in an attack on a Sunday school class at St Cyprian’s Anglican Church in Nairobi.

On 30 Sept 2012 at approximately 10:30 local time, an explosion rocked the Christian education building of the congregation in the city’s Eastleigh District.  Ian Morio (9) was killed in the blast and nine other children were wounded.  Six of the injured are reported to be in critical condition and have been taken to Kenyatta National Hospital.

“Some witnesses are telling us they saw two men of Somali origin running towards the back of the church where explosion occurred,” Nairobi district police commissioner Wilfred Mbithi told reporters. A second report suggests the explosion was caused by a bomb planted in the building before the start of the class.

The bombing of St Cyprian’s is the latest in a series of grenade attacks and drive by shootings blamed on al-Shabaab since Kenya sent troops over the border into neighboring Somalia last year to restore order. Churches, bus stations and other public settings have been targeted in a low level terror campaign conducted by the Muslim terror group – an affiliate of al-Qaeda.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

 

Archbishop denounces govt AIDS sterilization programme: The Church of England Newspaper, September 30, 2012 p 6. October 5, 2012

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Retired Kenyan Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi

Church leaders in Kenya have denounced a government health programme to sterilize women with HIV/AIDS. In a statement released last week through the Kenya Network for Religious Leaders living with or affected by HIV and AIDS (KENERELA), the former primate of the Anglican Church of Kenya, Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi said it was a “pity” that in a time of “great scientific advancement in human reproduction, someone can go ahead and sterilizes a woman because she is HIV positive.”

Archbishop Nzimbi was joined by Muslim and Christian leaders in condemning the plan. They alleged that government health workers had been coercing HIV positive women to be sterilized by offering free medical treatment or food and medical aid for their children in return for undergoing the procedure.

As women with AIDS can now give birth safely to children who will be free from the disease, “any attempt to bar a woman from having children through forced sterilization amounts to violation of their rights,” the archbishop said in a statement published on 19 Sept 2012.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Land dispute may be behind Kenyan church bombing: Anglican Ink, October 2, 2012 October 3, 2012

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Bishop Joel Waweru of Nairobi and Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya visiting one of the victims of the 30 Sept 2012 bombing at St Cyprian’s Church

A property dispute is being investigated as an alternate theory of the crime in last Sunday bombing of St Cyprian’s Anglican Church in Nairobi which left one child dead and six seriously wounded.

While the 30 September 2012 attack on St Cyprian’s has all the hallmarks of an operation by the Somali-based Islamist group al-Shabaab, the question whether the bombing was related to a lawsuit between the church and a property developer pending in the Nairobi courts is also being considered.

Initial witness statements said two men of Somali appearance and dress were seen fleeing the scene after the explosion and were said to have thrown grenades.  However other witness reports said no one was in the alley when the explosion took place.

Nairobi’s police commissioner Njoroge Ndirangu reported that an examination of the crime scene indicated a limpet mine or an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) containing nails, ball-bearings and other pieces of shrapnel was electronically detonated alongside the wall of the Christian education building of St Cyprian’s Anglican Church at approximately 10:30 local time.  Shrapnel from the blast killed an eight year old boy and wounded several children attending a Bible study.  Six children were taken in serious condition to the capital’s Kenyatta National Hospital for treatment.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Terror attack on Sunday School leaves 1 dead, 9 injured: Anglican Ink, September 30, 2012 October 2, 2012

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Gunmen belonging to the Somali terrorist group, al-Shabaab, have been blamed for an attack upon a Sunday School at St. Cyprian’s Anglican Church in the Eastleigh District of Nairobi that has left one child dead and nine injured.

“Some witnesses are telling us they saw two men of Somali origin running towards the back of the church where explosion occurred,” Nairobi district police commissioner Wilfred Mbithi told reporters.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Gay marriage a greater moral threat than terrorism, bishop warns: The Church of England Newspaper, August 5, 2012 p 6. August 13, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Kenya, Church of England Newspaper, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue, Terrorism.
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The Anglican Bishop of Mombasa has come under sharp criticism for saying the moral threat to society posed by gay marriage was of greater long term consequence to Kenyans than the threat from terrorism.

On 22 July 2012 Bishop Julius Kalu told worshipers at Mombasa’s Anglican cathedral “our greatest fear as Church should not be the grenade attacks, but the new teachings like same sex marriages.”

Kenya has witnessed an upsurge of sectarian violence in recent months.  In April a grenade attack on a church killed one worshiper and on 1 July gunmen raided two churches killing at least 17 and wounding more than 60 people in Garissa, the capital of Kenya’s Northeast Province along the border with Somalia.  Garissa serves as the Kenyan Army’s base of operations in its campaign against the al Qaeda linked Somali Muslim terrorist group al Shabaab.

Bishop Kalu told the cathedral congregation that churches had seen a fall in attendance since the start of the al Shabaab bombing campaign as people have stayed at home, afraid of the violence.  While not deprecating the threat of terrorist violence, the bishop stated the greater evil was the lies of Satan that would pull people away from the faith – not the attacks of men.

“Christians must be fully armed spiritually as it is only divine intervention that will enable the country overcome these challenges,” the bishop said according to the East African Standard.

“The Church is at war with enemies of the faith,” Bishop Kalu said, citing those who sought to change the doctrine of marriage.

An editorial in the Nairobi Star took the bishop to task for his comments arguing that “these gays are not hurting anyone. They are minding their own business. And what they do behind closed doors with a consenting partner should remain private, just as it should for husband and wife.”

“Terrorism on the other hand is a deadly threat to Kenya,” the Star said as “many Kenyans die each year at the hands of al Shabaab. Tourism at the Coast is depressed because of terrorism. Gays do not hurt Kenya. Terrorists do hurt Kenya. It is extraordinary that Bishop Kalu cannot see this,” it said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Murder and death threats rock Kenyan diocese: The Church of England Newspaper, June 24, 2012 p 6. June 25, 2012

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Bishop Beniah Salala and the clergy of the Diocese of Mumias march in protest following the murder of the Rev. Benson Nandwa Makokha

A bishop’s call to investigate the murder of one of his priests has led to anonymous death threats and a campaign of silent intimidation, Bishop Beniah Salala of Mumias in Western Kenya reports.

On 14 April 2012 the body of the Rev. Benson Nandwa Makokha of Shibale was found in his vicarage.  The priest had evidently been murdered as he was preparing his sermon for the following morning.  While some police officials have suggested the motive for the crime may have been robbery, church officials believe the crime was a political murder.

After a police investigation declined to turn up any leads, Bishop Salala began to voice public criticisms of the investigation – and he began to receive text messages threatening him with death.

Speaking to local reporters from his home in Mumias, Bishop Salala said he had reported the threats to the police.  When he asked about the status of the investigation, he was told by the District Criminal Investigation Officer that the network tracker was not working and the text messages he received could not be traced.

While the bishop has been assigned a police guard, he told reporters that his safety was not the primary issue in the affair.  “Is it a crime to stand up and speak against vices? Do they think they will silence us by killing us? Will they kill me the way Alexander Muge was killed? Even if I have to die today in cold blood my spirit shall speak against the evil of this society. My spirit shall fight for justice because ours is a call from God,” the bishop said according to West FM.

On 14 Aug 1990 Bishop Alexander Muge of Eldoret was murdered on orders of the government of President Daniel Arap Moi, a former member of Kenya’s Directorate of State Intelligence – the Special Branch – told the country’s Truth Justice & Reconciliation Commission last March.

