Archive for the If I was… Category

Why should Christians participate in Politics?

Posted in If I was... on August 8, 2016 by Kyama

Should they? Political leaders in Kenya famously told Christian leaders to stick to their Christian sphere and not interfere with politics. Are the two mutually exclusive? Does Christianity have anything to do with politics and political leaders? If politics is, a “dirty game” should Christians have anything to do with it? The separation of church and state has been a topic for constant philosophical debate dating back over a century. If the church and state should be separate, what business do Christians have voting? What authority, if any, do church leaders have to comment on political issues of a nation such as Kenya?

I believe the Christian in the African context has a God-given mandate to actively participate in the political life of their country. Christians have a role to play in every sector of leadership and governance living out their faith in Christ as they do so. Here is a short summary of my reason why.

Church and stateA Biblical Mandate: God has invited His people to extend his influence over the world. The physical, social, political, economic, and cultural aspects of our world suffer the effects of sin. This sin is evident in the brokenness we see in many aspects of human society. (Romans 8:19-22) This brokenness is addressed when God’s people live out their mandate. (Romans 8:19) This mandate covers all areas of human life including politics and governance. It is a continuous effort that began at the fall of man. (Genesis 3) It stepped up to a higher level when Jesus became God incarnate, teaching about the Father’s Kingdom. He then left his followers to carry on the work with the help of the Holy Spirit. That work will conclude when He comes back at the end of time. (Revelation 11:15) Throughout the Bible we can see evidence of this mandate among God’s people.

In the Beginning… The mandate for God’s people began in Genesis where God invited his people to “be fruitful and increase; fill the earth subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28) God invited Adam to exercise delegated authority over His creation. (Genesis 1:28) This call was repeated and extended when man got the authority name all creation, influencing the identity of the things that God created. (Genesis 2:19-20) In this way God’s people use their delegated authority from God to become agents of growth and even influence identity in God’s world. This mandate continues throughout God’s word. It is a foundational principle that governs our understanding of where Christians get the authority to participate in politics, governance, and leadership generally.

What about the Law? In the books of the law, the nation of Israel was presented as an initial model of God’s relationship with his people. Here, God presented an elaborate structure of what it means to live as a society under God’s rulership in that context. God gave a framework that touched all aspects of Israel’s life providing tangible examples of how God’s values and justice apply in human society. The rules covered most of the areas of Israelite personal and public life. For example, the life and priorities of a King in Israel were outlined in the law. (Leviticus 17:14-20) Many justice and legal systems in the world today, including the Kenyan one, can trace their structure, and origins to this law. Mostly, legal systems exisbible-law-gavelt to provide reasonable order and wholeness to human society. This is a God instituted value often called the “Shalom.” Though human legal and political structures have evidence of human brokenness, we still have a duty as Christians to establish them, reshape them, and serve under them, exerting God’s values as we do so.

Stories of Leaders and a Nation: The extensive narrative section of the leaders and prophets provide stories of the, often erratic, relationship God had with His people. The prophets arose, filled by the Holy Spirit, to speak the mind of God to generations of His people. Their voice arose both when the people did the right thing, or did wrong. In the same way,a Kingdom perspective gives Christians, and especially their religious leaders, the unique role of speaking the mind of God to their generation. In doing this they inform, remind, and reinforce God’s values in our political context. The following are some examples we find in scripture.

Of Kings and Prophets: Moses and Aaron demonstrated how leaders strive to depend on God as they gave direction in a season of terrible oppression in Egypt. Their journey documents what leadership looked like for them in a time of transition great uncertainty in the desert. (Exodus) Samuel directly participated in the selection and the inauguration of leaders at the early stages of Israel’s monarchy. (1 Samuel 8) His warning about the potential perils of earthly authority were pertinent at the time and remain relevant for reflection today. (1 Samuel 8:10-22) Nathan became God’s voice pricking King David’s conscience and explaining the consequences of his moral failure on his own family and the fledgling Kingdom. (2 Samuel 11-12) Ezekiel issued a challenge for God’s people to become the moral conscience of the society. He modelled this challenge in his own life as he explained his role as the watchman for the nation. (Ezekiel 33:1-20) This prophetic role, and the attendant responsibilities are as relevant today as they were then.

Amos taught that complacency had no place among religious leaders in the face of societal injustice. (Amos 5:18-27) Amos was vehement in his condemnation against systemic injustice in the society at the time. (Amos 5:1-17) When eventually Israel went into exile, Jeremiah gave direction to God’s people, encouraging them to exert positive influence and maintain their hope even under a potentially oppressive regime. (Jeremiah 29)

daniel_den_lionsNormal People, Extraordinary Influence: Others in the Bible became models for modern Christians through the lives they lived in exile, or under oppressive regimes. They were otherwise ordinary people who stepped into opportune moments in time, exerting God’s influence in making extraordinary decisions. Daniel became a civil servant, an agent of God’s influence through multiple unbelieving regimes in foreign lands. Esther was a unique example of influence that she exerted behind the scenes to ensure God’s purposes for His people prevailed. Deborah and Jael, in the book of Judges, overcame gender stereotyping to fill a glaring gap in national leadership at a critical time in Israel’s life. Each of these, and other Biblical role models, carried out their mission often at great personal cost, and despite their human weaknesses. Their lives and subsequent achievements are attributed to God’s influence over human affairs through the obedience of His servants. In the same way, God’s people acting in obedience to His Word can exert God’s influence over human affairs.

Jesus and Politics: Jesus Christ, God incarnate, provides the most comprehensive understanding for us of what a Kingdom perspective entails for God’s people. He taught that he did not come to abolish the law but to fulfil it. (Matthew 5:17) This statement comes with reference to His call to establish God’s Kingdom. (Matthew 5:19) His mission was to preach about the Kingdom of God, modelling its values with his own life. He instructed his followers to preach this Kingdom as well. (Matthew 10) In his life and ministry Jesus also spoke boldly and prophetically to the authorities of the day challenging the status quo. (Matthew 23) He then sent the Holy Spirit to teach, and empower the believer to be a witness to this Kingdom. (Matthew 23) Jesus had an expectation that his followers would do these same things and even more in their lives as His witnesses, and agents of God’s Kingdom. (John 14:12-14) Christians have the power Holy Spirit and Christ’s intercessory backing to effect God’s influence on earth through prayer and bold action.

Activ(ist) Apostles: We can see the dual effect of prayer and bold action in the apostles and the early Christians. In the book of Acts, we can see Paul-Silas-Jailerhow the Apostles became agents of God’s Kingdom as they influenced the world of their day. The Apostles began by living out God’s values within their community modelling God’s Kingdom to that society. (Acts 2:42-47, 4:32-37) Their lives demonstrating God’s love, sharing and community were a contrast to the society at the time. This was a powerful witness in and of itself. The Holy Spirit in some instances led the believers to power encounters that were noted by the authorities. Two notable examples are Peter’s miraculous healing acts that captured the attention of the authorities, and Paul’s dramatic prison release. (Acts 4:16, Acts 16:25-34) Peter was instrumental in the conversion of Cornelius, a military and political leader of his day. (Acts 10) Using different strategies, energized by the Holy Spirit, Paul, and his companions challenged the institutionalized idolatry of Ephesus, and the pagan philosophies in Athens. (Acts 19, 17:16-34) Like the Old Testament prophets, the Apostles’ lives were not without challenges. The authorities persecuted them for their beliefs. This was especially because of the way their Kingdom values upset the status quo. (Acts 4,7, 19) Still, they remained steadfast in being Christians implementing God’s Kingdom on earth. This same mandate to exert God’s influence in society remains in force over Christians today. God the Father has given his people the mandate to exert His influence over the earth. This mandate extends beyond the personal spiritual arena, into all the structures of human life. These include politics, governance, and leadership.

So should I vote, or become a politician (instead)? With this understanding of their mandate, Christians should vote. They do so with their Christian perspective, with their conscience, while exercising their responsibility to be agents of God’s influence on earth. Their voting choices must come out of their understanding of God’s values. In this way, by voting, Christians affirm the values they believe in. They exercise their minds, finding the right leader who best fits and represents God’s Kingdom values. Their vote is thus a personal duty of obedience. The result of the vote is outside the dictates of the individual, but within the realm of the omniscient and omnipotent God.

Similarly, Christians with the passion, call, qualifications and the networks also should go for electChristians in Politicsive office. They will work within the government structures to evaluate, enact, and propagate legal and governance structures that ensure God’s values of justice and equity for all. The same applies to civil servants who, like Daniel, should use their opportunity to serve in these structures to bring about God’s Kingdom values. Both politicians and civil servants have a high call to create structures and live such lives that will be a testimony to both believers and non believers of God’s power, righteousness, and justice. At the same time, they will be watchmen standing guard against God’s retribution against nations that harbour structural and systemic injustice.

Christian debate in Government? Opposition? Whether voters, politicians, civil servants, or other participants in national leadership governance structures, all have a duty to actively try to understand what the issues are and what their role is. Christians should engage their God given intellect to engage with the issues, making use of the diversity of experience and opinion that God has provided. This gift of diversity blossoms when Christians from different political persuasions, ethnic perspectives, professions, and experiences come to the table to passionately, exhaustively, and yet respectfully engage each other on issues.

There is a dire need for Christians in the government, in the opposition, in civil society, and other spheres who are bold enough to challenge others, and themselves on the best way to establish God’s wholeness and peace (“Shalom”) in the society. Where there is difference then temperance and respect should prevail. Where there is agreement then each should be honest enough to rise above the rhetoric for common good.

What if? Where existing leadership fails in aspects of justice and righteousness, then Christian leaders and their congregations should act. Such action does not invite or condone wanton bloodshed. However, such action is firm, clear, and driven by the Kingdom perspective that comes from God’s Word. They will systematically work within the existing God-instituted structures to address evil. There will also be instances where like the Apostles, Christians should oppose the authorities, respectfully yet firmly, challenging them at the risk of their personal lives. Whenever obedience to God is pitted against obedience to the propagation of systemic bloodshed and idolatry, then like Daniel, obedience to God must carry the day.

The-Christian-VotegsAnd those Bishops and Pastors? Christian leaders must teach God’s Word and its application beyond personal spiritual life. God’s word is powerful and effective for the individual, and it is also applicable and powerful for national and global issues. Christian leaders, like Old Testament prophets, must be prepared to fearlessly speak the mind of God to their generation. In some instances, Christian leaders may use their spiritual authority to intervene and quietly give direction where leaders have erred or lost their way. The authorities might have invited them, but in other instances, like Nathan, they will act unilaterally under the compulsion of the Holy Spirit. On occasion, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, and in concert with the wider body of Christ, leaders may also rally their followers to decisive public action against political, economic, or other forces that thwart God’s justice, equity, and righteousness for all. To effectively carry their mandate, Christian leaders must take their instruction from God’s Word, and their inspiration from the Holy Spirit.

So? Should Christians be involved with politics? Yes, they should by all means participate, at all levels according to their calling, station, and gifting in life. Such involvement is by virtue of being children of God the Father and followers of His Son Jesus. Their involvement is inspired by the Holy Spirit and informed by God’s Word.

