The Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) has two new bishops after the dioceses of West Pokot and Maseno South held elections yesterday.
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Troubled Kitale ACK elected Rev Emmanuel Chemengich, 49, to replace Bishop Stephen Kewasis, who has in the recent past received opposition from a section of congregation from West Pokot County.
Bishop Kewasis, the first bishop of the dioceses, retired on July 18, 2018.
The bishop-elect was endorsed by the majority members of the electoral college during the polls held at St Lukes Cathedral Kitale yesterday.
Canon Rev Charles Ochieng Onginjo is the new Maseno South bishop-elect, replacing Rev Francis Mwai Abier.
Onginjo was elected yesterday by an electoral college comprising 23 delegates in an exercise held at St Stephen’s Cathedral Church in Kisumu.
The race had attracted three candidates - Onginjo, Rev Zephania Kore of St Stephen Cathedral and Curate Boniface Ogosi.
The exercise that lasted half the day saw the polls held in three rounds to determine the winner after all the candidates failed to ganner the two thirds majority in the first attempt.
The Church’s Chancellor and Returning Officer Ambrose Weda said an aspirant was required to get at least 16 votes in the first round of voting.
‘’We were then forced to go to round two, but now with one candidate holding for the rest with an anticipation to get at least two thirds majority votes,’’ he said.
But even then, it was still not possible to get a clear winner, forcing them to proceed to round three where Onginjo won by simple majority.
Abiero retired after 24 years of service. He was elected, consecrated and enthroned on September 1994.
He took over from Bishop Henry Okullu of Maseno South Diocese, who by the time of his death was one of the fiercest critics of the government.
In West Pokot, Dr Chemengich emerged winner after he defeated Ven Polycarp Meger and Ven Kimutai Chesos in an exercise that took one hour.
His victory was announced to the flock by the church’s legal advisor Aggrey Kidiavai after the election that took an hour.
Excitement rocked the church as the bishop-elect was led out by the electoral college members before Kidiavai announced the results.
“I am happy to announce that Rev Chemengich is the bishop-elect after a free and fair election,” he announced.
“I accept with humility the trust bestowed on me by the electoral church to led the dioceses and I promise to serve diligently by bringing the vision of spiritual maturity in the church,” said Chemengich in his acceptance remark.
[Osinde Obare, Kepher Otieno, Cynthia Awour].