On 5 March 2012, Former Special Branch Inspector James Lando Khwatenge testified that the road accident in Busia that killed the outspoken bishop had been engineered by Special Branch to silence him, and to provide an example to political dissidents.

Church officials fear the murder of Fr. Makokha and the death threats against the bishop may presage a return to the political violence that surrounding the 2007 general elections.  Clashes between supporters of President Mwai Kibaki and his opponent Raila Odinga turned violent after the president was declared the winner on 27 December 2007.

While some protests were peaceful, in the slums of Nairobi and in Odinga’s Nyanza Province violence erupted as police clashed with demonstrators.  Mob violence soon targeted ethnic minorities, with members of President Kibaki’s Kikuyu tribe targeted for attack in areas outside their traditional homelands.  The worst violence took place in the Rift Valley and Western Kenya, culminating in the murder of 30 Kikuyu sheltering in a church in Eldoret on 1 January 2008.  Across the country police estimated over 1000 people were killed and thousands left homeless by the political and tribal pogroms.

However, a police spokesman told West FM the investigations into the murder and death threat were on-going and it was too soon to ascribe a motive to the crimes.  “I can assure you that both the murderers and those threatening the Bishop will be brought to book. The bishop should be patient with us,” a police spokesman said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

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

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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.

Wabukala withdraws support from AMiA: Anglican Ink, May 5, 2012 May 5, 2012

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The Archbishop of Kenya has withdrawn from the Anglican Mission in America’s (AMiA) College of Consultors.  Sources within the AMiA and in the Anglican Church of Kenya tell Anglican InkArchbishop Eliud Wabukala has written to Bishop Chuck Murphy withdrawing his patronage from the organization.

Last week Bishop Murphy announced that five primates – Archbishop Henri Isingoma of the Congo, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya, and retired archbishops Emmanuel Kolini, Yong Ping Chung and Moses Tay – had agreed to provide archiepiscopal oversight for the AMiA as it reconstitutes itself as a mission society.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Doctrinal fisure opens over African aid: The Church of England Newspaper, March 30, 2012 p 7. April 3, 2012

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Eliud Wabukala

The Archbishop of Kenya has criticized idolatry of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) saying faith in Christ, not works performed in his name, is the path of salvation.

The 22 February 2012 letter written by Archbishop Eliud Wabukala on behalf of the Gafcon primates chastised Christians who in the pursuit of social and economic change, lost sight of the centrality of the cross and the primacy of repentance and amendment of life.  “While it is obvious that such good things as feeding the hungry, fighting disease, improving education and national prosperity are to be desired by all, by themselves any human dream can become a substitute gospel which renders repentance and the cross of Christ irrelevant,” he said.

While the archbishop’s letter stands in contrast to recent Western church endorsements of the MDGs – a series of 8 initiatives adopted by the U.N. member states that seek to address education, healthcare, and poverty issues – the African church, not America is the focus of concern The Church of England Newspaper has learned.

An Anglican African theological divide has arisen whose point of conflict is the agenda of the Western-financed staff of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) and the archbishops of the Gafcon movement.  At issue are disputes over ecclesiology — understanding of the purpose of the church — and the doctrine of justification, sources tell CEN.

In a summary of the international scene given to the Church of Uganda’s standing committee last month, Archbishop Henry Orombi warned the diverging viewpoints on human sexuality coupled with a different ordering of priorities was leading to a “massive clash of worldviews” amongst Anglicans, “and if we as leaders are not aware of what’s going on at this international level, then our sheep may be eaten by wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

In his Lenten letter, Archbishop Wabukala wrote in Kenya the church seeks to “equip God’s people to transform society with the gospel.”  Such a transformation is far “more lasting” than the work of governments or NGOs because the Gospel “addresses our deepest need, that of a restored relationship with the God.”

When believers stop placing their full trust in God, they become “vulnerable to taking short cuts that lead us away from the truth of the gospel. Some church leaders seem to think that the transformation of society will simply come through commitment” to the MDGs.

“While it is obvious that such good things as feeding the hungry, fighting disease, improving education and national prosperity are to be desired by all, by themselves any human dream can become a substitute gospel which renders repentance and the cross of Christ irrelevant,” Archbishop Wabukla said.

Archbishop Wabukala also questioned the philosophical rationale for the Western aid industry.  The MDGs “have grown out of a secularised Western culture which is pushing Christianity to the margins and uses the language of human rights and equality to promote irresponsibility in social life and diminish personal responsibility.”

At its 11th council meeting held 4 – 8 Feb 2012 in Bujumbura, Burundi the CAPA staff presented a strategic plan for the future of the African church. “Embodied in this strategy document are CAPA’s intentions, dreams and aspirations with regard to improving the quality of life of the people and all creation on the African continent (John 10.10),” the document stated.

However, critics from the Church of Uganda told CEN Jesus’ words “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full” were now being construed to mean “quality of life” rather than “eternal life.”

The new agenda for CAPA is based in part on a paper prepared by a Belgian scholar, Marguerite Peeters entitled “The new global ethic: challenges for the Church” that gives a theological justification for the globalist world view adopted by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the coalition government of Prime Minister David Cameron.

Critics of the “new global ethic” paper note the words “sin, repent, repentance, cross” were absent from the paper.  By taking on board the new globalist mindset “CAPA unfortunately has retreated from the distinctiveness of its Biblical heritage and a Biblical worldview,” East African Anglicans tell CEN and has “chosen the path of the ‘new global ethic’ to reach the noble destination of addressing poverty and oppression.”

The transformation of the world will not come from governments or aid agencies, he said, but from the “good news of the gospel” that transforms “ordinary men,” Archbishop Wabukala said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Bishop’s murder politically motivated: The Church of England Newspaper, March 9, 2012, p 7. March 15, 2012

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Bishop Alexander Muge of Eldoret, Kenya

Bishop Alexander Muge of Eldoret was murdered on orders of the government of President Daniel Arap Moi, a former member of Kenya’s Directorate of State Intelligence – the Special Branch – told the country’s Truth Justice & Reconciliation Commission this week.

On 5 March 2012, Former Special Branch Inspector James Lando Khwatenge testified that the 14 August 1990 road accident in Busia that killed the outspoken bishop had been engineered by Special Branch to silence him, and to provide an example to political dissidents.

The murder was planned by the security services as “Operation Shika Msumari”, Inspector Khwatenge said. However, the acted on their own initiative to plan the murder he told the commission.

In the late 1980’s, Kenya’s Christian churches were in the vanguard of the campaign to end one party rule by the Kenya African National Union (KANU). The Church of the Province of Kenya in 1990 pressed the KANU government to amend the constitution and allow a multi-party political system, an independent judiciary, protection of tenure for the Attorney General and Auditor-General, a secret ballot for elections, and a limit on the tenure of office for the president to two five year terms.

The country’s churches backed the Anglican call for reform and in June 1990 urged President Moi to dissolve parliament, convene a national constitutional conference and hold free and fair elections. Large-scale political demonstrations erupted in July, which prompted a government crackdown, with the government detaining its most vocal critics, charging them with sedition.

In response, Bishop Alexander Muge of Eldoret and his colleague, Bishop John Okullu of Maseno South called for the president to step down and for fresh elections. On 12 Aug 1990, Labour Minister Peter Okondo warned Bishop Muge that if he and Bishop Okullu entered the Busia district “they will see fire and may not leave alive.”