What does this mean for clergy and top leadership in the church? Christian leadership have a duty to teach about political engagement from the corporate gatherings, to the house churches, weaving this thinking into a holistic understanding of the Gospel. Christian leaders, and their followers should also constantly evaluate the extent to which national governance and political leadership relates with God’s influence on earth. Where it fails then they should call it to account, and commend where it does well. Church leaders should learn to manage the tension between their personal position on politics and the biblical foundations for a just society effected through political means. Where there is a conflict then the church leaders’ political opinions must give way to God’s vision for his nations. The leadership should also encourage deep Christian reflection from within the incumbent government as well as the opposition. The church leadership should model how to engage in honest, respectful debate both in private and in the public, for the common good of the nation.

Confustrated by the IEBC Conundrum

Posted in If I was... on June 15, 2016 by Kyama

Excerpts of an enlightening facebook conversation regarding the current Kenyan IEBC issue.

Kyama Mugambi I’m watching this citizen morning show, someone please help me: what is the problem? Is it the IEBC commissioners themselves, some, all? Or the IEBC law? Or the provisions for IEBC in the constitution? If we have a constitution and law, is there a constitutional provision for extra-constitutional institutions to solve constitutional inconsistencies? Do we now need a referendum for this? Why weren’t these issues anticipated when this constitution was written and promulgated? ‪#‎confustrated‬

Njonjo Mue Kyama, the IEBC performed poorly in the 2013 elections. Some put it down to incompetence, some to corruption in procurement, some to partisanship. Whatever the case, the technology acquired at the cost of billions of shillings to the taxpayer failed cataclysmically forcing us to revert to the manual system that was so discredited following the 2007 elections. The IEBC did not have a voter register and their figures kept changing with thousands of new voters being added after the official registration period was supposed to have ended on 18th December 2012. IEBC never explained how on earth they could agree to share a server with one of the competitors at the election, TNA. All these issues and more were raised during the election petition but the Supreme Court treated them very casually. After the election, IEBC took a defensive position and did not conduct a proper audit of the election to ensure that these issues were addressed. As all this was going on, news came in of the Chickengate scandal implicating the Chair and some commissioners. CORD has also not forgotten the Chair declaring on oath that Raila Odinga is a sore loser who believes that no election can ever be fair if he is not declared winner. This shows inherent bias. The recent and ongoing clamour for reform and removal of the commissioners is therefore a case of chickens coming home to roost (pardon the pun).

As for the process of removal, CORD is arguing that they cannot expect justice in a parliament a majority of whose membership is beholden to their competitors who were put in power by the very body whose legitimacy is in question.


Of course the Constitution should be respected, but this country and others have known extraordinary moments when political consensus outside formal structures is necessary first after which what is agreed is taken to Parliament for approval. If we always insisted on ‘following the Constitution’, apartheid in South Africa would never have ended, neither would post election violence in 2007.


Kamotho Waiganjo Kyama Mugambi the IEBC is the easiest matter to solve both legally and politically. Actually if one looks at the changes proposed by JLA Com the bulk of these issues are included even some that deal with the broader Electoral reforms that target the entire infrastructure of elections. These latter are trickier but with bipartisan support can be carried out. Carrying out these reforms is not impossible. There are avenues in the law for this. One can also get political consensus on most of the critical issues. So that’s not what dialogue outside parliament is about. The elephant in the room are the “outstanding issues”, the ones that were not resolved (or which were conceded to for purposes of moving forward) in Naivasha during the writing of the COK that are trickier because most are political and very contested. These include the Structure of government, nature of devolution etc. These in my view are the unspoken issues that the current agitation is about, not IEBC. I could be wrong.

Kyama Mugambi Thanks this is helpful Njonjo Mue . This is what I am getting from your analysis above 1. The IEBC failed us. [one doesn’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure that out]. There are integrity issues with the commissioners. 2. The justice system failed IEBC, Cord and the nation at large. 3. The constitution should be respected. 4. This is one moment in Kenya, which like Apartheid in South Africa, where the constitution needs to be set aside to solve a national crisis.

Gerald Macharia Not one endowed with political commentary prowess, but what about ordinary people who voted representatives into parliament? Should we ignore that and have a deal cut by a handful of people, some of whom are not representatives of the people, brought to the house for a rubber stamp by a conclave that we elected to represent us, diverse views and all??

Njonjo Mue This is why we are calling for an all inclusive dialogue, not one just involving MPs or CORD and Jubilee. As for the issue of people’s representatives, I take that with a big spoonful of salt. It is usually overstated by people who seek to preserve the status quo. Raila Odinga was voted for by just under half of the people of Kenya. Do those not matter, just because our system is dominated by so-called tyranny of numbers? In any case, we are not discussing the last election, but the next. If we do not hearken to introduce reforms that will make the next election credible, then we shall rue the day we hid behind the fig leaf of ‘the people’s representatives’ instead of taking the hard decisions necessary to preserve our country.

Monica Nzive Why did the agitated push for reforms come this late in the day?! Why are they not coming out clear with all issues for all Kenyans to see? Why do we think that anything agreed upon in a hotel room by a few will be automatically rubber stammped by the so called tyranny of MPs in parliament?


Kyama Mugambi So in light of the above – 1. Njonjo Mue if there was lack of integrity with the commissioners then it seems to me the law should be followed? The moment we step outside the law then we introduce “extra judicial” remedies to a situation we create precedent which becomes hard to deal with in the future. No? What is to prevent weekly riots in 2018 for more money to Counties, for devolution of the police force and other such issues that are of ‘national’ importance. 2. Is this issue of the same magnitude as the repeal of Section 2A to warrant loss of life and property? As a matter of fact, given this or other constitutional dispensations, is there any issue that is large enough to warrant the kind of destruction and loss of life we have seen recently? 3. Kamotho Waiganjo I like your proposition of bipartisan caucusing to address issues, both legally and politically. a. Is such bipartisanship possible given the political polarity and its proximity to elections? b. Can we trust our legal system to ensure due justice, where it is needed? 4. Why now? Several muted voices raised concerns about the constitution way back when. The answer given was that the ‘small issues’ would be resolved. After all the constitution has a ‘self cleaning’ mechanism to ensure we can modify it as we go along. Those in government and those in opposition were all a part of the process. CORD for example ate half the biscuit/cake/loaf for a significant amount of time to influence outcomes, including promulgation. For some time CORD in the recent parliament also had just under 50% of representation in both houses. How many bills did they propose addressing the current issues? I am also not aware of any bills proposed by Jubilee either to address these or similar issues. What should the kenyan public make of that? Ama hii ni porojo tu 5. Kamotho Waiganjo Njonjo Mue is this a watershed moment? Should we suspend the constitution, take to the streets, agitate for a referendum and solve these issues? Or should we smell a rat and ignore the political machinations for power? Ama we should vote peacefully in 2017 and hope that the elected government and opposition will act together to make a better Kenya, for us, not just for themselves.

Kyama Mugambi So in light of the above – 1. Njonjo Mue if there was lack of integrity with the commissioners then it seems to me the law should be followed? The moment we step outside the law then we introduce “extra judicial” remedies to a situation we create precedent which becomes hard to deal with in the future. No? What is to prevent weekly riots in 2018 for more money to Counties, for devolution of the police force and other such issues that are of ‘national’ importance. 2. Is this issue of the same magnitude as the repeal of Section 2A to warrant loss of life and property? As a matter of fact, given this or other constitutional dispensations, is there any issue that is large enough to warrant the kind of destruction and loss of life we have seen recently? 3. Kamotho Waiganjo I like your proposition of bipartisan caucusing to address issues, both legally and politically. a. Is such bipartisanship possible given the political polarity and its proximity to elections? b. Can we trust our legal system to ensure due justice, where it is needed? 4. Why now? Several muted voices raised concerns about the constitution way back when. The answer given was that the ‘small issues’ would be resolved. After all the constitution has a ‘self cleaning’ mechanism to ensure we can modify it as we go along. Those in government and those in opposition were all a part of the process. CORD for example ate half the biscuit/cake/loaf for a significant amount of time to influence outcomes, including promulgation. For some time CORD in the recent parliament also had just under 50% of representation in both houses. How many bills did they propose addressing the current issues? I am also not aware of any bills proposed by Jubilee either to address these or similar issues. What should the kenyan public make of that? Ama hii ni porojo tu 5. Kamotho Waiganjo Njonjo Mue is this a watershed moment? Should we suspend the constitution, take to the streets, agitate for a referendum and solve these issues? Or should we smell a rat and ignore the political machinations for power? Ama we should vote peacefully in 2017 and hope that the elected government and opposition will act together to make a better Kenya, for us, not just for themselves.

Njonjo Mue Kyama Mugambi, to say this is just about integrity is to over simplify the issue. In any country, the Election Management Body must enjoy the confidence of all , or close to all, of the political players. An electoral commission that is not trusted by parties that represent half the electorate cannot perform the function that it is mandated to perform by the constitution, ie, run a credible election. To ignore calls for reform going into an election is the surest way to ensure that the result will be contested and most probably violently contested.

Njonjo Mue Kyama Mugambi, No one is calling on the Constitution to be ‘set aside’. The call is for a consensus building dialogue whose result can then be taken through the laid down process. I don’t know why people are treating this as such a strange thing. It happens all the time. Ever heard of the Speaker’s Kamkunji that happens informally in the Old Chambers of the House where positions are bi-partisanly agreed and then the parties stick to the agreed positions when it comes to voting a particular measure in the formal proceedings in the House? It’s the same thing. As for people demonstrating to change things that they do not like, that is their constitutional right. We have done it for many years, and MPs sometimes yield to that popular pressure and sometimes they don’t. It should not be presented as if it were treason!

Njonjo Mue And let’s not forget the words of Howard Zinn: “No form of government can be trusted to limit its own ambition, to extend freedom and to wither away…It is therefore up to the citizenry…to engage in permanent combat with the state, short of violent, escalatory revolution, but beyond the gentility of the ballot box, to insure justice, freedom, and well-being, all those values which virtually the entire world has come to believe in.”

Kyama Mugambi 1. Wait a minute Njonjo Mue I am all for calling the government to account. I am on record as stating that Kenya stands to lose if we do not have a formidable force keeping the government of the day in check. That’s the work of the opposition, and in their absence, negligence or incompetence, then any another body should pick that role up. [Civil society and/or
the church, which I am a part of] That said, I believe the whole point of a democracy, which people died for, is for representative government. The person with more votes, wins, the one with less loses. Democracy is by definition a tyranny of numbers. If this is not what will serve us well, then we need to change the constitution to make Kenya a consensus state, where decisions of national [and
county] importance are made not through representative government, or by vote – but through consensus that brings everyone to the table, while managing gender, ethnic, and other demographical considerations. To do that we would need to change the foundational philosophy of democracy as envisaged by the constitution. Ama? 2. Njonjo Mue it is common knowledge that an incumbent government will not willingly cede power in a negotiation of this nature. Especially if they feel they have the electorate’s mandate. This is true of Jubilee. However could it also be true that an opposition without an electoral mandate, will do whatever it can to gain power or political advantage? And that if it can do that through a non-electoral process that would even be better? Its all about power. This is why I want to be careful about this whole demonstrations and ‘negotiations outside parliament’ thing. 3. Njonjo MueKamotho Waiganjo I am curious. In the democracies which we have been trying to emulate with our constitution, what happens when a party/president wins with slightly over half the electorate? For example Bush/Gore election. The US did not modify its governance to accommodate the nearly 50% electorate who voted for Gore/Democrats but lost with a slim under 0.5% margin. However in Kenya, we would like to take apply ourselves to be inclusive of those who lost in a democratic election, which, we’re told, observers said was largely fair. I did not vote for the current government, and I’m critical of some if its actions and policies. I do wonder whether we are entering into a phase of ‘oppositional impunity’ where we develop a culture of distrusting our institutions, when we should be strengthening them. The other thing is – should we be considering “approximate democracy” if you win by 50% plus one, then you do not have a mandate, if your losing opponent had somewhere near 50%.

