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Give us cash, not food after prayers! Clerics tell Governor Barasa


 Interreligious Council of Kenya chairman in Kakamega Bishop Nicholas Olumasai. [Benard Lusigi, Standard]

Religious leaders in Kakamega County have urged area Governor Fernandes Barasa to put them on a retainer as opposed to only being offered food after presiding at functions.

Speaking during the Apostolic and Prophetic Conference in Kakamega town which was presided over by Barasa, the bishops said some of them have been offering prayers to the county leadership without getting anything in return.

Some recently suggested they could also benefit from the National Government Constituency Development Funds (NG-CDF).

The men of God said they have been getting only food after events.

“We are urging our governor to work closely with religious leaders the way he is doing. He should treat bishops with dignity and respect unlike his predecessor Wycliffe Oparanya where Men of God used to be given food at the end of functions,” said Bishop Nicholas Olumasai, Chairman Kakamega Bishops Association.

“We have been doing chaplaincy work for the county, blessing the devolved unit, praying for unity, prosperous and for the county to grow in terms of development and we have seen our current governor is really working closely with religious leaders and he has shown goodwill and therefore we want to urge him to put us on a small retainer or token rather than food,” he added.

Olumasai said religious leaders have been instrumental to the growth of Kakamega County and they should be rewarded with dignity.

“I was the chaplain of the county for the last ten years but it is surprising that I was never given a token or salary. I served the whole ten years relying on food that I was given. Today, I am not a chaplain of the county but we want to push so that those in the position of chaplaincy are put on a retainer. At least at the end of the month they can get some little salary. We are not demanding, we just want clerics to be shown some respect,” said Olumasai.

His sentiments were echoed by another bishop who urged the governor to work closely with religious leaders.

“We love serving our people and the county at large... we are not demanding money but we are at least trying to say our religious leaders should be paid something little. Not the way they have been reduced to ordinary people who are supposed to just eat and leave,” said one of the bishops.

Barasa promised to work closely with the religious leaders and improve their welfare.

“My administration highly values our religious leaders and that is why I don’t miss any of their functions when invited and I am the first governor to put a chaplaincy that has full membership comprised of various religious leaders,” said Barasa.

“I am going to listen to their grievances and proposals and I know vwe will get a solution. I am ready to support them because we are serving the same people and they have been instrumental to the steady growth of my administration and the county at large,” he added.

This comes barely a month after religious leaders asked MPs to ensure they benefit from the National Government Constituency Development Funds (NG-CDF).

Pastors from the Pentecostal Assembly of God (PAG) in Kakamega County called for a review of the law governing CDF that will see them benefit from the funds.

“We have seen schools, hospitals, and other social amenities benefiting from the constituency funds but not churches. We also want our MPs to allocate certain funds that will go towards the development of our places of worship and supporting religious leaders,” said Pastor Jack Mudiri.

Mudiri added that religious leaders are instrumental in shaping the development of society and they should be supported financially.

“Besides doing the Lord’s work we are shaping a moral society."

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