Bishop Muge told the press the next day: “Let [Okondo] know that my innocent blood will haunt him forever and he will not be at peace for God does not approve murder.”

On 14 Aug 1990, Bishop Muge and his staff set out for Busia in the Diocese of Eldoret, when the car in which the bishop was travelling collided with a lorry. Bishop Muge was killed on impact. The lorry driver was arrested and given a seven year sentence for dangerous driving, but died in prison five years later.

In a radio address delivered after the bishop’s death, President Moi said Bishop Muge was a “devoted son of his country” and said he had learned of his death with “deep shock and distress.”

In his testimony this week before the Truth commission, Inspector Lando Khwatenge stated the security services took it upon themselves to silence the bishop. “Okondo said these words to be seen as a loyal Nyayo follower but then people took advantage of this,” the inspector said.

Inspector Lando Khwatenge’s testimony was cut short by the commission, but its chairman Berhamu Dinka said they would reconvene to hear further evidence on the murder at a future date.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

East African archbishops’ New Year’s plea for integrity: The Church of England Newspaper, January 6, 2012 p 6. January 8, 2012

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Anglican leaders in East Africa have marked the start of the New Year with a call for the political and moral reformation of their countries.

In a sermon preached on New Year’s Day at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi, the Archbishop of Kenya, the Most Rev. Eliud Wabukhala warned Kenyans not to heed the claims of those who say higher salaries would solve the country’s woes.  While a living wage was essential for all workers, the government should first address wide spread corruption and fraud.  If a strong and moral civil society existed that did not tolerate corruption, the economy would grow, new jobs would be created and society as a whole would benefit.

Archbishop Wabukhala also urged Kenyans to set aside tribalism and seek what was best for the commonweal.  “Let us learn from Ghana where the current President beat his rival by a mere 40,000 votes, the opponent accepted the results and today Ghana is peaceful and moving on as one united country,” the archbishop said.

“It is my hope that we have learnt from the past as portends election years and that this year will be different,” he said.  If not, the country could be pushed once more to the brink of anarchy, Archbishop Wabukhala said.

In his New Year’s Day address, the Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi said Uganda’s suffering was a consequence of its sin.

Speaking at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Namirembe, Archbishop Orombi said Ugandans were in need of spiritual regeneration. “Corruption and greed is embedded in us right from childhood,” he said, adding that even those who stole found it could not satisfy their base instincts.

“The heart is deceitful. The human heart is a liar, corrupt and greedy and it is beyond cure. Only God can heal it,” he said.

But if the nation turned to Christ there was hope. “It is this hope that will heal us and this hope can start by us blaming ourselves for all the wrong actions that have impacted on our nation.”

The Archbishop of Tanzania, the Most Rev. Valentino Mokiwa urged his countrymen to follow the path of righteous also.

“As we embark on the New Year, I would like to stress that the precondition for attaining a prosperous 2012 for every Tanzanian irrespective of their religious, tribal, political or any other affiliations, is to strive for integrity. Integrity is the ladder that will lead us to whatever our dreams are.”

“It is the best tool of achieving social, economic and cultural progress,” Archbishop Mokiwa said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Kenyan church call for tax cuts: The Church of England Newspaper, Oct 14, 2011 p 6. October 16, 2011

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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Tax cuts, prayer, and efficient government were among the chief topics of the Anglican Church of Kenya’s provincial synod last month.

Meeting at the All Saints’ Cathedral Trinity Centre on 30 Sept 2011, the synod released a pastoral letter under the signature of the Archbishop of Kenya Dr. Eliud Wabukala that touched upon a series of industrial accidents and other issues facing the nation.

To “those who have lost loved ones in the several cases of road carnage, the Sinai slum and Busia tanker fires, deaths caused by the consumption of lethal local brews, collapsing of buildings under construction and the inhaling of poisonous chlorine fumes in Shauri Moyo,” the church offered its prayers and support.

“Some of these disasters are preventable, if only individuals and corporate institutions would be more proactive in protection of human life,” said Dr. Wabukala.

The church faulted the government’s response to recent calamities, saying “little has been done to implement the Disaster Preparedness policies and prescribed regulations” set down by law.  Nor had the government enforced regulations prohibiting the illicit production of alcohol, which had led to a rash of poison deaths.

“As Christians, there is no question on the effectiveness of prayer when dealing with threats to human life. We call upon churches across denominations to join in prayer for comfort and peace for all who are bereaved and for God to avert the disasters that have been witnessed in our country,” the synod letter  said.

In the wake of rising food, fuel and housing prices, the church also urged the Government to cut taxes to stimulate the economy.  In addition to their economic stimulus value, the tax cuts would “be a show of concern and solidarity with the majority of Kenyans who are struggling to make ends meet.”

The synod also called upon Parliament to refrain from piecemeal amendments to the constitution and joined in tribute to the late Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai.  “Her efforts positioned Kenya in the map of the world as a land capable of bringing forth a heroine whose resilience, commitment and vision won her praise and accolades worldwide.”

She was a “passionate environmentalist who stood firm against deforestation and paid a great price to reclaim grabbed public land at a time when land grabbing was rife in the country. Her legacy echoes to each one of us to be a hummingbird, doing the best we can to bring the change we want to see” in Kenya, the synod said.

Nairobi slum fire kills 119: The Church of England Newspaper, Sept 23, 2011 September 27, 2011

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Prime Minister Raila Odinga visiting the scene of the tragedy

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Archbishop of Kenya has been tapped by the Government of Kenya to lead an ecumenical prayer service for the victims of last week’s Sinai slum fire.

On 12 September a gas pipeline exploded in Lunga Lunga, an industrial area in Northern Nairobi that has also become home to over 100,000 squatters . Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi told VOA the explosion was caused by a leaking valve. Petrol then spilled into an open sewer in the Sinai slum settlement.

“When people smelled oil there, they went to fetch it and it caught fire because some were cooking, others were smoking, so there were various explosions in the place, and that is the cause of so many deaths,” said Mr Mukuru.

The government reported that 119 people had died as a result of the inferno; 37 died in hospital, while 82 bodies were recovered at the site.

In 2008 the government ordered residents of the area to leave. But as soon as the slum was cleared new migrants into the city took their place. Similar pipeline fires have killed hundreds of people across Africa in recent years. Migration into the cities and the dearth of housing has seen shanty towns and squatters’ settlements founded below power lines, alongside railroad tracks and around industrial plants.

On 22 September Archbishop Eliud Wabukala will lead an interfaith service for the dead at Nairobi’s Uhuru Park. Families will then be able to collect the remains for private burial; 49 bodies have yet to be identified.

Govt incompetence exacerbating East African famine, Archbishop charges: The Church of England Newspaper, Aug 12, 2011 p 5. August 17, 2011

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Archbishop Eliud Wabukala

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Starvation in East Africa was a result of drought compounded by government incompetence, the Archbishop of Kenya said last week.

The United Nations Food & Agricultural Organization reports that over 11 million people, including 2.3 million children under the age of 5, are in urgent need of food and water in the horn of Africa: Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea and Kenya following two years of drought that has left over 10,000 dead.

The situation is particularly acute in Somalia, the UN’s refugee agency reported, where 3.7 million people are facing food shortages.  Almost 300,000 people live in two provinces in Somalia that have now been declared famine areas.  However, the pro-al Qaeda Islamist group al-Shabab has refused access to allow Western aid agencies in the worst hit regions, but has permitted relief from Muslim countries to be distributed in the territory they control.

