New ACK head asks leaders to mend rift

Sunday April 26 2009

Bishop Eliud Wabukala of Bungoma Diocese address journalist outside the All Saints Cathedral after being elected as the 5th Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya. PHOTO/ FILE

Bishop Eliud Wabukala of Bungoma Diocese address journalist outside the All Saints Cathedral after being elected as the 5th Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya. PHOTO/ FILE  

By BERNARD KWALIA

The newly-elected head of the Anglican Church of Kenya has asked the President to reconsider his hard-line position and embrace dialogue to unlock the current impasse facing the coalition government.

Archbishop-elect Eliud Wabukala said there is no other solution besides dialogue, adding that the two principals should put aside their selfish interests and agree on the sticky issues for the sake of Kenyans.

He challenged both President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to find a quick solution to most of the problems rocking the coalition.

Dr Wabukala was speaking at St Crispin’s Church in Bungoma during a special Mass to celebrate his elevation.

He said although he respects the call by the National Council of Churches of Kenya for early polls, he warned against the move, arguing that there can never be elections in the absence of necessary reforms and an electoral body.

Flanked by bishops Thomas Kogo of Eldoret Diocese and Zakayo Epus of Katakwa Diocese, Dr Wabukala said as church leaders they were watching every move by the leaders.

He said the country was yearning for alternative leadership, and that the continued bickering by coalition partners was leaving Kenyans more miserable.

“Kenya is currently facing one of the greatest challenges since independence, and unless the leaders rise to the occasion, more trouble is imminent,” Dr Wabukala said.

Preach hope

He asked the faithful to be united even as they search for the much-needed alternative leadership, which he said was long overdue.

“Kenyans are hopeless, and as a church we have the responsibility to preach hope and sanity,” he added.

He further said he is committed to seeing the Kenyan church united and called upon the clergy to support him in his quest for a united Kenya by preaching peace and coexistence.

On his part, Bishop Gogo rebuked political leaders for washing their dirty linen in the public. He urged them to embrace dialogue to save their image.

At the same time, Saboti MP Eugene Wamalwa has challenged Kenyan political leaders to emulate Dr Wabukala, saying it was his humility that had seen him rise.

Mr Wamalwa blamed PNU and Mr Kibaki for the current stalemate, arguing that unless the Head of State acknowledges Mr Odinga as the PM, animosity and bickering will not go away.

Coalition

The MP further reminded the coalition partners to refer back to the accord, saying it effectively embodies the spirit of dialogue.

He said that whereas Kenyans were living in fear over the invasion of Kenyan territory, MPs and the government were busy jostling for power.

Mr Wamalwa cited West Pokot District, where Ugandan soldiers are alleged to have uprooted the boundary, and the invasion of Migingo Island by the neighbouring country.

“Since the Kilaguni talks failed, the President and Prime Minister should reschedule another meeting to resolve these matters forthwith,” he said.