By PETER ORENGO and LONAH KIBET
The Anglican Church in Kenya has banned politicians from taking political campaigns to its places of worship.
The church, through its leader Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, said the church will not receive gifts from politicians or allow the pulpit to be used to spur animosity among Kenyans.
“We must embrace humility and become wiser as the country nears the General Elections. We will not allow the church pulpits be used by politicians to attack each other,” said Archbishop Wabukala on Sunday after leading a Sunday worship session at the All Saints Cathedral Church in Nairobi.
“As a church, we will remain non-partisan, but politicians who want to divide Kenyans on tribal lines should be discouraged at all costs. We are aware that some of them may not mean well,” said Wabukala.
The statements by the head of the Anglican Church in the country follow an earlier resolution by several priests from Mombasa Catholic Archdiocese who warned MPs William Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta, former Civil Service boss Francis Muthaura and journalist Joshua Sang, who are accused of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court (ICC), against holding prayers in their churches.
“I, as the Archbishop of Mombasa, and my 80 priests will not allow the four suspects to hold prayers in our place. This will be tantamount to promoting impunity, which this country must abhor,” said Archbishop Boniface Lele of Mombasa Archdiocese.
The Seventh Day Advetist church, through a newsletter to all its branches, has also directed church elders not to use the church podium to campaign for their preferred political parties or leaders.
The church said it will remain neutral on political matters and urged its congregation to keep their political opinions to themselves.
The Anglican church on its part said politicians will only attend church services as normal worshipers and there will be no preferential treatment.
It is common for politicans to attend religious services during an election period to seek support where they often use the oportunity to promote their own political agenda and attack their opponents.