In an account of a speech given in Bungoma last week printed by the Nairobi Standard, Kenyan Archbishop Eliud Wabukala chastised the government, saying the food shortages in Northern and Eastern Kenya were the “result of government’s failure to plan.”

Drought was a cyclical occurrence in the Horn of Africa, the archbishop said, arguing the government should have had plans in place to deal with threat.

“Government knew from forecasts the drought would be severe and ought to have planned adequately how to deal with the food situation to save those people now starving but leaders did nothing. They have again let Kenyans down letting the situation deteriorate into massive human suffering” the archbishop said.

On Aug 3, the Anglican Church of Kenya released a pastoral letter stating the country was facing two “major challenges”: the drought and the “inconsistent manner of the constitutional implementation process.”

While the rains had failed in Eastern Kenya, the drought had been exacerbated by the government’s “structural failures.”

There are regions of Kenya that “currently have plenty of food e.g. Nyandarua, Western Kenya, Trans Nzoia and Uasin Gishu. What mechanisms are in place to ensure that this food is harvested, preserved, put in strategic reserves and distributed as needed,” the church asked.

“Food insecurity is ultimately a security concern, as a hungry person is an angry person,” the church said.

Kenyan call to combat the “vice” of corruption: The Church of England Newspaper, April 1, 2011 p 8. April 6, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Kenya, Church of England Newspaper, Corruption.
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Standing Committee members meeting in Nairobi

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

New dioceses, a new university and concerns over government corruption and political wrangling topped the bill of the Anglican Church of Kenya’s standing committee meeting last month in Nairobi.

Meeting from March 2-3 at All Saints Cathedral, the standing committee began work on a ten year plan for the church taking as its slogan, ‘Together for Christ’.  In 2011 the church will focus its energies on Kenya’s “education debate; our commitment to developing the Anglican University and engaging intentionally in programs that will address peace building and conflict management.”

Church leaders discussed the proposal to create a new diocese from the Marsabit Area Mission—some 350 miles north of Nairobi near the border with Ethiopia.  The standing committee also approved the creation of the Kenya Anglican University Trust to oversee the construction and operation of the new school which is to be built at Kanyuambora in the Diocese of Mbeere.

Sunday March 27 was designated “Provincial Education Day” by the standing committee, and a goal of raising 300 million Kenyan Shillings was set to begin the first stage of construction.

Every Kenyan Anglican was asked to contribute to the school: “at least 100 Shillings for adults,  50 for youth and 20 for children;” (20 Shillings equals 15 pence.)

The church leaders also urged government leaders to stamp out corruption and implement responsibly the constitution adopted last year, and “commit themselves to working towards ensuring an equitable distribution of resources and the strengthening of institutions that will ensure good governance and put a stop to the relentless pursuit for power.”

“We urge all our national leaders to focus on keeping Kenya united especially as we move towards 2012 general elections by desisting from dividing people along ethnic lines or running into ethnic enclaves for support in political contests,” the standing committee said, urging President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga “to rise above personal interests and focus on national issues by ensuring continuous and meaningful consultations” with the people.

The Church “notes with a lot of concern that some of our political leaders have been misleading the nation with their careless utterances,” the said, reminding politicians that they must comport themselves in a “dignified manner as they discharge their official duties in and out of Parliament and respect the codes of conduct that govern various institutions.”

Corruption was not solely a government problem, they said, and “winning the war against corruption will not be just confined to the top leaders.”

“We encourage all Kenyans to once again take the fight against corruption seriously and personally. In order to achieve this, every Kenyan must support the institutions and structures that have been put in place to fight this vice,” the said.

Archbishops: Do not allow criminals to escape justice by appeals to tribe!: The Church of England Newspaper, Jan 28, 2011 p 8. February 1, 2011

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Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya

Tribal and ethnic tensions must not derail the pursuit of justice and truth, church leaders in Kenya declared last month.

Speaking at All Saints’ Cathedral in Nairobi on Christmas Day, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala urged Kenyans not to view life through the prism of ethnicity, while his Roman Catholic counterpart Cardinal John Njue urged politicians to be “agents of peace and not the other way round.”

On Dec 15, International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo brought an indictment against six prominent Kenyans.  Former higher education minister William Ruto, Minister for Industrialization Henry Kosgey and radio broadcaster Joshua Sang were charged with conspiracy to commit murder and ethnic cleansing against supporters of President Mwai Kibaki.

In a separate indictment Moreno Ocampo charged Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Cabinet Secretary Francis Muthaura and former police commissioner Maj. Gen. Mohammed Hussein Ali with committing crimes against humanity upon the supporters of Prime Minister Raila Odinga in the post-election violence.

The 2007 general election sparked a sharp clash between supporters of President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga.  Over 1000 people were killed in tribal and political clashes and tens of thousands were driven from their homes.

In his Christmas sermon delivered at the Holy Family Basilica, Cardinal Njue said the uncertain political climate required political leaders from all parties to eschew violence and tribal passions.  “This is not time for hatred,” he said.

Archbishop Wabukala lamented the tendency of some Kenyans to protect members of their own tribe.  Politicians accused of corruption were defending themselves with appeals for tribal support, he said.

Tribal violence fears in Kenya in wake of ICC indictments: The Church of England Newspaper, Dec 24, 2010 p 6. December 27, 2010

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

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Church leaders in Kenya have called for calm in the wake of an International Criminal Court prosecutor’s call for the indictment on charges of “crimes against humanity” of six Kenyan political leaders.

On Dec 15, Luis Moreno Ocampo asked the court in The Hague to charge former higher education minister William Ruto, Minister for Industrialization Henry Kosgey and radio broadcaster Joshua Sang with planning a campaign of murder and ethnic cleansing in the Rift Valley against supporters of President Mwai Kibaki.

In a separate indictment Moreno Ocampo charged Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta—son of  Kenya’s first president Jomo Kenyatta—Cabinet secretary Francis Muthaura and former police commissioner Maj. Gen. Mohammed Hussein Ali with murder, deportation, persecution, rape and crimes against humanity committed against supporters of Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Kenya’s 2007 general election sparked a sharp clash between supporters of President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga.  Over 1000 people were killed in sectarian and ethnic clashes and tens of thousands were driven from their homes by the fighting.

Kenyan political and church leaders have urged calm in the wake of the announcement, seeking to head off a new round of violent tribal clashes.  “As a nation we must also focus on the need for national healing and reconciliation. This is paramount as we move forward on the path of national peace and unity,” President Kibaki said.

“I appeal to Kenyans to remain calm. The government will remain vigilant and ensure that the rights of its citizens and the dignity of the nation are upheld,” the president said.

On Dec 18 Archbishop Eliud Wabukala also called for calm.  Speaking in Eldoret in the Rift Valley at the retirement ceremony of Bishop Thomas Kogo, the archbishop said Kenya would overcome the hatred loosed by the post-election violence by seeking reconciliation and not by “pointing accusing fingers.”

Cardinal John Njue warned worshippers at Nairobi’s Roman Catholic Cathedral on Sunday not to be seduced by the blandishments of agitators seeking to incite tribal hatreds.  “Christmas is a season of love and sharing. We must remember that we are one people. Let us not be used by others to turn against each other,” he said.

However, the Anglican Bishop of Mumias, the Rt. Rev. Beneah Salala joined other civic leaders in calling for the four accused currently serving in government to step down from office.

