US dollars fuelling Church campaign
Posted Saturday, May 1 2010 at 21:00
- Washington–based anti-abortion group says it is donating ‘tens of thousands of dollars’ to help defeat Kenya’s proposed constitution
- The churches say they have no foreign source of cash in their campaign against the draft law but one of them is getting ‘tens of thousands of dollars’
An American-based group opposed to abortion has said it is donating “tens of thousands of dollars” to help defeat Kenya’s proposed constitution.
The American Centre for Law and Justice’s Jordan Sekulow, told the Sunday Nation that his Washington-based organisation is working through its office in Nairobi to tell Kenyans that the draft constitution would allow “abortion on demand”.
It is the first revelation of foreign funding given to church leaders in Kenya to campaign against the draft constitution.
The American Centre for Law and Justice is a non-governmental public interest law firm founded in 1990 by the controversial televangelist Pat Robertson well-known in Kenya for his programs on the Christian Broadcast Network.
Information available on the Internet indicates the centre has an annual budget of about $14 million (about Sh1 billion).
Mr Robertson stirred up a barrage of criticism with his remarks that Haiti had “made a pact with the Devil” that earned them the earthquake that left more than 250,000 Hatians dead in January.
The “deal”, according to Mr Robertson, was made by the black inhabitants of the Caribbean island nation in order to gain freedom from their French masters in 1804.
Mr Robertson and Mr Sekulow are behind the Washington-based NGO that has established a centre in Nairobi to work against the proposed draft and to develop a strategy for Christians to lobby Parliament over future law reforms.
In America they are referred to as the extreme Christian right and favour conservative social policies and very limited or no government role in the economy.
Kenyan church leaders have vowed to fell the proposed law because, in their view, it does not affirm religious freedoms and, according to their interpretation, it does not expressly outlaw abortion.
The American organisation’s outlet in Kenya is the East African Centre for Law and Justice.
A statement on the US organisation’s website on January 27 this year announced the centre’s establishment and says, “This is only the beginning. The EACLJ will be a centre that will change the landscape of legislation for all Kenyans and eventually all of East Africa’s citizens.”
It is signed by Executive Director Joy Mdivo and Bishop Mark Karuki of the Deliverance Church Kenya.
The revelations come a day after NCCK secretary-general the Rev Peter Karanja said the organisation was not receiving foreign funding to run its No campaign. The Deliverance Church is not a member of the NCCK.
Reached on Saturday evening, Bishop Kariuki told the Sunday Nation he did not wish to comment on the donations until after he had spoken to Mr Sekulow.
Activists associated with similar groups in the United States are also shipping brochures to Kenya in an attempt to persuade voters to reject the proposed constitution because of a provision that would permit abortion when a woman’s life is in danger.
Although the Constitution guarantees the right to life, and the draft provides that life begins at conception, church leaders have vowed to fight it because of its provisions on abortion and kadhis’ courts.