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Ruto tells wrangling ACK Mt Kenya West clerics to make peace

 President Ruto with outgoing Mt Kenya West ACK Archbishop Joseph Kagunda. [PCS]

President William Ruto has delved into the succession wrangles at the ACK Mt Kenya West diocese

The president and other leaders called for a ceasefire of the succession war that has sprouted following the retirement of Bishop Joseph Kagunda, who has been at the helm of the diocese for 20 years.

Speaking during the retirement service for the outgoing bishop ACK St Peter’s Cathedral in Nyeri town on Sunday, Ruto called on the church to strictly adhere to the succession process as stipulated in their constitution.

“God is the one who will pick the next bishop. So, don’t belabour too much and don’t give yourselves sleepless nights. God will make the decision. The process of electing the new bishop has been announced here,” Ruto said.

The head of state told politicians to keep off the election process as the church must be given the chance to operate without interference.

Speaking at the same event, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua appealed to the church not to engage in leadership wrangles but instead allow the right procedure to be undertaken.

“As Bishop Kagunda exits, let the transition to the new bishop be peaceful and non-confrontational. It is so sad when we read the papers and see men and women of the church tearing each other because of leadership. The legacy of Bishop Kagunda will be destroyed if we allow endless conflicts,” Gachagua said.

“I want to appeal to those who have gone to court to withdraw those cases and allow the archbishop to steer the church to the new leadership. The church should set an example to us political leaders of being peaceful in transition,” he added.

The head of the ACK church, Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit, announced that he has officially taken over the leadership of the church in an acting capacity pending the election of the new bishop whose process has so far been halted by the court.

Archbishop Sapit said the outgoing bishop, during his consecration on August 8, 2004, had announced that he would step down from the office before midnight of April 15, 2024.

“On the day of consecration, we also announce the day of our exit. In 2004, Bishop Joseph stood here and said that he would relinquish his office on or before but not later than midnight of April 15, 2024. That announcement was made 20 years ago. Those who have moved to court should withdraw that case,” Archbishop Sapit said.

On his part, outgoing Bishop Kagunda recalled how he has served with difficulties, pointing out some members of the clergy who have contributed to him during his tenure.

“I want to appreciate all the clergy of this diocese. I have ordained all these clergy and promoted them to all the levels that can be counted in the church, yet they have taken me to court. But I was not jailed. Two or three of them took me to court.  All others are very good people, and they are still with me. Let us obey the bishop that will be elected so that he takes us to the next level, he said.

A High Court in Nyeri issued an order restraining Bishop Kagunda from convening the 16th ordinary session of the synod of the diocese.

Members of the diocese’s synod are supposed to pick 16 representatives, amongst themselves, that will participate in electing the next bishop.

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