Njonjo Mue Kyama Mugambi, 1. Our democracy is a representative democracy but it is not a perfect democracy. To ask us to yield to our institutions no matter what is to assume that the institutions themselves are perfect, which they are not. Sometimes strengthening the institutions may call for dismantling them when they fail us and reconstituting them. That is what we did with Kivuitu. And let’s not forget that the selfsame Jubilee that is now so beholden to constitutionalism used their ‘tyranny of numbers’ to send home Mumo Matemu and his entire team at the EACC despite their tenure being guaranteed by teh Constitution.
2. The opposition would not be going to the streets and demanding an extra-parliamentary process if they did not have a critical mass of public support or a legitimate grievance that they feel will not be adequately addressed in Parliament. In 1997, we went to the streets to demand a people-driven constitutional reform process despite Moi telling us that only Parliament was mandated to amend the Constitution. We were teargassed, we were beaten, we were jailed, some of our colleagues died, but we prevailed, at first in winning minimum reforms ahead of the 1997 elections, and eventually in getting a new constitution. The situation is the same now. The opposition is calling for level playing field going into the election and that is their constitutional right.
3. The Bush/Gore analogy is misplaced. First, our constitution provides that if no party gets 50%+1, then we go into a run off. It is the contention of the opposition that no party actually got 50%+1 and that if the election had gone into a second round, the outcome might have been different. Of course the Supreme Court ruled differently, but let’s not assume that the SC itself is unquestionable. Their ruling helped the country come to a finality and move forward, but it did not address all the critical issues. As US Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson once famously stated regarding the Supreme Court, “We are not final because we are infallible, but we are infallible only because we are final.”

If you want to use an American analogy, Bush vs. Gore is not in my view the best to use. The Civil Rights Movement with all their demonstrations and direct action appeals to put pressure on the white establishment to make real the promises of democracy is closer to our situation. We are talking about a group of outsiders knocking on the door of another group that has always controlled power in this country.


Sammy Mate “Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws” Plato

Sammy Mate Whilst I have no confusion over the place of the Law in society, the law does not trump humanity. A good man will have no need to quote and hide behind the law in his arguments.My observation is that, in principle, we have not applied ourselves to voting in “good men and women”. So they will twist the law this way and that way to suit themselves.

Monica Nzive How comes many members of the opposition in parliament have since elections and by elections contacted by the IEBC been holding onto their positions and enjoying taxpayers money as salaries. Shouldn’t they have declined taking up the elected position as it was as a result of a flawed process?!

Wambui Kyama Interesting discussion. Njonjo, what do we do when 49% led by unelected representatives give conditions that the process has to take place out of parliament and whatever is agreed upon outside parliament cannot be amended negatively by parliament. In my view one problem that is quietly simmering is the fact that the opposition does not want to follow the laid down procedures. The Cord leader was heard to say that most of the appointees in IEBC were his appointees but he made a mistake and now they must go home.
Njonjo Matemu was not removed illegally. He resigned after a tribunal was formed at the recommendation of the said parliament to constitute a tribunal to investigate him…

New Word

Confustrate: verb, to confound while causing angst, to cause disappointment and disillusionment by obscuring meaning…

Wambui Kyama By the way I agree that we need to improve on the electoral reform processes. I dont agree that it should be done out of the law and it should also not be done for short term gains…if it is done for jubilee and cord those parties may not be in existent in 2022…

Kamotho Waiganjo We are an amazing people. We don’t trust the constitution. Even though we negotiated it politically. We don’t trust the institutions, even where we negotiated them politically. We don’t trust the law. Even where we negotiated the laws. We don’t trust democracy, it’s not perfect…we trust..,what? I am a believer in protests to push Govt, they are absolutely constitutional…. but surely they are always a last resort? Have we sincerely tried s constitutional processes to resolve our problems and failed. NO! When Govt and the opposition succeed in fully delegitimising the Constitution, where will we go? ….God help us….@ Njonjo Mue who are these outsiders? RAO has been in Govt since 1997. SKM since 1990s, MW the same….the current govt and the opposition are the ultimate insiders

Wambui Kyama Mr. Kamotho you are spot on…in fact I have been wondering whether I can demand certain things based on the fact that I was born under the old dispensation and therefore should be governed by it. I struggle with the fact that I thought the constitution had major flaws and I opposed passing it as it was. However, it was passed and I made my peace with it. In fact I was of the view that we need a referendum to amend it for the long term in order to make it more cohesive, to reduce cost and to make it possible for whoever is in power to govern. However, I am not willing to disregard it because I dont agree with it. How can the very people who were campaigning for it and who labelled people who were saying no be on the forefront of telling us to disregard it. That is the recipe for chaos and anarchy.

David Ewagata We are walking on eggshells. We have pushed justice, integrity and good character to it’s fatal end and now we are seeing red! I don’t think the problem lies with IEBC or jubilee. It’s just that today they hold the long end of the stick. With the sickness of heart that is the Kenyan way of doing government, if Rao was sitting on the other end, I fear nothing would change. Corruption, tribalism, sectionalism, and all other things we are vehemently against would still be.
The change we seek is not a change of officers but a change of heart. And that, not even the queen of constitutions can give to us. The verdict on Cretans in Titus 1:12, “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” Speaks true of the Kenyan. We need to turn to God and sober up. What we are asking for is a God intervention because this nation is in dire straits and the solutions being vended are mere fallacies. With the glutton tendencies, anyone who holds IEBC office will be subject to bribery, coercion, even threats as in kivuitu’s time.

Elizabeth Dena Kyama Mugambi thank you for sparking off this conversation.Wandia Njoya penned a post recently highlighting the challenges we face as a nation: basically two sides of a divide having a conversation that doesn’t make the remotest sense to either side. It is difficult to believe that the two groups are from the same country and are discussing the same phenomena. The conversation being had here is akin to what she was saying. One half of Kenyans is remembering all that Njonjo has outlined in his first response to this post; this half is refusing to go to an election without all those issues resolved. One half of this nation is confrustrated and wondering what the problem with IEBC is. It is confrustrating – for those allied to Njonjo’s position – that a commission responsible for an outcome of an election in a country with 42 million people (all those other points Njonjo has raised notwithstanding) can be implicated in a corruption scandal that causes the jailing of citizens of another country implicated in that scandal and it is confrustrating for others who wonder whether the issue warrants demonstrations and a call for the removal of the IEBC commissioners. I was in a high profile 2 day discussion at the Kenya school of law recently. A senior professor from Kenyatta University gave an extremely engaging presentation on gender in political leadership. She nailed it on many points we needed knowledge on thus becoming the ultimate mentor on the “how to” manual on “how to run your world as a female CS, Prime Minister, President, MCA” etc . We were captivated – 47 women from all the counties – and we kept talking over lunch. Eventually I asked her what she thought of IEBC now that we were waxing political. She asked confrustratedly, “What is wrong with IEBC”?

Sammy Mate Well, the day we will view the opposition and government as the “one side” and we, the Kenyan citizens as the “other side”, we will have made a great stride in our quest for a progressive national dialogue on governance. The “one side” does not represent the “common good”. Whilst it may true that the political class is representative of the citizenry, this does not hold always. This is indicative of remarks made recently by individuals such as Moses Kuria and Ferdinand Waititu. What I am saying is that there is a “reasonable” contistuency that is not represented by the “one side” and this group is becoming bigger by the day. So, not to symie the conversation,but its possible that we are adding to the clamor in the “one side” house whilst we are better off consolidating our position on the “other side”.

Josh Kikuvi Kyama Mugambi, thank you for always raising such issues in a sober, direct and engaging manner. I’ll follow the dialscussion with a view to learn as much as listen. For what it’s worth, the manner and the substance of issues I’m contention has been very #confustrated to say the least. I’m not sure if that is by design or by default…but perhaps that’s neither here nor there. On the substantive issues at play between both sides, I will let others who may be better informed to enlighten us and candidly shed more heat than light. We lead the latter most in our country, although some may imagine that the former precedes the latter, or vice versa. But clearly, we do have issues with the referee in this game and no amount of charlatanism is going to blind the fact. It’s interesting to hear there’s more than IEBC in all these-perhaps not too surprised by that. But pray, why are these supposedly deal breaker issues not brought to the fore? Is such a way of engaging likely to pertain ad infitum going forward? Perhaps our political leaders need to be more mature and open in their discussions than perhaps they have been. Like I said, more light than heat. Very interesting discussion so following…

Muchiri Waititu For once i am happy that we can congregate and discuss issues without checking Kyama’s surname. My query is simple. If Mumo Matemu was removed constitutionally, then what is so difficult in removing the IEBC officials? Like Kyama, i am confustrated (nice word sir) and the lawyers are still adding more smoke. Every relationship has an exit/ termination clause. In marriage, it is divorce; In employment it is termination. What is the termination clause for the IEBC? Has it been exhausted? Street activism is a last resort to a situation. Why are we using it as the first? If the elected senators and M.P’s are also sincere in their condemnation of the IEBC and their inability to do anything in their power, should they not therefore resign?

Francis Kuria Very interesting discussions Kyama Mugambi. I have been engaged and it is true that IEBC is not the key issue. Indeed both sides agree this set will go. The question is deeper. And it is simple. Jomo Moi Kibaki Uhuru, ……? We cannot practise politics of exclusion (and insults) and not expect agitation. If the Kabogo remarks are considered in proper context (no support without our man beside to succeed you) then the problem is intractable. Kenya, and indeed most of Africa, with our ethnic politics and liberal capitalism with the state as main decider of who succeeds in business, cannot afford winner-take-all political contests. It won’t work. Our intellectuals failed us in Bomas.

Muchiri Waititu The world over is replete with countries with deeper schisms than ours.
Try catholic/ protestant in Ireland, Flanders/Wallonia in Belgium, castes in India, Sunni/Shia in the mid east.
We enacted a constitution to spread the pork! Primarily by giving power to the counties. Are we saying that this has failed?
I remain very suspicious of moves to assuage personalities rather than structures. Especially when the same personalities were at the forefront of agitating for a new constitution.