“The new constitution is very clear that once a public officer is implicated in a criminal matter, that officer must step aside until they are cleared through the due process,” the Mumias ACK bishop told reporters.

On Dec 16, Prime Minister Odinga told Parliament the three government ministers and the head of the civil service would remain in office for the present.  “They will continue to hold public offices until the summons are issued as per the Rome Statute,” Mr. Odinga said.

Kenya government ‘colluded in murder’ of bishop: The Church of England Newspaper, October 1, 2010 p 6. October 2, 2010

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Bishop Alexander Muge of Eldoret was murdered on orders of the government of President Daniel Arap Moi, a former member of Kenya’s Directorate of State Intelligence – the Special Branch – told a Nairobi newspaper last week.

Former Special Branch Inspector James Khwatenge told the Sunday Nation on Sept 18 the auto accident that killed Bishop Muge on Aug 14, 1990 was no accident, but had been engineered by the Special Branch to silence the outspoken government critic and democracy activist.

Suspicions the government was behind the bishop’s death have circulated since his death, however, Mr. Khwatenge’s statement to the press is the first direct evidence of government involvement. The former security officer told the Nation that he wants to testify before the Kiplagat team, a truth commission set up to examine Kenya’s political history, and end the mystery surrounding the bishop’s death.

In the late 1980’s, Kenya’s Christian churches were in the vanguard of the campaign to end the country’s one party rule by the Kenya African National Union (KANU). The Church of the Province of Kenya, the former name of the Anglican Church of Kenya, in 1990 pressed the KANU government to amend the constitution guaranteeing a multi-party political system, an independent judiciary, protection of tenure for the Attorney General and Auditor-General, a secret ballot for elections, and a limit on the tenure of office for the president to two five year terms.

The Roman Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church of East Africa, the Methodist Church and the National Council of Churches backed the Anglican call for reform and in June 1990 urged President Moi to dissolve parliament, convene a national constitutional conference and hold free and fair elections. Large-scale political demonstrations erupted in July, which prompted a government crackdown, with the government detaining its most vocal critics, charging them with sedition.

In response, Bishop Alexander Muge of Eldoret and his colleague, Bishop John Okullu of Maseno South issued a public call for the resignation of the government and new parliamentary elections. Bishop Muge also denounced KANU’s youth wing, after 40 armed activists surrounded a church where Bishop Okullu was preaching and threatened to horsewhip him if he continued to criticize the government.

On Aug 12, Labour Minister Peter Okondo warned Bishop Muge that if he and Bishop Okullu entered the Busia district “they will see fire and may not leave alive.”

Bishop Muge told the press the next day: “Let [Okondo] know that my innocent blood will haunt him forever and he will not be at peace for God does not approve murder.”

On Aug 14, Bishop Muge and his staff set out for Busia in the Diocese of Eldoret, when the car in which the bishop was travelling collided with a lorry. Bishop Muge was killed on impact. The lorry driver was arrested and given a seven year sentence for dangerous driving, but died in prison five years later.

In a radio address delivered after the bishop’s death, President Moi said Bishop Muge was a “devoted son of his country” and said he had learned of his death with “deep shock and distress.”

However, former Special Branch Inspector James Khwatenge said the bishop’s death was no surprise. Mr. Khwatenge, who was stationed in Eldoret at the time of the bishop’s death, told the Nation the “accident” was a cover by the government for the murder of the bishop.

“This was an induced accident,” he said, noting that days before the bishop’s death, four Special Branch officers arrived in Eldoret with orders to “finish the bishop.” The four had been sent from Nairobi after the “Eldoret team failed to execute the mission.”

Mr. Khwatenge’s claims have not been put to the test by a judicial inquiry, but support theories of the bishop’s death raised by his wife and supporters after the accident. No investigation or inquest was held following the bishop’s death in 1990.

The Anglican Church of Kenya did not respond to our request for comments on the allegations.

Kenyan archbishop’s wife dies in fall: The Church of England Newspaper, Sept 10, 2010 p 6. September 16, 2010

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Archbishop and Mrs Wabukala

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The wife of the Archbishop of Kenya, Caren Wabukala has died after a fall in her home in Nairobi.

A senior Kenyan bishop told The Church of England Newspaper that at approximately 8:00 pm, Mrs. Wabukala slipped on a step of a steep staircase at the archbishop’s official residence in Nairobi.  Her family was unable to revive her, and she was rushed to Nairobi Hospital, where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

Earlier in the day, Mrs. Wabukala and her husband, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, had attended the consecration of the Bishop of Nairobi, and that afternoon she participated in a Bible study and was reported as being in good spirits.

Archbishop Wabukala received word of his wife’s accident while waiting to board a plane to London, and rushed to Nairobi Hospital upon hearing the news.  However, he arrived after her death had been pronounced.

The mother of six children, Mrs Wabukala and her husband had been married for 34 years.

The Nairobi Standard reported that when news of the death was made public, government ministers and leaders of Kenyan society gathered at the archbishop’s official resident to offer their condolences.

Prime Minster Raila Odinga offered his “condolences to the archbishop, his family, friends and the Anglican Church where Caren served with dedication. I wish the archbishop the strength and courage to cope with the loss and assure him of support where needed.”

Kenyan vice-president Kalonzo Musyoka said Mrs Wabukala would be “remembered as a strong pillar in the Anglican Church, who stood firmly in her faith and contributed immensely to the spread of the work of God.”

The archbishop’s wife funeral service will take place on Sept 9 followed by internment in Bugoma on Sept 11.

Kenya adopts new constitution over church protests: The Church of England Newspaper, Aug 13, 2010 p 5. August 18, 2010

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President Mwai Kibaki

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

hurch leaders in Kenya have voiced disappointment over the approval of the country’s draft constitution in a national referendum held on Aug 4, but have pledged to support the outcome of the vote.

“The historic journey that we began over 20 years ago is now coming to a happy end,” President Mwai Kibaki said in a nationally broadcast address on Aug 5.  “Let us all join hands together to as we begin the process of national renewal under the new constitution.”

Almost 70 percent of the country’s 12 million voters supported the document, which will replace the constitution drawn up at independence in 1963.  The new constitution reduces the power of the president, setting up a system of checks and balances among the executive, the judiciary and parliament, and devolves power to the regional and local governments, while also creating a commission to begin work on the contentious issue of land reform.

Church leaders had objected, however, to provisions in the document that allow Muslims to set up a government backed Sharia court system, while Section 26 of the constitution included language which allowed abortions when in the “opinion of a trained health professional, there is need for emergency treatment, or the life or health of the mother is in danger, or if permitted by any other written law.”

The Catholic Church had called upon its members to vote ‘no’, while Anglican Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, who that while he would vote ‘no’, Anglicans were free to “vote their conscience.”

In a pastoral letter released after the preliminary results were announced, Cardinal John Njue and the Catholic Bishops Conference said, that while respecting the outcome, “truth and right are not about numbers. We therefore, as the shepherds placed to give moral guidance to our people, still reiterate the need to address the flawed moral issues in this proposed constitution. That voice should never be silenced.”

Education Minister William Ruto, the leader of the ‘no’ coalition, said his side would accept the outcome of the election. He called on the government to engage in negotiations over the parts the clauses on abortion and land ownership, and address the root causes of the tensions that led to violence and social unrest after the 2007 elections.

“You cannot just go and tell people ‘live together nicely, now forgive each other’ when in fact somebody lost his parents or lost his land or business and yet nothing has been done about it,” Bethuel Kiplagat, chairman of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, told Reuters AlertNet.

