Why Church gag order against politicians is hard to enforce in Kenya

Anglican Church head Archbishop Jackson ole Sapit

The church was the unofficial opposition during President Moi reign 

By The Weekly Vision Online

The announcement by Anglican Church head Archbishop Jackson ole Sapit to the effect that political leaders refrain from talking politics in a church is hardly feasible even from a historical perspective.

During the KANU single-party rule under President Daniel Moi, the church became the only vessel to speak out against regime failures and excesses. In the 1980s and early 1990s, Moi’s word was almost “law”.  

President Moi increasingly became autocratic after the failed August 1982 coup attempt by Kenya Air force officers before it was clamped down. Clerics took him on, heads-on with ACK Bishop Alexander Muge constantly crossing swords with Kenya’s head of state that in 24 years never missed a Sunday church service.

Many people are faulting the ACK’s no politics in church gag order as the country heads to the 2022 election since churches hold 70 per cent of potential voters thus an ideal fishing zone for politicians

Muge was joined by other defiant church leaders like Cardinal Maurice Otunga in Nairobi and Ndingi Mwana Nzeki in Nakuru who “fiercely” criticized the Moi regime for its excesses. They were further supported by PCEA’s firebrand Timothy Njoya.

It is with this in hindsight that many are faulting the ACK’s no politics in church gag order as the country heads to the 2022 election. Churches hold 70 per cent of potential voters thus an ideal fishing zone for politicians.

Many of the churches have been built by politicians who expect support from the congregation. In many churches aspirants for various positions are introduced by the clerics to the congregation and allowed to say a “few words” which usually is to campaign. In return, the visiting aspirants give hefty offerings and tithes and as we head towards the 2022 poll many clerics are bracing for “harvest” from politicians.

The bishop may mean well but the issue of money, church and politics appear to be triplets conjoined at the hip and hard to separate because bread and butter issues are at the heart of believers.

When Covid 19 forced churches to close most of the clerics are reported to have been on the verge of starvation as they survive on offerings from their congregation. They also have children in school and medical bills to settle. Most of this money is with politicians and few clerics can turn down a church donation. That’s why Ole Sapit may be playing the proverbial guitar expecting appreciation from an audience that is simply not ready to listen, dictated by the prevailing harsh economic times worsened by Covid 19 global pandemic.

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