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Besides praying, just avoid their ‘looted’ money too, Mutua urges clergy

POLITICS
By Japheth Ogila | October 6th 2019

Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua at KTN talk show Point Blank with host Tony Gachoka. He has told the clergy to avoid proceeds of corruption or 'dirty money' taken to churches as donations. [File, Standard]

Machakos Governor Dr Alfred Mutua has accused religious leaders of double-speak, saying they pray against graft but at the same time receive gifts from corrupt politicians.

He told the clergy that the fight against corruption in the country requires more than prayers to be won.

Mutua who was responding to yesterday’s decision by bishops drawn from the Catholic Church to ban huge cash donations in church fundraiser said churches ought to do more to buttress the anti-graft war on top of the donation ban.

 “It is hypocritical to call for prayers against corruption whereas some priests and pastors are receiving questionable money from politicians. We have invited corruption to our altars and pulpits. God is surely not pleased, stated Mutua in a statement seen by Standard Digital.

The Maendeleo Chap Chap Party leader asserted that church leaders can score massively in the fight against graft by refusing to accept money from questionable donors.

 “It would be great if instead of praying for a politician cleaning stolen money through the church by declaring, ‘God loves a cheerful giver’ clerics refused money from corrupt leaders.”

“Imagine if a priest or pastor told a corrupt politician, “Thanks but we will not accept your contribution,” he further stated.

Governor Mutua also persuaded the churches to take up the role of civic education to help the masses understand the value of electing good leaders, arguing that educating voters will see corrupt politicians rejected at the ballot.

“When voters vote in known thieves with no development track record, they are choosing suffering and continuation of poverty. No amount of prayer afterward can help,” he asserted.

On Saturday, Catholic bishops headed by their conference chairman Bishop Phillip Anyolo declared a ban on cash donations to curb money laundering.

"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.

While addressing the congregants at Marian Shrine in Subukia, Nakuru County, Bishop Anyolo said the move is a step to join the fight against graft.

He said that the measures will cover the personal gifts that the clergy receive from individuals.

"We shall keep a record of any gift given to any religious leader exceeding Sh50,000. All gifts shall be accompanied by a letter," he said.

Politics

The decision is likely to spur debate between politicians allied to Deputy President William Ruto and those allied to Opposition chief Raila Odinga.

On April 21, 2019, Odinga made an allegation that the churches were being used as lucrative grounds of money laundering.

During a public rally at Ahero in Kisumu County, Raila argued that the church had turned deaf ears to the vice.

“Some church leaders are true to their calling, others are not. We need to ask the source of the millions of money being taken to churches,” said Raila.

“We need to ask if someone’s salary is Sh1 million a month, where do they get Sh5 million each week or between Sh15 and Sh20 million a month to hold fundraisers in churches?” he posed.

He was taking a political dig at DP Ruto who had come out to defend his church donations

What ensued was a political heat with the DP firing back a few days later.

“Like Joshua in the Bible, I have decided to serve God. The people speaking ill about me and my contributions should concentrate on their relationship with their God. Let me be. I am glad that today I’m in the Akurinu church, which very few leaders have been to,” said Ruto.

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