Kyama Mugambi Good thinking friends! I am becoming more enlightened by the minute. So here is my summary of what I see so far. 1. The IEBC has failed Kenyans, both in terms of their integrity of service, and the structure [as enshrined in the current constitution.] 2. Both the current Judicial system, and the government of the day, have failed Kenyans on this issue. Means outside the constitution have been proposed, as the only solution. 3. Kenyans have been rallied to the streets by their leaders with 49% [round it off to the
non-governing 50%] mandate, to “demand” [not my words], electoral reform, to ensure a free and fair 2017 election. 4. It turns out the issue is not really the IEBC. [Where I would
customarily say “oh dear!”] It is deeper than IEBC, and touches on other matters, such as structure of government, nature of devolution, and other such things – all of which are further complicated by the geo-ethnic complexities of our context. Is this a fair summary of the foregoing?

Njonjo Mue Kyama Mugambi, with your every summary, you frame the issues in a way that I find hard to agree with, but I’ll let the matter rest here for now and thank you for creating the opportunity for such healthy debate on such an important issue. Barikiwa.

Kyama Mugambi That being the case. a. Njonjo Mue argues that going into an election with an untrustworthy electoral body is courting trouble. Agreed. However, knowing what we know about CORD, has there ever been a time when we can say that they gave the public confidence in the electoral institution? Or is it that our institutions, including our constitution, which they helped us pass, is fatally flawed and must be reformed outside of constitutional means. On the flip side, knowing what we know about Jubilee, and the nature of incumbency in power, can we expect that this will be a walk in the park for CORD, where any reforms brought will be signed of with the pen because the opposition said so, and they were backed by people in the streets? b. Kamotho Waiganjo argues that this can easily be resolved politically and legally. While I don’t fully understand politics and law, I would have to say this is very reasonable, and I accept it. It makes perfect sense to then question the need for the drastic means being proposed on this wall. However, what should Jubilee do to move this discussion forward? And are they doing it? Do they have a mechanism to check themselves to prevent them from being too hardline in their position, or do we just trust that they will know. c. From yet another angle, is there anyone checking the opposition to caution them against taking a position that will hurt the nation? Should we assume that they will know when they have gone over the line? d. If the problem is intractable because of our geo-ethnic complexities as Francis Kuria reminds us, then what is our fate? Will the current definitions of democracy then work? If a presidency has to be inclusive ethnically and geographically, what then is the use of elections? We should then just list the ethnic communities alphabetically, ask them to line up their presidential nominees and we just tour the position around the country. To put it differently, our constitution is not serving our reality. We have to address that at some point, politically, economically, socially, demographically and so on, either now, or sometime in the future. Address it though, we must. e. If we have to revisit the pertinent issues of the constitution and demand change using the last resort of mass action each time we face the challenges, then we will have a problem if we don’t already. I think this is where the wisdom of having a constitutional implementation body serves us well. However if to address the issue of a body that doesn’t serve us well, then we have to go outside elections, and outside parliament then we are exposing our nation. What is the use of the CIC? f. Njonjo Mue, there is an integrity issue, and you point it out in your posts above. I won’t gloss over that. And no, it is not an oversimplification. However there are legal means to address that. They haven’t been exhausted. Lets not kid ourselves. There is a way to change government officers and institutions, its in the law and the constitution. They haven’t been exhausted. I haven’t seen exhaustive parliamentary and senatorial debate from the 48-49% representation from CORD. In the same breath I will agree that Jubilee could do more to move this progress with their 50%. The “more” they should do is what I am not clear about. If we look hard enough we can find it. After all that’s what we pay them 1m a month to do [which they increased for themselves, with the help of
CORD representatives. See! bipartisan consensus in parliament is
possible, if both sides are committed to the cause]

Francis Kuria Agreed Kyama Mugambi. We in from faith institutions have proposed a post election Constituent Assembly to discuss these deeper issues and hopefully reach some agreement by 2022. Uhuru has promised to support such a promise but could not guarantee an outcome given our tendency for prevarication n brinkmanship

Njonjo Mue A final comment from me on this subject.

In 1997 when we took to the streets to demand constitutional reforms before that year’s elections, Moi called politicians from both sides of the political divide and they agreed on a set of minimum reforms to level the playing field (The IPPG Deal).

One of the reforms was to change the mode of appointing the electoral commission so that commissioners would be appointed on the basis of nomination by political parties based on their strength in Parliament.

Fast forward to 2007 and the terms of those commissioners were expiring. We pleaded with the Kibaki government to use the same formula to name their replacements, but we were ignored.

“IPPG was a gentleman’s agreement that was never enshrined in law, ” said the then Minister for Justice, Martha Karua. “It served the exegesis of that moment but does not bind the president now.”

Kibaki went on to unilaterally appoint all the commissioners except Kivuitu whose term was extended by one year.

Was Martha legally right? Of course she was. Was it wise or in the national interest to have one competitor unilaterally appoint the referee to oversee the closest election since independence because ‘we must follow the constitution ‘? The 2007-8 PEV provide a tragically eloquent answer to this second question.

We are courting disaster as we quibble about this matter while the window to act continues to close. If we continue to prevaricate. There shall be no country, let alone constitution, left to defend.

Wise heads must prevail.

Kyama Mugambi Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen for engaging me on this. I feel a little more enlightened. I have more questions, but I also have perspective, if not answers. As always Njonjo Mue Kamotho Waiganjo asante for the insights.

For the full conversation see:

For further insights see Bishop Oginde’s perspective:

Who is equal to the task?

Posted in If I was... on May 20, 2016 by Kyama

During his enthronement as the 3rd Anglican Archbishop January 1997, Bishop David Gitari publicly announced in his speech, that he would retire midnight of 16th September 2002. To many he seemed to be clarifying the ambiguity and drama that emerged at the end of archbishop Festo Olang’s service. But underneath was the prophetic challenge to president Daniel Arap Moi, who was attending the function, to also be clear on his retirement. Moi’s rule had dragged on such that no one was sure he would leave power. Such a prophetic valor was rare at the time and came at great personal cost. Bishop David Gitari, among others, was willing to pay that cost. In the chaos characteristic of Kenya today, the incoming archbishop will be expected to be prophetic, fearlessly reprimanding, calling out and confronting impending dangers to the society.

The issues in Kenya’s current socio-political landscape would challenge any formidable leader. The ICC conundrum which goes back almost 8 years since 2008, got the political establishment, the IDPs and the opposition all pulling in different directions, at different times. The ethnic undercurrents that emerged in the period could have pulled the Anglican church apart given its strong representation from opposing poles of the PEV divide. That the Anglican church remained largely united under this environment will be a feather in Archbishop Wabukala’s cap in times to come. The challenge of the incoming primate will be to preserve the legacy of an Anglican church that has remained united despise such great odds.

The 2013 transition between regimes, compounded by a contested election result, all in an ethnically divided nation, made for an eventful time in Kenya’s political history. While the voice of the Anglican church was not as loud as it has been in the past, it did maintain a concerned, if not muted, aura. The outgoing archbishop’s quiet mien and deliberate manner provided the Kenyan public with this lower key demeanor of Anglican leadership in the public sphere. The incoming archbishop will have a variety of precedents in terms of leadership postures. If national leadership is a reflection, at least partly, of personal leadership practices, then the election of the archbishop will need to factor in the leadership personalities of the individuals in the run.

It is corruption and economic crimes that, for good or ill, prompted a forceful response from the otherwise reserved outgoing Archbishop. In his call for the declaration of corruption as a national disaster in 2015, Archbishop Wabukala resonated with the public sentiment, and the opposition’s fever pitched protest that saw the exit of key government officials. A case could be made against his uncritical stance on the opposition’s lack of cohesion around a solid national agenda. Then again, one could say the same of key church leaders across the board on that subject. The church leadership must be ready to confront irresponsibility in any sitting government. It must also be willing to call into account potentially debilitating failure and lack of focus among the opposition. Going forward this will be an important area of meaningful engagement within the church generally, and for the incoming Anglican archbishop in particular.

The outgoing archbishop’s tenure also coincided with the transformation of All Saints Cathedral into a bustling hub of activity. The completion of the ministry centre and its commissioning into service surfaced a unique ecumenical dimension of the Anglican church’s relations with the wider church in Nairobi. While it will not escape notice that the centre provides a valuable income stream, what is noteworthy is the nature of activity at the centre. Multiple church traditions take part in the daylong and evening activities. This hopefully points to an important unifying role that the Anglican church is increasingly playing outside its engagement with the NCCK.

While the election of the archbishop will not have a direct effect on this ecumenical perspective, there will likely be a residual impact of the incoming prelate’s preferences, which could reverberate through out the church. In recent years, Anglican church has been more congenial in its interaction with the more established charismatic and pentecostal communities. The continuation of this will serve the prophetic cause of the Kenyan church going forward.

Kenya is a young nation. Researchers put the median age at 18 and postulate that the nation will remain young for the next 50 years. The ability of the Anglican church to keep the youth engaged and focussed falls squarely on the laps of the leadership of the church under the direction of the archbishop. Various initiatives have experienced mixed success with some congregations reporting high retention of young people, and others lamenting the loss of their youth to “these mushrooming churches.” Capturing the soul of the youth must remain on the front burner for all churches, new and historic alike, if we are to safeguard the nation’s moral fibre and spiritual future. Even if the incoming archbishop were to do nothing else, this is such a mammoth task that it would instantly fill his hands, and keep them that way for the rest of his tenure.

We must add a final word about the voice of the Kenyan Anglican church on the global platform. It would not be an understatement to say that if the Anglican church in Africa sneezes the Anglican church in the global West could be checking into ICU comatose with severe flu. The Anglican church in Kenya is demographically significant. There are more Anglicans in Kenya than there are in all of North America. Kenya has more than twice as many Anglicans as the average weekly attendance of the church of England in the UK. To its credit, in matters doctrine, the church in Africa has fiercely held to the evangelical tenets of traditional Anglicanism. A notable example is the question of the ordination of gay clergy. Kenyan Anglicans through the outgoing Archbishop have played their part valiantly. The incoming archbishop carries with him a big responsibility to speak into the life of the entire denomination, more than half of who reside in Africa south of the Sahara.

Good leadership, like good sorghum porridge, takes the shape of the container that holds it, warming the container and its surroundings, while nourishing its beneficiary. The shape of the Kenyan political, social, economic, and spiritual landscape is clear. With this there is clarity on how the leadership of the church generally, and the anglican church in particular can respond to, influence and serve the public. We know the container, and what type of heat we need!

The incoming archbishop needs to be a shepherd, spiritually and physically attending to the needs of a nation in need of truth, light and comfort. It is abundantly clear now that the state of the Anglican denomination, locally and globally, points us to the need for a prophet. A leader who will speak authoritatively to the prime movers on all sides of the political divide calling them to account. He needs to be a prophet who will keep the church united and focussed forwards a brighter national future, at a time of ethnic, political, and economic travails. The chosen leader will automatically have a global platform with which to affirm and, where necessary, defend the strength of the communion. He will also be faced with an internal challenge, God helping him, to sustain initiatives to corral the youth into the fold and engage them meaningfully, as a deposit for the future of the denomination. Who is equal to the task?

Who will be the 6th Archbishop of the ACK?