“We have to approach it through the healing of the individual and communities. If nothing is done about them; an acknowledgement, counseling and reparations.  I am afraid the seeds of the next conflict are dormant, waiting to explode again,” he said.

A date for the promulgation of the new document is to be announced with 14 days of the vote.  After the promulgation, parliament will be prorogued while top leaders will be required to take fresh oaths of office. In three months, parliament will form committees to implement the new law.

Churches call for ‘no’ vote on Aug 4 referendum: The Church of England Newspaper, August 6, 2010 p 5. August 5, 2010

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Archbishop Eliud Wabukala

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Church leaders held a joint prayer service on July 30 in Nairobi, urging Kenyans to vote “No” in the country’s Aug 4 constitutional referendum.

While opinion pollsters predict the constitution will be backed by a majority, a close vote will likely be seen as a moral victory by Christian leaders who disapprove of the new constitution’s legalisation of abortion and legal recognition of Islamic Khadi Courts to regulate marriage and inheritance in the Muslim community.

Kenya’s 2007 election divided the country along ethnic lines, with the violence between supporters of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), led by current Prime Minister Raila Odinga, and the Party of National Unity (PNU), led by President Mwai Kibaki, bringing the country to the brink of civil war.

However, Prime Minister Odinga and President Kibaki and their parties have united in support of the constitution, while the “no” campaign has brought together Christian leaders and Daniel Arap Moi, who served as president of Kenya from 1978 to 2002.

Political analysts fault the government for not consulting with the country’s churches in the drafting of the proposed constitution which seeks to decrease the power of the president and to create a system of checks and balances that can reduce corruption and the accumulation of power in few hands.  Church leaders have endorsed the constitution’s devolution of authority to local and regional governments, but say the documents support for abortion mandates a ‘no’ vote.

In the July 30 prayer service at the Holy Family Basilica in Nairobi, Roman Catholic Cardinal John Njue, Anglican Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, and the General Secretary of Kenya’s National Council of Churches Canon Peter Karanja along with the heads of the country’s main Christian churches called for unity and calm before the vote.

“It is true this Constitution has many good things but the good has been mixed with evil sections that affect the moral life and rights of this country in fundamental ways,” a joint statement by the leaders read by Canon Karanja said.

“There are no two ways; either we are Christians or we are not. You cannot tell me to approve something that goes against the commandments of God that say ‘do not kill’,” Cardinal Njue said, condemning the legalization of abortion under the proposed constitution.

Archbishop Wabukala concurred, saying “it is time the Church stands together and influences kingdom principles in our society.”

“The greatest right is the right to life.  This right does not need to be qualified for the unborn simply because they can’t speak for themselves,” the archbishop said.

Sharia law unconstitutional, Kenyan court finds: The Church of England Newspaper, May 28, 2010 p 6. June 7, 2010

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The Nairobi Law Courts

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

A three judge panel in Kenya has ruled that government funded Shariah law courts violates the constitution by giving Islam a privileged status under law.

Sitting as a Constitutional Court the judges held in a 114-page decision that government funding of kadhi courts, which adjudicate marriage, divorce and inheritance laws for Muslims, amounted to the privileging of one religion above all others, and was contrary to Sections 70, 78 and 82 of the Constitution.

While the May 24 ruling by Justices Joseph Nyamu, Anyara Emukule and Roselyn Wendoh comes in response to a 2004 lawsuit by Christian leaders, this week’s ruling backs the “no” campaign mounted by church leaders against the latest draft of the constitution that will be put before the country in a referendum in July.

In 2004, 26 church leaders filed suit over the Bomas Draft of the constitution, asking the court to block any form of religious courts, arguing that special Muslim courts violated the constitutional doctrine of separation of Church and State.

Under Kenya’s present Constitution, kadhi courts are permitted in ten-mile coastal strip in territory annexed by Britain from the Sultanate of Zanzibar.  The Bomas draft of the constitution sought to extend the reach of kadhi courts beyond the coastal strip to serve Muslims across Kenya.

The judges ruled that the “financial maintenance and support of the kadhi courts from public coffers amounts to segregation, is sectarian, discriminatory and unjust against the applicants and others… it amounts to separate development of one religion and religious practice contrary to the principle of separation of state and religion.

They further held that that Section 66 of the Constitution, which creates the office of the Chief Kadhi was inconsistent with the constitutional right of equal protection of the law.  The courts held that this section was discriminatory and unconstitutional and “should be expunged in its entirety from the said Constitution.”

Church leaders applauded the decision, saying it upheld their concerns over the plans to create a Sharia law court system and called upon the government to cancel the constitutional referendum.

The Chairman of Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims Abdulghafur Al-Busaidy said his group would study the ruling.  He told a news conference “we will have Muslim lawyers, MPs and religious scholars study the document and inform Kenyans on the way forward. We take this matter very seriously.”

However the secretary general of Kenya’s National Council of Churches Canon Peter Karanja urged the government to abide by the ruling.

“The government is the custodian of law and therefore we urge them to quickly implement the three judge bench ruling on the kadhi courts,’’ said Canon Karanja at a Nairobi news conference on May 25.

Kenyan church says ‘no’ to new constitution: The Church of England Newspaper, May 7, 2010 p 8. May 14, 2010

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Archbishop Eliud Wabukala

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Anglican Church of Kenya (AKC) has rejected the country’s draft constitution, encouraging its members to vote against ratification in this summer’s nationwide referendum.

The AKC now joins the Catholic Church and the National Council of Churches of Kenya in opposing the revised constitution endorsed by Parliament and the Cabinet of President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

However, the Church will not take an active role in the coming political battle. Clergy and churchgoers may participate in the ‘no’ campaign as individuals, but as an institution, the Church will not fund nor take part in what is expected to be a contentious campaign.

On April 29 the Church’s House of Bishops released a statement following an all-day meeting at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi. The bishops said the government’s decision to refuse to consider any amendments to the draft had forced the Church to act.

“We therefore say ‘no’ to the proposed constitution as it is unless amendments are effected before the referendum,” the bishops said in a statement read to the press by Archbishop Eliud Wabukala.

The Archbishop said the exemption for Muslims from the Bill of Rights, the institutionalization of Kadhi courts governed by Sharia law with the justice system, and the permissive stance on abortion was unacceptable to the Church.

Archbishop Wabukala urged government leaders to adopt a neutral position on the constitution. It was the view of the Kenyan bishops that the “President and the Prime Minister should not be taking sides for Yes or No but should be spearheading national healing and reconciliation,” he said.

The Archbishop added that the bishops were “appalled by the decision and declaration by the Cabinet that no amendments can and will be made prior to the referendum. The declarations are therefore in our opinion misplaced, unconstitutional and an attempt to dictate on the outcome of the referendum”.

After Parliament endorsed the draft constitution last month, the Catholic Church immediately came out against the bill. However, Archbishop Wabukala said the Anglican Church would hold off taking a formal position until after a church-wide consultation had been held to gauge the views of its members.

Last month the Archbishop stated he was inclined to support the draft, arguing that its offending provisions could be removed by amendments passed by Parliament. However, he stated this was his private view and not the view of the Church.

Former Archbishop David Gitari came out in favour of the draft, the Kenyan Broadcasting Corporation reported. “The draft constitution is democratic and guarantees justice, end of corruption and impunity therefore we cannot be neutral on this matter,” Dr Gitari said, and was better than the current post-independence constitution.

