Protect DP Gachagua, Western clerics tell Ruto

Apostle Ken Barasa, the Kakamega County Chaplain flanked by other religious leaders addressing the press on May 28, 2024. [Nathan Ochunge, Standard]

A section of religious leaders from the Western region has called out on President William Ruto for allegedly allowing politicians from his Rift Valley stronghold to antagonize Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua.

The over 20 bishops and imams, led by apostle Ken Barasa, the Kakamega County Chaplain, expressed concerns over the current developments in government.

“We see elected leaders from Rift Valley trying to create animosity between the President and his deputy, raising political temperatures and putting the country in an electioneering mood,” said apostle Barasa.

"Ruto must rise to the occasion and call his MPs who are attacking Gachagua to order. The effects of the misunderstanding between Ruto and Gachagua are now reaching the grassroots, and if allowed to continue, it will derail Kenya Kwanza's development agenda," he added.

Apostle Barasa drew parallels to the past, stating, “Ruto knows well that his previous misunderstanding with former President Uhuru Kenyatta derailed the Big Four Agenda and fueled political animosity, pushing the country to the edge as communities aligned politically along tribal lines.”

The religious leaders emphasized the need for a united government. “We don’t want to see divisions in government but a united leadership. We pray that Ruto will seek guidance from wise men and seek a truce with his deputy,” said apostle Barasa.

He urged the President to replace hardliners with sober advisors who will work towards uniting the country rather than dividing it.

Ibrahim Sadala, the chief Imam for the Western region reminded the President to fulfill his pre-election pledges to the people.

“When you promise something, you must fulfill it by ensuring its full implementation,” said Mr Sadala adding, “We are being overtaxed, but we are not seeing the fruits of the taxes we pay.”

Sadala also demanded that the government lowers the high cost of living on grounds that many Kenyans are suffering and cannot afford to take their children to school and fend for their families.

Pastor Nathan Lanya of Christian Fellowship Church International criticized the allocation of funds in the Finance Bill 2024 proposals saying Ruto and Gachagua have allocated billions of shillings to their offices but scrapped a fundamental school feeding program.

Lanya said the Finance Bill imposes punitive taxes, with the money collected benefiting only a few individuals.

“Taxes are good, but let's be responsible in spending them. We want to see what the taxes are doing,” he said, demanding accountability.

Bishop Florence Wandera of Dominion Church Kakamega criticised the government for the lack of vaccines for children under five years saying millions of children are missing out on important vaccines due to stockouts.

His sentiments were echoed by Sheikh Idris Mohammed who cautioned the head of state against allowing the promotion of same-sex unions in the country after the US State visit.

"President Ruto should not be convinced by Western countries to promote LGBTQI in the country in exchange for donor funding,” he said.

He said although Western countries have embraced the vice, in Kenya it should not be allowed as clearly outlined in the Bible, Quran, and national traditions and values.

Bishop Julius Abungana on the other hand called for sobriety among political leaders as they head to the National Assembly to tackle the Finance Bill 2024.

"Don't vote to please the presidency but the suffering Kenyans who are overtaxed and often under-represented," he said.