Posted in If I was... on May 19, 2016 by Kyama


Profiles of The Candidates:

Canon Francis Omondi, Pastor Kyama Mugambi and Mr Omore C. Osendo

The task identifying the right man from among these six well-accomplished bishops for the 6th Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya will not be easy. Perhaps they should, like John the Baptist, ask each of the candidates; ‘…are you the one or it’s the other…?’ Jesus response was revealing, as if to say ‘…weigh me on what you had seen me do and heard me say…’ Pray that electors will be guided by what they have seen and heard of the candidates:
Bishop Lawrence Dena
Bishop Lawrence K. Dena was born in Rabai in the mid 1950s. He began working as an untrained teacher in Kilifi. After training at Kericho Teachers College he taught for another 10 years. He worked with the Christian Churches Educational Association (CCEA) between 1988 and 1996 as the Coast Regional Education Secretary and Trainer who promoted the teaching of Christian Religious Education and Programmes of Pastoral Instruction in all Schools and carried out training conferences in the whole of Coast Region and many other parts of Kenya.

The C.C.E.A was responsible for the writing of academic Christian Education books for primary and secondary schools and Colleges. Among the most popular book that Bishop Dena co-authored is ‘God’s People’ a book for Form 2 students, still in use today. He was ordained in 1994 in Mombasa, and served in the church and as a School Chaplain in St. Augustine Mombasa for two years and Lenana School for nine years. He got his Masters Degree in Theology from Nairobi International School of Theology (NIST) in 2002.

In 2003 he was collated Canon of All Saints Cathedral Nairobi. He was concentrated and appointed Assistant Bishop of Mombasa Diocese in 2005. Following the death of Bishop William Wako, the 5th Provincial Secretary, Bishop Dena was appointed the Provincial Secretary by Archbishop Nzimbi and served from 2006 to 2009, serving as the Principal Assistant to the Archbishop in his last three years in office. Working closely with the Archbishop must have given him an inside track induction into the rigors of the office. The Post-Election Violence of 2007/8 presented a window to show case his peace building skills, during which he helped in brokering peace in the Rift Valley between various communities. He also lectured at Daystar University for 5 years and is completing his Doctoral Degree Studies on Leadership.

Mombasa Diocese was split to create Malindi Diocese which covered Kilifi, Lamu and Tana River Counties. Bishop Dena was enthroned as the first Bishop of Malindi Diocese in April 2015 when the country was still astounded by the Garissa University terrorist attacks that occurred at the beginning of the same month. In his address, Bishop Dena pledged to embrace all religions in the region and the political and religious leaders challenged him to join in the fight against radicalization, drug abuse and terrorism. He has always condemned attacks on churches alongside other religious clerics, terming them as “acts of criminals and hooligans” and not those of religious people. As Archbishop he is likely to have a deeper understanding of national issues that reflect the Coastal region especially on insecurity as well as inter-religious dialogue. His background in education and chaplaincy may also see him focus on the growing education sector where the Anglican church plays a significant role.

Bishop Dena holds several leadership positions within the church and para-church organizations. He is a governor of Church Commissioners for Kenya (CCK), Coast Interfaith Council of Clerics (CICC), Chairman of “Anglican Development Services” (ADS) Pwani Region, and Chairman of All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) Provident Fund Board of Trustees; Chairman of National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) Coast Region, member of the National Executive Council of NCCK, and Mombasa County Education Board. He has been a member of the ACK Provincial Synod since 1985.
He is married to Jane Wasonga Dena and blessed with four grown-up children.

Bishop Dena is passionate about transforming church members’ lives spiritually with the Gospel of Christ, promoting family values, facilitating church development, and empowering all communities socially, intellectually and economically for a more dignified life.

Bishop Moses Masamba
Bishop Dr. Moses Masamba Nthuka was born in 1964. He trained for ministry at St. Paul’sTheological college [diploma and Bachelor in Divinity 1993-1997]. He was ordained in 1993 and served in several parishes in Embu and Mbeere dioceses. He obtained an MA in Pastoral Theology (MPth) from Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge UK and did Post graduate Studies at Ridley hall, Cambridge [2000]. He returned to Kenya on appointment as the Academic Dean at St Andrews College of Theology and Development Kabare (2001 – 2003), as well as Tutor for Ordination Training. Bishop Masamba returned to the UK in preparation for his Phd from 2003 by doing postgraduate research studies at Trinity St David University Wales and Oxford Centre of Mission Studies up to 2006.

During this time he served as a Priest in Wormelow and St Weonards Group of Parishes of Wormelow Hundred and St Weonards Benefice in the Hereford Diocese of the Church of England. He got his PhD in pastoral theology from St Alcuin House Seminary, College of Theology, Minnesota USA, (2014)

He was elected the second Bishop of Mbeere Diocese after Bishop Gideon Ireri in 2008. He inherited a diocese rife with conflict and clan divisions. He successfully reconciled and brought healing to the warring factions in the church that mirrored the historical Mbeere clan and ethnic rivalry. Bishop Moses has showed himself as an astute mediator including being trusted by the county Government of Embu to be their mediator among the warring Mbeere and Embu leaders.

Bishop Masamba hosted Kenyan international footballer Victor Wanyama of the English Premier League club Southampton FC in Mbeere when he accompanied the Revd Andy Bowerman, Chaplain ,the Southampton FC and Anglican Alliance co-director. Andy was here to experience what Mbeere Diocese had developed, a Church Centred Sports Ministry for evangelism and reconciliation. “I went out to work with Bishop Moses in Mbeere, who had been inspired by a youth sports programme and had a vision for using football for mission and to bring about change in communities.”

The Proposed Anglican Church of Kenya University gave Bishop Masamba the opportunity to mobilize the Mbeere community, who donated and transferred 93 acres of Land with infrastructures for the construction of its Main Campus at Kanyuambora, Mbeere. He serves as the Vice Chair of Board of Trustees.

When the Mbeere Mother’s Union identified need for deaf children to access to secondary education, the Bishop with the partnership of Peter Cowey Africa Trust in 2012, established St Mary Magdalene High School for the Deaf in Riandu, Mbeere.
It would have been extremely challenging to run a diocese in the semi-arid drought prone region of Mbeere without cracking into the food problem facing the people. The bishop helped develop Sustainable Agriculture Livelihoods Innovations (SALI), supporting farmers develop resilient livelihoods through downscaling access to climate information and adaptation to climate forecasting by farmers; thus responding to the Climate Change issue.

If elected and enthroned as the sixth Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya, Bishop Masamba is likely to have a poverty-reduction and equalization strategy, using education, climate change and food security and youth empowerment with his international connections to bridge the gap between different regions and demographic groups.

Bishop Moses has written much about faith-based organizations and poverty reduction in Kenya, including a recently published book: “Africa’s Faith Based Organizations in Transformational Development.” He is the Chairman of Anglican Church of Kenya Permanent Commission of Creation of Boundaries and New Diocese.
He is married to Lucy Mothoni Masamba and have 3 grown up children.

He is passionate about; Proclamation of a Gospel of Jesus Christ, Reconciliation, mediation and healing ministry, Peace and Justice, Research in Pastoral theological contextual issues, and Transformational Development.


Bishop Julius Wanyoike :
Bishop Julius Wanyoike was born in 1967 and trained for ministry at Bishop Kariuki College from 1991 to 1993. He was ordained in 1993. After serving in Old Ngong parish of the diocese of Mt. Kenya South. He further studied at Tangaza College for Bachelors in religious studies. In 1998 he was posted as Vicar of Makongeni parish in the newly created Thika Diocese. Julius was appointed the Diocesan Youth Organiser, acting Diocesan Secretary and personal assistant to Bishop Gideon Githaiga the first Bishop of Thika diocese.

Julius took a break from active ministry in Kenya to pursue post-graduate studies in the United Kingdom. He undertook two Masters degrees; in Mission Studies (2005) and Applied Theological Studies (2007) from the University of Wales and Birmingham respectively. During the time of his studies he served as an Associate Minister in the Diocese of Birmingham, at St. John’s Harborne, St. Michael’s Boldmere, and St. Chad’s Local Ecumenical Partnership Parish.

Bishop Wanyoike took a break from his doctoral studies in 2008 to take up the position of the Provost of the All Saints Cathedral in the All Saints Cathedral Diocese succeeding Canon Peter Karanja who went on to become the Secretary General of the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK). Here Julius ministered to a very large and complex congregation at the National Cathedral, where he was also appointed an Archdeacon. He oversaw the completion and the dedication of the Multi-Purpose Hall (MPH-Trinity Center) for use by the Church for its Sunday youth services and its weekly commercial activities. The MPH was built through a campaign within the church that raised the funds over a long period of time.

While serving his second 5-year contract at the Cathedral, Rev. Julius Wanyoike was elected as the second Bishop of Thika Diocese, on 27th July, 2013, succeeding Rt. Rev. Dr. Gideon Githiga. Bishop Wanyoike was also elected as the Chairman of NCCK’s Nairobi Region covering Nairobi, Kiambu, Wajir, Garissa and Mandera counties.

Bishop Wanyoike’s experience as the personal assistant to the first Bishop of Thika, his international experience as a post-graduate student and minister, his work as the Provost of All Saints Cathedral one of the busiest churches in Kenya and currently as Bishop of Thika Diocese has given him immersion experience in strategic leadership ,innovation and working closely with a diverse profile of people and cultures that could be valuable if elected as the sixth Archbishop of Kenya. The ACK’s dwindling youth profile and the growing youth demographics in the country would be his biggest challenge and greatest opportunity. In an interview with Thika Town Today publication Bishop Wanyoike said that ; “the church has a critical role in the ecumenical family and its voice must heard in the midst of people’s lives. It has its role too on how both the national and county governments are run. The internal mechanism of the church should always be felt outward for the gospel to have meaning to the congregation.”
Bishop Wanyoike is married to Esther and they have 3 children

Bishop James Ochiel :

Bishop James K. Ochiel was born in August 1964. He worked as an untrained teacher for 5 years. In preparation for ministry, he attended St. Paul’s Theological college (Bachelor of Divinity) and Great Lakes University of Kisumu where he got certificate in Economics, Higher Diploma in Community Health and Masters in Community Health with a major in public policy.

After ordination in 1993, worked as the Diocese of Southern Nyanza’s Administrative Secretary for Seven years. He was consecrated as the diocese’ 2nd bishop where has served for the last 14 years placing him among the senior bishops. He increased parishes from 21 to 40 presently and congregations from 80 to 250. For missions and expansion he has appointed a suffragan bishop for Kisii, raised the number of clergy from 24 to 60 and lay staff from 5 to 25.

This has been done in a multi ethnic Diocese with issues that mirrors the ethnic polarization affecting Kenya. Perhaps this challenge pushed him back to school; pursuing a PhD on Peace and Reconciliation. To support the ministry he initiated and developed an Ultra Modern Resort in Homa-Bay Town among several income initiatives for the members as well. He has provided leadership to the Victoria Inter-Diocesan Investment Company (VIDIC), whose portfolio stands at KES 700 million. VIDIC is an investment company for the then Diocese of Maseno South and originally conceptualized by Bishop Henry Okullu in 1985. The Diocese has since split into five different dioceses with each Bishop serving as a Trustee of the company and rotating as Chairmen.

