The country marked a new front in the fight against corruption at the Marian Shrine in Subukia as Catholic Bishops banned wads of notes in funds drive in favour of cashless donations.
In a landmark move that may bite on graft lords cleansing their money in church, the bishops said electronic transfer of donation would leave a “clear trail of donors” for accountability sake.
They also banned politicking in the pulpits, proper recording of gifts and their givers and announced a six month renewal of baptismal promises for every Catholic faithful to re-commit themselves against the evil of corruption.
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“Henceforth, fundraisers in the church will be done by mobile money transfer or by cheque. This will avoid handling of huge amounts of cash and give a clear trail of the donors,” Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) Chairman Bishop Philip Anyolo announced.
The church will also provide details of its accounts, institutions, projects and other financial matters making them open for public scrutiny.
“We will keep a record of any gift given to any religious leader exceeding Sh50,000. All gifts will be accompanied by a letter,” he added.
The bishops declared that the church will not condone being used as political platforms or for any other motive other than for the liturgy and normal worship, dealing a blow to a section of politicians who have been using churches every Sunday to respond or attack their critics.
“We will not be used as political platforms. We will not allow any address within the church from any non-liturgical character. Such addresses will be made outside with due dignity. Political speeches will not be allowed during any liturgical celebrations,” he said.
At the special service dubbed “breaking the chains of corruption” and held at the Subukia National Shrine in Nakuru County, it was a spectacle to behold as the men of clothe emerged walking bare foot.
Carrying crosses and donning a green ribbon with white edges around them and on their robes, they all knelt facing the altar and observed a moment of silence before reciting a prayer against corruption, led by their chair.
During this process, the bishops did not don their mitres on their heads as a sign of humility.
“We may appear small but can truly slay this monster and free our country from the slavery chains of corruption,” said Anyolo.
The bishops decried the tremendous corruption that has imprisoned most sectors of the country economically, socially and politically.
“We come out in a prophetic gesture of mourning to call to God for mercy, let’s change our wayward ways and personally reject any form of corruption,” added Anyolo.
The church will also open a corruption desk through which Kenyans can make reports on corruption.
Tightening the noose
Yesterday, the Anglican Church of Kenya closed ranks with the Catholic Church to tighten the noose on politicians taking stranglehold of the pulpit.
The church head Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit said he felt vindicated by his colleagues in the Catholic church. He said his own church’s synod agreed last week that no donor will be allowed to give his donation to the church openly.