NCCK chair critical of key meeting’s agenda

Rev. Canon Peter Karanja, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches of Kenya, at Jumia Conference and Country Home on August 2, 2017. [File]

The transition crisis at the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) has deepened after the chairman accused the general secretary of trying to divide the church.

Archbishop Timothy Ndambuki wrote to Rev Canon Peter Karanja ahead of tomorrow’s extra-ordinary committee meeting to be held in Limuru.

In the letter obtained by The Standard, Ndambuki has opposed the introduction of other agenda outside the pending dispute on the circumstances under which Karanja’s successor, Chris Kinyanjui Kamau, was recruited two months ago.

The chairman describes the agenda of the meeting as “reactionary, unnecessarily emotive and divisive to a council that has been the hope and light of the nation of Kenya”.

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Tomorrow’s meeting was forced on Karanja by council members opposed to the manner in which Kamau was recruited. Karanja had initially opposed the meeting and asked those pushing for it to foot a Sh2.5 million bill.

When the members threatened to move to court, Karanja changed tack. He agreed to fund the meeting but introduced an agenda to amend NCCK’s laws to grant four founder churches veto powers on important council matters.

Ndambuki, who is also the archbishop of Africa Brotherhood Church, opposed the move to grant the churches veto powers. He also reprimanded Karanja for sidestepping him on his decision to convene the meeting and in drafting its agenda.

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“As the council chairman, you ought to have called me for a consultation meeting on the best way to respond or act to solve this matter. This is both demeaning and embarrassing for the council and the position of the chairman.”

Ndambuki says a crucial meeting of such a ‘sensitive scale’ requires wider consultations instead of ‘seemingly quick overreactions’. He adds that it is not wise to contemplate the amendment of NCCK’s constitution in the middle of a crisis.

Veto powers

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“Targeting to divide the church in your suggested veto powers and other levels is balkanising the body of Christ in the version of worldly political contests. In Christ, we are one and that is the unity the council should be enhancing,” the letter reads.

Karanja has proposed that the Anglican Church of Kenya, Presbyterian Church of East Africa, Methodist Church and Africa Inland Church get special powers to decide on four key issues.

These are; the appointment of the general secretary and his deputy, the election and appointment of council members, amendment of the constitution, and admission of new members.

In other amendments also slated for discussion, Karanja proposes to change the law to allow general secretaries to hold on to their positions past their official terms if the general secretary-designate is unable to assume office for whatever reasons.

The proposed changes also block the deputy general secretary from assuming office, instead assigning him the role of a transition officer.

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If a deputy general secretary wants to become general secretary, he would have to resign two-and-a-half years before the general secretary’s term expires.

The current deputy general secretary is Dr Nelson Makanda.

Other amendments relate to the holding of extra-ordinary meetings, formation of an arbitration committee and invalidation of initial applicants for the position of general secretary and deputy general secretary where the process is stillborn.

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