Bishop Ochiel has continued in the prophetic tradition of select Anglican bishops such as Muge, Gitari and Okullu on social matters. In November 2007, Bishop Ochiel alongside his three other counterparts from the Nyanza region and one retired Bishop in an unprecedented move read a joint statement a month to the disputed December 2007 general election where they condemned hooliganism and urged Kenyans to turn out and vote peacefully. They (prophetically) called for a constitutional review process to be convened after the general election with a focus towards devolution of power and resources saying that “When the retired President Daniel Arap Moi succeeded as a President following the death of his predecessor, not only did the (centralised) system (of government) show weaknesses but the then president became an absolute leader sometimes referred to as a dictator. We, therefore, support a constitutional review immediately after this general election to ensure a devolved system of governance” (parentheses ours).

His consistency was evident in 2010 when he differed with the position the church took on the 2010 Constitution. He advised his flock to support the Proposed Constitution. Terming the document the best Kenyans have ever had he said: “Whereas the Proposed Constitution is not the revealed word of God or a penultimate moral code, it appreciates the dignity of humanity and the environment.” For him it was a matter of whether, they wanted to abet “an oppressive or a liberating constitution”. In 2013, Bishop Ochiel publicly opposed the plan by the MPs to have the Salaries and Remuneration Commission disbanded. He said the MPs had accepted the call to serve Kenyans after being elected and should stop demanding for higher salaries. “You should serve the people first before demanding for any pay rise,” said Ochiel.

Among the key issues Bishop Ochiel cares about is integrating the academy and practical ministry. He decries the lack of theological discourses and dialogues in the Anglican Church of Kenya. He is set to repositioning the ACK’s visibility on social justice being the conscience of the society.

If elected as the sixth Archbishop of the ACK, Bishop Ochiel is likely to be a reincarnation of his outspoken predecessors namely Arcbishops Gitari and Kuria and Bishop Alexander Muge. Passionate about good governance, he is likely to shift the focus of the church towards social justice, public policy and governance affairs especially during this period of anti-corruption advocacy, the polarized political scene and the uncertainty of the likelihood of a highly and bitterly contested gubernatorial elections in August 2017 general elections. Bishop Ochiel would also have a good grasp of how to increase the financial standing of the church form his experience in joint diocesan investments.
Bishop Ochiel is married to Christine and they have four children.

Bishop Jackson Ole Sapit
Bishop Dr. Jackson ole Sapit was Born in June 1964. He trained for ministry at Berea College, and St Pauls University ( dip. 1992, BD. 1997). He was ordained in 1992 and assigned Vicar of Belgut Parish before being moved to Kilgoris Parish as the Vicar and Project Manager of Transmara Rural Development Programme. He ably served as Nakuru Diocese’ Missions and Development Coordinator until 2002 when he went to University of Reading UK to study for a Masters in Social Development for Sustainable Livelihood.

He was made Assistant Bishop of Nakuru diocese in 2004 where he served until 2008 when the new Kericho Diocese was curved out of Nakuru diocese to serve the Southern Rift Valley area. Bishop Ole Sapit became it’s first Bishop enthroned in May 2008. One of his first major tasks in October 2009 together with two other Bishops was to oversee the tense elections of the Bishop of Bungoma Diocese to replace the newly elected Arcbishop Wabukala as ACK Archbishop in June 2009. He served as Chairman of Kenya Anglican Youth Organisation [KAYO] from 2006 until 2011 when he was appointed Chairman of the Provincial Board of Social Services, which was renamed Anglican Development Services (ADS). The ADS is a policy making body appointed by the Anglican Church of Kenya Provincial Synod to govern the social development services of the Church.

In his capacity as NCCK’s South Rift Chairman, Bishop Sapit has been at the forefront of governance and social issues coming out strongly against leadership wrangles in Narok County. In a statement in March 2015 following a Narok County church leaders conference, the leaders said that “The Governor .the Senator together with political leaders should give dialogue and mediation a chance; that promote peaceful coexistence and DO NO HARM principles in mitigating conflicting issues”

He has built for Kericho a strong profile of International partners which include, Tearfund (UK) and Tearfund (NL), Diocese of Chichester (UK), Crosslinks, Trinity Cheltenham (UK), Church Army, World Vision, Christian Aid, Compassion, Comic Relief, EGPAF, Just Earth and Diakonia (Germany).

One of the diocese partners had this to say about his style: ” Bishop Sapit is a man of energy blessed with a scope of vision that is both inspiring and engaging. He is a team player and, rightly, understands that, as Archbishop Rowan Williams once said, “Only the whole Church is able to grasp the whole Gospel.” For that reason he seeks to involve every level of the Christian community in discerning its God-given gifts and talents, and identifying its unique place in God’s transformational activity in the world.”

In 2012 the Global University for Lifelong Learning (GULL) of Carlifornia USA, were impressed with his on going community work and recognised his contribution by awarding him an honorary Doctorate degree doctor of professional studies. Tearfund nominated Bishop Sapit as GULL Ambassador.

Bishop Sapit has a passion to re-strategize the missions of the Anglican Church from mainly pulpit based into the society through integral missions. He thinks that the church’s’ focus should be wholistic and interpersonal. He spoke passionately for the need to disciple youth through discipleship and mentoring. The chief concern he raises is one of integration of the church: “How can we bring in those on the margins? Only an inclusive church and build around it credible leadership will make impact in Kenya today”. Unity of the church locally and internationally while maintaining focus of doctrine are so dear to him.

Bishop Sapit’s experience, networks and passion for community development resonates quite well with participatory development that is being experienced and encouraged within the devolved system of government. If elected as Archbishop, he is likely to ensure that the church, through its dioceses, aligns very strongly with the developmental agenda of the counties that they cover and become partners in improving the livelihoods of Kenyans, especially in poor, marginalized areas which he is very familiar with. For the direction that the country is taking with renewed focus on development, Bishop Sapit would be a good fit to pull the church towards this direction.
He is married to Esther Sapit and they have six children.



Bishop Joel Waweru
Bishop Joel Waweru Mwangi was born in 1959. Upon competing his ministry training in 1981, as Church Army Africa Evangelist (Carlile College) , he served at St. James & All Martyrs Cathedral, Murang’a as a Church Army Evangelist. He returned to Church Army as Training Officer and Lecturer, Administrative Officer, Assistant General Secretary and Acting General Secretary. He served Church Army Africa for 10 years. The further studies at the University of Nairobi [religious studies ] and East African School of Theology [biblical theology in 1990] aided his transition to ordination. He was ordained in 1993 at All Saints Cathedral Nairobi to serve in the Nairobi Diocese.

Between 1996 – 1999 he went to Hallam Pastoral Institute (Sheffield UK.) for a Master of Arts in Theology. While in the UK he ministered at St. Mary’s Brammall Lane, as Assistant Minister and St. Silas Parish, Broomhall, as presiding Minister in the Diocese of Sheffield. Rev. Waweru continued to represent Church Army Africa internationally, including a 1998 at Buckingham Palace before Her Majesty the Queen and at Church Army World leaders conference in Bournemouth, England. He continues to actively participate in the Church Army activities.

He returned to Kenya in 2000 to serve as the Diocesan youth organiser before his assignment as the vicar of St. Polycarp Mlango Kubwa. It was while serving at St. James Buruburu that he was Collated and installed Canon and inducted Archdeacon in 2002.

In 2010 he was elected the 2nd bishop of Nairobi diocese succeeding Bishop Peter Njoka. He is reputed to have set up the best Diocesan Terms and Service Conditions in the ACK, including the establishment of Adonai Insurance Agency that takes care of all insurance issue for clergy and their families covered by the Diocese. Being in the capital city, he has had the privilege of serving all ethnicities of this country. His assigning of positions have been lauded as the most inclusive and balanced ethnically.
He has intentionally developed outreach to nearly all the Dioceses in Kenya, sharing vital financial resources during their fundraising and supported whenever need be.

He has used his membership in the Resource mobilization of Group of the Peer Mentoring Workshops for Trinity Wall Street Grants Programme (Strengthening the Anglican Communion in Africa), to not only develop his diocese but also other Kenyan bishops.

For the last 5 years bishop has been a member of the Bishops in Dialogue meetings at Coventry Cathedral (with other Bishops in the Anglican Communion). Here they have sought to understand, trust and respect one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, even when they do not agree.

“The experience has helped me accept and accommodate people who have different opinions [and] approach issues with an open heart and mind with the love of God in Christ Jesus. [I] am reminded of Christ, who met with the prostitute and the tax collector, and he accommodated them”, he said.

In August 2014 he was invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury to address the Collegiate of Church of England Bishops on human sexuality giving a Kenyan perspective.

Bishop Waweru was elected as a member of the standing committee of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC-16) held in Lusaka Zambia this April. The ACC facilitates the co-operative work of the 38 autonomous but interdependent national and regional Churches and the six extra-provincial churches and dioceses that are in Communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury. Through the ACC, churches of the Anglican Communion exchange information and co-ordinate common action. The ACC also advises on the organisation and structures of the Anglican Communion, and seeks to develop common policies on world mission and ecumenical matters. In this Role he will bring in a significantly silenced voice of orthodoxy in the Anglican communion matters. Bishop Waweru believes strongly in Partnership within the body of Christ, engage in creative ministry providing every opportunity for every person to encounter and experience the joy of Jesus Christ and achieve sustainable growth of the church.

He is married to Mrs Tabitha Muthoni Waweru and are blessed with 2 adult daughters

And blessed is the one who is not offended by the one they elect the 6th Archbishop of Kenya.

Rev Canon Francis Omondi is an Anglican clergy of All Saints Cathedral and a Canon of All Saints Kampala.
Pastor Kyama Mugambi is pursuing his Doctoral Studies at Africa International University and on sabbatical from Mavuno church
Mr. Omore C. Osendo is a Governance and Public Policy Expert based in Nairobi.

What would the next archbishop learn from the past?

Posted in If I was... on May 18, 2016 by Kyama

By Rev Canon Francis Omondi, Pastor Kyama Mugambi and Mr. Omore C. Osendo.

The curtains are closing on the seven-year tenure of the fifth Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK), His Grace The Most Rev (Dr.) Eliud Wabukala. Archbishop Wabukala was elected and thereafter enthroned on 7th July 2009.
He retired on account of attaining the age limit for serving in the office. The office of the ACK Archbishop is amongst the most respected and influential religious leaders in the country where he exercises spiritual leadership over the close to 6 million members and is the official spokesperson of the church on national and international issues.

There are six candidates from whom the electors will have to pick the 6th Archbishop: Bishop (Dr). Moses Masamba Nthuka of Mbeere Diocese, Bishop James Kenneth Ochiel of Southern Nyanza Diocese, Bishop Joel Waweru of Nairobi Diocese, Bishop Lawrence Kavutsa Dena of Malindi Diocese, Bishop Jackson Nasoore Ole Sapit of Kericho Diocese and Bishop Julius N. Wanyoike of Thika Diocese.


