Cracks in Church as clerics join ‘Yes’

Thursday July 22 2010

The clergymen are operating under the banner, Christians for Yes. In their ranks are Bishop Peter Njenga (above) and the Rev John Njenga of the Anglican Church of Kenya and evangelical bishop Patrick Mungai. Photo/FILE

The clergymen are operating under the banner, Christians for Yes. In their ranks are Bishop Peter Njenga (above) and the Rev John Njenga of the Anglican Church of Kenya and evangelical bishop Patrick Mungai. Photo/FILE  

By PETER LEFTIE, [email protected]

The Church is facing a major rebellion within its ranks after some senior clergy on Thursday declared they would rally Christians to support the proposed constitution.

The clergymen are operating under the banner, Christians for Yes. In their ranks are Bishop Peter Njenga and the Rev John Njenga of the Anglican Church of Kenya and evangelical bishop Patrick Mungai, who accuse the church leadership of intimidating Christians to reject the proposed constitution “by peddling propaganda and lies about the document.”

But at a press conference, the Nairobi archbishop of the Catholic Church, John Cardinal Njue and the Anglican head, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, maintained that the Church leadership would not relent in its quest to shoot down the document.

“Let them lay their issues on the table so that we can debate them. Our position is that even if everything else in the document was right and only one thing was wrong, we would pay attention to it,” said Cardinal Njue, adding: “If there is a contentious issue, should we close our eyes to it?”

Responding to the pro-Yes church leaders, Dr Wabukala said that the Anglicans would not force anybody to go against their wishes, but maintained that the Church leaders’ decision to reject the document would not change. “We cannot force anyone to say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’,” he said.

Clergy ‘spreading’ lies

In a statement, the pro-Yes clergy said: “We have been made aware of the intimidation from sections of church leadership... tragically this has also resulted in the spreading of half-truths, misinformation and in some instances outright lies about sections found in the proposed constitution.”

They join other prominent church leaders who have openly supported the document, including former Anglican head David Gitari, Anglican bishops Beneah Salala and Mwai Abiero and outspoken Catholic priest Ambrose Kimutai.