However, former Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi urged rejection of the draft, saying as a matter of conscience he could not support the abortion and Kadhi court clauses. “There is need for truth to prevail in the country in this time when Kenyans are at crossroads over the constitutional dispensation,” he told the KBC, adding that Kenyans “needed to be fully educated on the constitution because it will affect their lives but they are now being influenced without hindsight of the contents.”

The head of the ACK’s advocacy group, Bishop Beneah Salala of Mumias, told the Sunday Nation that the Church would not fund the ‘no’ campaign. “As a bishop, I will never ask Christians to tithe and give their money to fund the No campaign. We don’t want to antagonise Kenyans,” he said.

In his sermon at All Saints Cathedral on May 2, Archbishop Wabukala said he feared the forthcoming campaign would be short on substance and long on emotion. It was a “difficult time” in the nation’s history, he said, but urged Kenyans to “use the next one month to read the document and pray.”

However, as a Christian, he had a duty to speak out against clauses in the draft that were contrary to Christian teaching, the archbishop said.

Church and state showdown in Kenya over Shariah Law: The Church of England Newspaper, April 28, 2010 May 2, 2010

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

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Kenya’s government has rejected pleas from church leaders to amend the country’s proposed constitution, and will take it directly to the people for approval in a national referendum.

The April 27 decision by Kenya’s Cabinet sets the government on a collision course with the country’s churches and opposition leaders, who have voiced strong protests to the special exemptions given to Muslims who will be allowed to use a parallel Sharia law Kadhi court system and the document’s weak language on abortion.

Catholic leaders have promised to mobilize their members to vote no on the referendum.  On Easter Sunday Archbishop Eliud Wabukala said no formal decision had been made by the Anglican Church on the draft constitution.  “All our bishops are taking the debate to the grassroots this month. At the end of it they will be back with their findings, after which the church will give its directive.”

Following a meeting of the cabinet at State House in Nairobi, the government’s press office released a statement saying, “after the review the Cabinet concluded that it was practically impossible at this stage to amend the Constitution of Kenya or Constitution Review Act in order to accommodate concerns expressed by Christian Church leaders and others.  Consequently, the Cabinet agreed to support the draft constitution in its current form.”

The government did hold out the possibility of a future compromise or amendment saying it would seek to “accommodate the concerns of the Christian Churches on the issue of abortion and right to life”.

The National Council of Churches of Kenya has objected to Article 26 which states, “abortion is not permitted unless, in the opinion of a trained health professional, there is need for emergency treatment, or the life or health of the mother is in danger, or if permitted by any other law.”

They have also protested the provision under Articles 169 & 170 for Muslim-only courts, which would have jurisdiction over issues of family law, inheritance and other issues of “personal status” for Muslims.  They have also objected to Article 24(4) which would exempt Muslims from the protections of the Bill of Rights.

While Kadhi courts have been in existence since British colonial rule, the exemptions and special rules for Muslims under the new constitution has elicited protests that Islam has been given a privileged place under law.

Islam in Kenya has also changed over the past twenty five years adopting a more hard-line stance under the influence of Saudi-trained imams and Saudi-financed madrassas.  On April 26 Reuters reported that Islamic clerics in northeastern Kenya have called upon the government to ban football broadcasts on state television, as soccer-mania was luring young Muslims away from Islam.

The referendum has not yet been scheduled, but is expected to take place by August.

Church and State in collision course over proposed Kenyan Constitution: The Church of England Newspaper April 9, 2010 p 8. April 15, 2010

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

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Kenya’s Parliament has approved a draft version of the country’s new constitution, which will now be sent to the nation for approval in a national referendum.

Last week’s vote however puts the government on a collision course with church leaders. The secretary general of the National Council of Churches of Kenya, the Rev Canon Peter Karanja, said Parliament’s approval of the draft, which included a government supported Sharia law court system and omitted to outlaw abortion, was unacceptable.

“As we have stated clearly before, we will not accept a draft that promotes one religion over another. We had not anticipated a confrontation, but we are being pushed to one,” Canon Karanja told reporters, adding that the question of ‘kadhi courts’ was not a theological issue, “but rather one of justice and equality.”

An amendment offered by supporters of the churches’ position in Parliament that would add a clause stating “the State and religion shall be separate” and that “State shall treat all religions equally” failed, as did as did an amendment offered by Public Health minister Beth Mugo to delete the word ‘abortion’ from the draft. When the issues were laid before Parliament on April 1, government MPs left the chamber, preventing a quorum of 145 MPs from being reached that would allow the amendments to be put to a vote.

On Easter Sunday President Mwai Kibaki urged religious leaders to support the new constitution as being a workable compromise. He noted that the Anglican Archbishop of Kenya had broken ranks with other church leaders and supported the new constitution.

Government spokesman claimed that Archbishop Eliud Wabukala had endorsed the draft as it was an improvement over the current one. The issue of Sharia law could be addressed through the amendment process, the government said, citing Dr. Wabukala, and should not be a reason to oppose the current draft.

However, the archbishop told the congregation of All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi on Easter Sunday it was “naive to assume that because the document has been passed by Parliament Kenyans will endorse it.”

No formal decision had been made by the Anglican Church on the draft constitution, he said. “All our bishops are taking the debate to the grassroots this month. At the end of it they will be back with their findings, after which the church will give its directive.”

“We have opened the debate,” he said, and after consultation with the laity would announce the church’s united front on the vote.

The Bishop of Eldoret the Rt. Rev. Thomas Kogo explained that while Archbishop Wabukala had given his “personal opinion about the draft,” it was incorrect for the government to claim this was the “stand of all church.”

Bishop Kogo said he opposed the draft, and supported the position of Kenya’s Roman Catholic leader Cardinal John Njue. The Roman Catholic Church has vowed to campaign against the new constitution as it gives a privileged position to Islam under law, and creates a legal right to abortion.

Kenyan ‘no’ to abortion and Sharia law: The Church of England Newspaper, April 1, 2010 p 8. April 11, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Abortion/Euthanasia/Biotechnology, Anglican Church of Kenya, Church of England Newspaper, Islam.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Kenya’s church leaders have warned that any accommodation of Sharia law or abortion in the nation’s proposed constitution will lead to its rejection by the nation’s Christians at the ballot box.

On March 18 the National Council of Churches of Kenya, the Anglican Church of Kenya, the Roman Catholic Bishops’ Conference, and other church groups released a statement saying that carving out a place for Sharia law and Kadhi Courts for Muslims within the judicial system was unacceptable.

The constitutional reform process had “consistently ignored the views of the Christian Community in Kenya” in preparing the new national charter, they said, noting that such a tactic would ensure the “draft is rejected” when put to a national referendum.

The church leader’s objections centered round Islam and abortion. The first draft of the constitution had contained two clauses: “that state and religion shall be separate,” and “that the state shall treat all religions equally.” This had been replaced by the clause “there shall be no state religion.”

Such an amendment was acceptable, provided the other two clauses were added back into the constitution. They also objected to Article 24(4) which would exempt Muslims from the protections of the Bill of Rights.

“The Church believes that no person should be denied or exempted from the provisions of the Bill of Rights whatsoever,” they said. Exempting Muslims from the protections of the Bill of Rights and giving them their own system of government-funded Khadhi Courts that were governed by Sharia law was “unacceptable.”

“If the Proposed Constitution shall contain any reference to Kadhis Courts, we shall reject the draft in total,” they warned.