L-R : Sapit, Wanyoike, Dena, (the dean of the province Bishop Wasonga) Ochiel, Masamba and  Waweru.

The next Archbishop has five predecessors to learn from. Archbishops Festo Olang, Manasses Kuria, David Gitari, Benjamin Nzimbi and Eliud Wabukala have all served during critical transitions and seasons of the country and have been called upon on different occasions to speak prophetically to the socio-economic and political situations the country has faced. This is coupled with providing leadership to the Anglican community locally and representation in the global Anglican community gives the Primate a full plate from their first day in office.
The first African Archbishop, Rev. Festo Olang, was enthroned in 1970. Archbishop Olang, a man of many firsts in the African Anglican Communion, a protégé of Edward Carey Francis and alumni of Alliance High School hosted the inaugural Anglican Consultative Council in Limuru in 1971. The ACC is more like a global Anglicanism Annual General Meeting. In 1977 he hosted the first conference of African Anglican Bishops that formed into the Conference of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) and was elected the first Chairman in 1977.

However one act that Archbishop Festo Olang did whose effects reverberate to date was the creation of the Dioceses of Maseno North and Maseno South. Until 1971, the only Dioceses were Fort Hall, Mombasa, Nakuru, Nairobi and Maseno. Naturally with the growth of the church comes the creation of new dioceses to make administration better. The Diocese of Maseno owned or managed the Maseno School, the Maseno Hospital and the St. Phillips Bible College, all established by the Church Missionary Society (CMS) which was the missionary order or wing of the Anglican Church. The division of Maseno Diocese brought about a dispute over which diocese “owned” the three institutions as Maseno town sat right at the border of the two dioceses.

The colonial ethnic boundary separating the North Kavirondo (Luhyias) and the Central Kavirondo (Luos) that is at Maseno, is said to have informed the boundary of the Dioceses. In May 2015, the Governor of Vihiga County claimed that Maseno belongs to Vihiga and not Kisumu County, and that they are losing revenue because of this. This has resulted in a border dispute that got the attention of the Speaker following a petition by Luanda MP, Hon. Chris Omulele. During a visit by the National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee to Maseno from May 13th – 15th 2016 to begin resolving the border dispute, elders pointed to the creation of the two Anglican Dioceses as one of the main contributors to the dispute claiming that congregations within the respective dioceses that had pockets of the minority ethnic communities were managed by the Bishop of that community in the bordering diocese.

Archbishop Olang retired on his birthday after he convened a Synod meeting for two days after his birthday and he was duly informed that he would be ineligible to preside over it. However the process of electing Archbishop Olang’s successor was deemed as controversial and widely regarded to have been influenced by the then powerful Attorney General Charles Njonjo. In their respective autobiographies, Bishop Okullu and Archbishops Gitari and Kuria give their own account of this transition process pointing to political interference and ethno-political posturing, which has also been witnessed in subsequent elections. Bishop Okullu and Bishop Nzano were the candidates during this election.


Archbishop Manasses Kuria was elected and enthroned as the second Archbishop of the Anglican Church in 1980 having served as Bishop of the Diocese of Nakuru from 1976. He served until 1994, 14 of President Moi’s 24 years in office including the one-party state period of 1982 –1990. President Moi’s first six years (1978 – 1984) were perceived by the church as being promising. Moi was faithful in his church attendance that was televised weekly throughout his 24-year presidency. He also ascended to power with the promise to release political prisoners, fight tribalism and corruption, all espoused in the nyayo philosophy of peace, love and unity. However, after the 1982 coup, Moi recoiled and became more hardline politically to deal with growing dissent.

From 1985, vocal Anglican bishops like David Gitari, Henry Okullu and Alexander Kipsang Muge together with Nakuru Catholic Bishop Ndingi Mwana-A-Nzeki and the Presbyterian cleric Timothy Njoya mounted a strong campaign against electoral malpractice and human rights abuses. They strongly condemned the change in the electoral system in 1988 from secret ballot to queue voting (mlolongo). Archbishop Kuria actively lent his voice especially when opposition leaders were arrested and detained in 1990. Like the condemnation of civil society and pro-democracy activists today as foreign agents or traitors, the Anglican Church and specifically Archbishop Manasses Kuria and Bishop Okullu were discussed in Parliament in June 1991, with Kuria being described as “a Provincial Administrator” and that the government should “get rid of these characters who are out to breach the peace”.


Archbishop David Gitari was enthroned in January 1997 and retired in September 2002, serving the full term of Kenya’s 8th Parliament. As a young Bishop of Mt. Kenya East from 1975, Bishop Gitari preached stinging sermons after the assassination of politician J.M. Kariuki ,in 1989 against queue voting and in 1990 following the assassination of the Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Robert Ouko. Archbishop Gitari’s first year as Archbishop found him in a rather turbulent political period. In the run up to the December 1997 general election, the civil society and the opposition MPs ganged up to press for constitutional reforms that included credible elections and the powers of the presidency. The MPs disrupted the Budget speech in June. In July, church leaders joined the pro-reform group to hold an unlicensed rally that police swiftly disrupted. Protesters seeking refuge at the All Saints Cathedral church were pursued right inside, beaten into a pulp and tear gas canisters were thrown into the church.

Archbishop Gitari organized a cleansing ceremony the following week that attracted international attention and global condemnation of what took place there. He preached a famous sermon from Daniel Chapter 5 where he concluded that if the President does not fulfill the wish for a new constitution and respect for human rights, God will write on the State House wall. President Moi ceded and the 1997 general elections saw a rare political agreement between the government and the opposition Members of Parliament, who ,through the Inter-Parties Parliamentary Group (IPPG) , were able to settle on minimum reforms including the inclusion of more electoral commissioners nominated by opposition parliamentary parties and a revision of the law to give the commission more operational independence.

When the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC), Archbishop Gitari testified in their Nyeri sitting where he brought up the cases of the murder of JM Kariuki and Dr. Robert Ouko.

Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi was enthroned as the 4th Archbishop of the ACK on September 2002 and served until June 2009. In his enthronement speech, he paid tribute to Retired Archbishop Gitari for his bold leadership, vowing to follow in his footsteps and adapting a famous poem, said: “Gitari ni hodari; Gitari ni daktari; Gitari ni jemedari; Gitari ni hatari” (Gitari is bold; Gitari is a doctor; Gitari is an army commander; Gitari is dangerous). Archbishop Nzimbi started serving at the end of KANU’s reign and throughout President Kibaki’s first term into the 2007 post-election violence period.

Naturally the church and the civil society took time to readjust to the new political dispensation led by President Kibaki, often being accused of being slow to point out the ills of a regime that improved the economy and Kenya’s international standing but deepened the ethnic, class and demographic divisions further. The lull in the advocacy role of the church allowed Nzimbi to shift the focus of the church towards expanding missions, promoting evangelisms and engaging society for social transformation; issues he had a passion in since his consecration as the first Bishop of Machakos Diocese in 1985 and the first Bishop of Kitui Diocese in 1995. This saw him oppose the inclusion of abortion related or implied clauses and the proposal to embed Kadhi courts in the draft Constitution during the 2005 referendum.

Additionally, Archbishop Nzimbi opposed the acceptance of gay clergy and the blessing of same-sex unions by the Episcopal Church in North America and Canada. In August 2007, Archbishop Nzimbi consecrated two rebel American priests as Bishops under the jurisdiction of the ACK but with oversight over 30 congregations in the US. The priests were opposed to the Episcopal Church’s tolerance of homosexuality. Archbishop Nzimbi became a leading figure in the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and attended the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) in Jerusalem in 2008 where the Jerusalem Declaration was signed “to declare the tenets of orthodoxy that underpin their identity as Anglicans”. Notably, declaration 8 stated that: “We acknowledge God’s creation of humankind as male and female and the unchangeable standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman as the proper place for sexual intimacy and the basis of the family. We repent of our failures to maintain this standard and call for a renewed commitment to lifelong fidelity in marriage and abstinence for those who are not married”.

The 2005 Constitutional Referendum that split the ruling coalition down the middle, the disputed 2007/8 general election and post election violence that followed was a blot in the country and the church was taken to task for its role in being partisan or not speaking boldly as the country spiraled into ethnic division. Archbishop Nzimbi was instrumental in the mediation process between Raila Odinga and Mwai Kibaki, urging them to open dialogue between themselves and give hope to the people. As the then Chairman of the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya, Archbishop Nzimbi commented that “although religious leaders have been pulled so much by their tribal feelings, they have been working hard together before, during, and after the election asking people to choose peace and prevent chaos.”. In October 2008 during the debate on whether to create a special tribunal to try the perpetrators of the violence or whether to provide amnesty to them as part of a healing process, Archbishop Nzimbi supported the full implementation of the Waki Report, rejecting calls for amnesty for perpetrators of crimes.

Archbishop Eliud Wabukala

Archbishop Wabukala’s enthronement as the 5th Archbishop of ACK in July 2009 took place when the country was picking up the pieces from the 2007/8 post-election violence. The Constitution Review Process was underway alongside other key reform process including the review of the electoral system and the inquiry into the violence leading to the submission of names of those deemed to hold the highest responsibility over the devastating violence to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague at the end of 2010. Wabukala chaired the ACK’s Constitution Review Commission.

During his enthronement service, Archbishop Wabukala laid out the priorities of the church that he intends to focus on, in his charge. On advocacy and national reforms the Archbishop said that “we will not shy away from speaking out against social ills or pleading the case of the needy and downtrodden. Nevertheless, we will be faithful in praying for our society and its leaders, and where possible we will support and complement the efforts of government and other players in service delivery”. On healing and reconciliation, the Archbishop noted “the unity we should be pursuing should indeed be like that of the three persons of God. The way God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit relate to each other. Their relationship prospers perfectly because it is based on truth, justice and sacrificial love…however brethren, without the truth, unity is at best superficial. At worst it is merely window dressing that is a thin layer of apparent respectability covering situations that are actually toxic”.

In May 2010, Archbishop Wabukala speaking on behalf of the Anglican House of Bishops rejected the final revised draft of the Constitution that had been endorsed by Parliament and the Cabinet, citing the refusal for amendments to clauses they did not agree with including the inclusion of Kadhi courts and the permissive stance on abortion. The Archbishop however said congregants were free to participate in the campaigns against the Constitution but the leadership of the church will stay out of the campaigns. Interestingly, Retired Archbishop David Gitari fully supported the new constitution stating that “The draft constitution is democratic and guarantees justice, end of corruption and impunity therefore we cannot be neutral on this matter,” while Wabukala’s immediate predecessor, Retired Archbishop Nzimbi opposed the new constitution stating that “as a matter of conscience he could not support the abortion and Kadhi court clauses.”

Wabukala’s tenure as Archbishop (2009 – 2016) coincides with the promulgation of the new constitution in August 2010 that ushers in drastic changes in Kenya’s socio-economic, political and public policy profiles key among them being the introduction of devolution of power and resources, a robust bill of rights, fought for by Archbishops Kuria and Gitari and the ICC process.

