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Four Anglican bishops join race

Wednesday April 15 2009

By NATION Reporter

Four Anglican bishops have shown interest in replacing the church leader in the country, Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi, whose term has expired.

Maseno West bishop Joseph Otieno Wasonga, Kitale bishop Stephen Kewasis, Taita bishop Samuel Mwaluda and Bungoma bishop Eliud Wabukala are in a tight race to become the primate of the largest protestant church in Kenya. The elections will be held next week.

Political and ethnic lobbying has started in earnest, with key political parties aligning themselves with some candidates.

ACK elections normally draw the interests of the political leadership, in a bid to win the support of the church members through their leader.

Image tainted

According to a delegate and dean of the Maseno South Diocese, Rev Joshua Owiti, the elections will bring together 30 ACK bishops in Nairobi on April 24.

Speaking to the Nation on the phone, Rev Owiti said that only God can give the church a new leader who will improve the image tainted by taking partisan positions during the 2007 General Election.

The first African archbishop of the five-million-member church, Festo Olang’, was elected in 1970. In a period of 158 years, the church has established 32 dioceses. The local Anglican Church is a member of the international 70 million strong Anglican Communion.