“Providing for Kadhis Courts alone in a multi-religious society is a recipe for chaos, is repugnant to justice,” they said. However “in the interest of justice for all Kenyans and in consideration of the need for Kenya to get a new constitution,” Christians would agree to giving “religious courts” jurisdiction over “personal status, marriage, divorce and inheritance” when all parties to the dispute agreed to submit to their private arbitration.

Church leaders also asked that the constitution plainly state that abortion, capital punishment and euthanasia be outlawed. Speaking to the press on March 24, Cardinal John Njue has said that Christians will continue to lobby the government on these three issues.

The cardinal said this during an ecumenical meeting also attended by members of parliament at a Nairobi hotel on Wednesday March 24, 2010.

The “fight against abortion is the fight for family,” the cardinal said.

Anger over Kenya Sharia law proposal: CEN 2.12.10 p 6. February 19, 2010

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Granting Sharia law a special place in its new constitution will lead to break up of the country, the National Council of Churches of Kenya warned last week. At a Feb 1 press conference in Nairobi, Canon Peter Karanja, said that unless the proposal for a parallel Sharia court system for Muslims was removed from the current draft of the country’s new constitution, Kenya’s Christian Churches would urge its members to vote against ratification.

“It is possible to think Christians are being sensational, but if you look ahead at the next 50 years, 100 years, or couple of centuries, when none of us is working on a new constitution, or the full impact of these decision is experienced, people will look back and ask: Were Christians so naïve to allow this to happen?” Canon Karanja told reporters.

The NCCK statement charged the Muslim community with seeking to create an “Islamic state within a state. This is a state with its own Sharia compliant banking system; its own Sharia compliant insurance; its own Halaal bureau of standards; and is now pressing for its own judicial system.”

The “entrenchment of one religion in the constitution is a risk that we should not take,” they said.

The church leaders also objected to a provision in the draft constitution that would allows “persons professing Muslim religion” an exemption from the protections of the Bill of Rights.

“The Bill of Rights in our constitution is what defines who a Kenyan is. No Kenyan should be denied their rights whatsoever,” they said.

If the “draft constitution presented at the referendum does not reflect these cardinal principles, we the Christian Church in Kenya shall have no option but to reject it in total and vote NO,” the church leaders said.

Muslim leaders countered that the Sharia or Kadhi Court system had been in place since independence, and that the current system of laws was based on non-Muslim principles. “The current constitution and the draft are largely based on British Common Law, which borrows from Judeo-Christian laws and traditions,” Ibrahim Isaac of the International Da’awah Resource Centre told journalists on Feb 2.

The Muslim view was: “No Kadhi courts. No constitution,” he said.

Sharia law worry over new Kenyan constitution: CEN 12.04.09 p 6. December 9, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Kenya, Church of England Newspaper, Islam, Politics.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Kenya’s new constitution should not give special rights to Sharia law, the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) said last week at the close of a meeting of the House of Bishops in Limeru.

On Nov 27 Archbishop Eliud Wabukala told reporters the church did not “want the Constitution to be contradicted by elevating one religion above others. It should maintain equality.”

Kenyan bishops concerned over Sharia law

Muslim leaders have called for Kadhi Courts, Muslim-only courts empowered by the state to hear disputes that fall under the terms of Sharia law, to be given special protections and guarantees under Kenya’s new constitution.

Dr Wabukala said current laws that allow Parliament to authorise their creation was sufficient, but taking the further step to guarantee their powers under the new constitution would privilege Islam.

The bishops offered 20 recommendations to the Committee of Experts overseeing the drafting of the new constitution, including a clear statement guaranteeing the right to propagate a religion and the right to convert to another religion — points currently at odds with Sharia law.

They also asked that abortion be prohibited, with a statement that Kenyan law recognized the start of life at the moment of conception.

The bishops also urged a reform of Kenya’s national and local governments. Governors should be elected directly by the people, and not appointed by the central government, and the role, powers and boundaries of local governments be clearly delineated under the new constitution.

Judges should also be freed from political pressure, and the judiciary should be devolved to the local administrative areas. However the police and security services should be organized on a national level with a single commander in chief. The bishops also called for a clear demarcation of powers between the country’s President and Prime Minister.

Past attempts at constitutional reform had failed due to the interference of politicians and power brokers. Dr Wabukala said it was the duty of the Committee of Experts to “ensure that all Kenyans get access to the harmonised draft Constitution with adequate time provided for reading, evaluating and preparing memoranda” in response to the draft.

Kenyans faced an important moment in the life of their country, he said, and urged political and civic leaders to take part in “mature discussions of the draft so that we can chart the way forward for the country.”

“This draft is good but it can be better and we pray to God for blessings and guidance in our endeavour to get a new constitution,” the archbishop said.

Kenya urged to address resettlement of forest dwellers: CEN 12.04.09 p 6. December 9, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Kenya, Church of England Newspaper, Politics.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) has called for the government to take a “humane approach” to the problem of the resettlement of traditional forest dwellers in the country’s national parks.

On Nov 28 Archbishop Eliud Wabukala criticized the government’s eviction of 1900 Ogiek families from the 400,000 hectare Mau forest, saying it was “grossly inhumane” that they had been removed from their homes and “left to live on the road-sides. Such people should be given alternative settlement.”

Kenya urged to address resettlement of forest dwellers

“We recognize that the government has a duty to protect the environment. To this end the intention to reverse the destruction of Mau complex is noble,” the Archbishop said, but the government should also respect the rights of indigenous peoples.

The Mau forest controversy has also taken on political overtones, with MPs from the Rift Valley calling for a vote of no confidence on Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s handling of the controversy.

The Mau forest is Kenya’s primary watershed and its deforestation has led to the drying up of lakes and rivers that water the Serengeti plains in Tanzania and Kenya.

To reduce the loss of forest habitat, the government has begun removing the Ogiek people from the reserve along with squatters from the surrounding lowlands. A forest dwelling people, the Ogiek are subsistence farmers and hunter/gatherers.

Between 1904 and 1918 the British colonial government tried to expel the Ogiek from the forest. The forest was set aside as a preserve in 1932 and the colonial government in 1941 sought to remove them but succeeded only in driving them deeper into the forest.

In 1972 the Kenyan government expelled the Ogiek, but most moved back into the forest within six months. Expulsion campaigns have been mounted in 1987 and in 1992, but have been unsuccessful. While the government has focused its efforts on the Ogiek, the forest has suffered from extensive logging and livestock grazing. A government plan to settle the Ogiek on five-acre plots of land has drawn sharp criticism from NGOs as the bulk of the land has so far been given to migrants from outside the forest.

Member of Parliament Julius Kones told the Kenyan press there had been consultation among the leaders of three political parties to bring a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister over his handling of the evictions.

“It is absurd that Mr Odinga is happy to see squatters being removed from their farms without compensation or being resettled, yet it had been agreed in the Cabinet and Parliament that either of the options had to be fulfilled before the evictions were carried out,” Dr Kones charged.

However, the Prime Minister said those calling for his removal were “shedding crocodile tears” and were interested in consolidating their own power rather than taking the hard choices on preserving the environment.

Archbishop Wabukala called “upon all politicians to stop playing politics with this issue. Protection of the people of Kenya and the environment are not just matters of politics but of life and death.”

“Politics should not be played” in finding the right balance between the rights of indigenous peoples and environmental needs, the Archbishop said.