Education was flagged as one of the priorities in his enthronement charge. The ACK’s involvement in the national curriculum review and convening its own conference on education in March 2016 underscored the importance Archbishop Wabukala places on the matter. However, the traction for an Anglican University seems to have slowed down. The ACK is the only mainstream church that does not have its own university. St. Paul’s University in Limuru is jointly owned and sponsored by the Anglicans, Methodists and Presbyterians.

Archbishop Wabukala’s membership in the National Anti-Corruption Campaign Steering Committee (NACCSC), serving, as Chairman in his second term will be judged lately with the high incidences of reporting of corruption scandals. Is this an indication of better access to information, successful whistleblowing or credible public education campaigns by NACCSC?

Archbishop Wabukala continued with Retired Archbishop Nzimbi’s consistent and committed stand and participation in GAFCON and was elected the Chair, a role he relinquished in the GAFCON Council in Nairobi April 18th – 22nd. He has particularly maintained a tough stand with regard to dealing with the American Episcopal Church and declined to attend the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) in Lusaka (April 8th – 19th 2016 ) because of the presence of the Episcopal Church who had earlier in January 2016 been asked to keep off the organs of the Anglican Communion for three years. The Archbishops of Nigeria ,Rwanda and Egypt are amongst those who have declined to attend. However ,Kenya’s delegation attended and Bishop Joel Waweru, a contender for Archbishop, was elected into the Standing Committee of the ACC.
Whoever is elected will have to rich heritage of Archbishops to learn from. Examples to emulate or mistakes to avoid.

Rev Canon Francis Omondi is a clergy of the All Saints Cathedral Diocese of the Anglican Church of Kenya.
Kyama Mugambi is a Doctorate student at the African International University.
Omore Osendo is a Governance and Public Policy Expert based in Nairobi.

My Consitutional Right: Budget Proposal

Posted in If I was... on March 30, 2016 by Kyama

The constitution requires us, the Kenyan public, to engage with the budgetary process. Very few of us know that this is something we can or should do. I have always known it but never done it. Here is my contribution to the budget.
I am passionate about innovation and so here is my contribution.

Budget Proposal 2016-2017: Integrated Knowledge and Research Based Innovation Strategy by Kyama Mugambi

This proposal envisages an integrated, knowledge driven innovation strategy for the 2016-2017 budget. While the previous budget highlighted innovation, there hasn’t been an integrated approach to it. This proposal connects innovation to knowledge and research in a multi-agency strategy. It is envisioned that within this proposal an integrated approach to innovation will stimulate research and innovation in the institutions of higher learning in conjunction with major innovation stakeholders. In this way this will spur the kind of economic growth, sustainable development and vibrant innovation that has been witnessed in other places where such integrated approaches have been applied. This proposal also fills an important gap in the future economic strategy as presented in previous budgets.

Budget Proposal Innovation 2016 2017.pdf

Religious Societies Draft Rules 2015: Some Reflections

Posted in If I was... on January 11, 2016 by Kyama

In January 2016 Attorney General of Kenya issued a draft of rules, titled, The Societies [Religious Societies] Rules 2015. [Link Here and Here – Religious Societies Guidelines1] These were circulated to various stakeholders of religious societies for perusal and comments.

There have been mixed reactions to these rules. I have my own comments  to contribute to the debate in the public sphere. What will be helpful is a clear understanding of the context within which these rules emerge. Here are some salient elements of the context of this discussion:

  1. First of all, the rules are not yet ‘law’ so to speak. They have been circulated by the AGs office for perusal and comment. They will only come into effect when they are gazetted. [Which may happen at any time even at the publishing of this post]
  2. For the layman, [like a number of us] as I understand it, the rules are legal, but not really laws in the traditional sense of the word. They are rules, as part of, and within the existing societies act of 1968. For this reason they will not need to be passed by parliament and signed by the president. They are made within the AGs powers within the Act 1968, which is a good thing but also may have its own challenges. That said, there will need to be some objective dialogue on them before they are gazetted. The churches, whom I identify with, will need tact, patience and unity to engage the AGs office in this. Fortunately, [or unfortunately] he has the final say. Walking out, or being combative may not do justice to this. Dialogue, sustained, patient, united dialogue is our help. There may be some goodwill within that office. Such goodwill needs to be engaged.
  3. This is a legal document. It seems to me that the best way to engage with it, and enter into dialogue with the AGs office, is to find our best and most experienced legal minds who will talk attorney to attorney. Our past engagements of pastors to lawyers will certainly not do. What we probably need for each of the organizations of stakeholders are teams of the best lawyers, and lawyer-pastors who can keep up and get ahead of the legalese and discern the key issues to address. We should be ready to, if necessary, professionally engage legal counsel and pay what it will cost to get their devoted attention to this.
  4. We need to be honest. The church failed in self regulation,at least in the last couple of years. The consistent, recent inaction of the church on the likes of Kanyari and others has resulted in unfortunate circumstances which have forced this conversation. What the church should do is get ahead of the game by accepting our failure and doing something substantive even before these rules come into force.
  5. We also need to acknowledge that public sentiment, especially in the public media spaces, is not really with the independent, charismatic/pentecostal churches on account of the missteps of some of our own. It is unfortunate because, while the error of 2,3,4 or 10 doctors does not lead people to disdain medicine and hospitals, the same argument does not apply to Pentecostal pastors. I believe most are trying to do the right thing, God helping them! That said, the discussion on these rules however should not be carried out entirely on the public media space. I have great respect for all the great journalists out there doing their job, but they, like my fellow pastors, should not be the ones carrying this conversation about these rules. I think lawyers who understand the law, the constitution, the church and the context should.
  6. A final, very critical point is that these rules are not only for churches. We are living in a context where there have been excesses and dubious activities within other religions that have had a negative impact on our society. Violent [and virulent] radicalization, secular humanism and other issues are assailing us from the religious arena. They are bold enough to want to enter in from the front door. These rules are therefore for all other religious societies as well, and may have the potential to protect the society against some of these evils.

Here then are my observations on selected rules within the document.

The aim of the first portion of these rules [Rule 4] is to put an accountability check on some of the religious leaders [Christian or otherwise] who come and start to operate locally. A part of it may be for security reasons but another may be an attempt to safeguard religious excesses we have seen in the past.[Rule 4 is about the registration of religious societies headquartered outside of Kenya.]

Regarding registration of local churches, the government would like to know what the intentions are beyond religious or spiritual goals. These are to be listed under the categories of charitable, education, programs and so on. This is good because it will require a certain measure of sophistication and knowledge among the leadership to incorporate it in the society’s constitution and to annually review it. Hopefully this will raise the level of accountability among the religious leaders and institutions. [Rule 5.1.b Rule 5 is about the
registration of religious societies headquartered within Kenya.]

These rules, if effected, will see much more accountability among visiting ministers. This will likely cut both ways. What we hope to see is more accountability among visiting ministers. What will be regrettable will be the stifling of important cross-cultural, and international exchanges between religious institutions. [Rule 5 e]

The rules are intended to curb some of the issues we have had in the past of leaders with passion and a call but little theological training. That is good in the short term, what we will need to avoid is the growth of a clerical class of theologians and trained pastors with little passion or no sense of calling. Otherwise we will go the way of some parts of the world where sterile religion has replaced what was once a vibrant faith. [Rule 6.1.a Rule 6 is about registration requirements.]

The rules will make it easier for the state to monitor the activities and legality of the society, right up to the premises of operation. This will definitely help with dubious activities that have gone on in Christian places of meeting, and that have been recorded in other religions as well. What we will need to be vigilant about is that this provision, made for public good, does not turn around to become a shackle limiting the constitutionally mandated right to freedom of worship. [Rule 7.2 and 8 Rule 7 is about the display of registration certificate. Rule 8 is about inspection by the registrar]

The innovation in the rules is in the structure and function of umbrella societies under which individual religious societies will operate. For the first time there is an attempt at providing a mechanism for regulation that acts as a buffer between the local church and the government. It may be a good innovation which provides some unique possibilities [Rule 9 is about the registration of umbrella societies]. Some specific observations on this rule here:

  1. Where the church, especially the charismatic type, failed to regulate excesses within it, the government has provided a lifeline. Deregistration of a religious society, or its leader from the umbrella society triggers a process for automatic de-registration should the society fail to find another umbrella society. This should be helpful in addressing the Helicopter and Kanyari type issues.
  2. The church can now take advantage of the umbrella societies act in a more concerted way to engage political issues. This is actually worked into the functions of the umbrella body. [Rule 10 is about the role and function of umbrella societies] Any umbrella body with 5000 societies under it has serious clout and can get the government to respond to national issues. At a time when issues based accountability is yet to come from the opposition, churches can use this avenue to keep the government accountable. The flip side is that when an umbrella society is de-registered then it can disorient a large number of churches with it.
  3. The flip side is that, like any large representative organization, there are likely to be politics and power brokering for influence. The larger more stable, churches can help mitigate this by using their influence to steer the conversations and keep them issue based.
  4. The other flip side is the likelihood of financial challenges. There is a likelihood that the umbrella societies, like all large organizations, will become cost centers in themselves, and start exacting contributions from the members for their own survival. Accountability here may be sacrificed on the altar of expediency. Depending on how this goes, it could be a success story, or a failure for some. I hope for the former.

The umbrella society has been given a sense of purpose and some teeth. The role of the umbrella society span the whole gamut from the local society [read church, mosque] to inter-religious dialogue to national dialogue. If I were the government and the opposition I would now begin to pay a little more attention than before to the religious people. Where the church, and to some extent other religions, have failed in engaging with each other and the government, a gentle suggestion has been given, and a means provided. Hopefully we can now see much more meaningful engagement at the inter-religious and national levels. [Rule 10] Those churches that have human resources to actively, intellectually and professionally engage with national issues can now deploy these within the framework of umbrella societies. If this is a reality then we will be on the journey to a much more accountable public sphere, with much more robust engagements.

The Rules give power to the registrar to form structures to settle disputes in religious societies. We probably want the religious societies to have some say in selecting the teams, and processes that resolve their own conflicts. Government interventions in the settlement of disputes should only be a last resort, and even that should be with considerable consultation with the umbrella societies. [Rule 11 is about the role of the registrar in settling disputes]

It was coming, and now it is here. The Rules require a strict adherence to sound governance practices, including the filing of annual returns. Religious institutions will now have to be accountable. This is a very welcome step, especially within the church. The challenge will be educating a large number of leaders on what this means for them, and how they can get this going. Fortunately we have some larger churches that have consistently led the way in this. We hope they can be their brothers keepers, and share the knowledge and skills so that the church can collectively elevate its level of competence in this. Again, the flip side is that there is a likelihood of abuse should there be government officials with less than pure objectives in their investigations into these. [Rule 13 and
14 are about the filing of annual returns after annual general meetings]

So the rules emerge from a context and are intended for public good. There are inherent challenges and possibilities for abuse. By and large this seems to be to be a second chance for the Church, after some missteps to reorganize itself to serve the public by being their moral conscience and spiritual compass.

My prayer is that this time we will rise up to the challenge.

[Link to original document Here]

Postscript: January 27, 2016 President Uhuru Kenyatta directed that the rules and regulations be subjected to further consultations with stakeholders before they are implemented at a later date.