The road to finding the successor of the longest-serving Mombasa Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) bishop is in limbo after a section of the clergy disputed the elections.
ACK Bishop Hannington Institute of Theology and Development Studies lecturer Alphonce Mwaro Baya won the fierce battle to succeed Bishop Julius Kalu after three rounds of voting on Saturday.
Rev Mwaro, 39, was declared the bishop-elect when he beat the Mombasa Memorial Cathedral provost, Rev Festus Kiseu, and the vicar of ACK St John Church, Rev Richard Otieno.
However, a section of disgruntled clerics said they will go to court to dispute the election and stop the bishop-elect’s consecration, claiming that he was rigged in.
They alleged election malpractices.
Bishop Kalu, who has served in the position for 24 years and is set to retire this month, said he was not aware of any irregularity.
“I am not a member of the Electoral College, I was not involved in its formation and, therefore, I cannot comment on any irregularities that were witnessed,” Bishop Kalu insisted.
The elections were conducted by the Electoral College.
Speaking after a church service, the primate urged disgruntled clergy and worshippers against taking the matter to court but instead wait for a solution to be found. He called for peace and dialogue.
“Don’t be too quick to go to court on any matter concerning the Church. We have enough people who can solve the impasse or in case of a problem. We are supposed to sit down, dialogue and solve any issues.”
He added: “We have a bishop-elect. However, we have not had official communication from the archbishop yet; he has not announced this name and, therefore, I cannot take it upon myself to announce the results.
“But we pray for peace. Mombasa Diocese has been peaceful all through.”
In his first interview following the disputed polls, Bishop-elect Mwaro thanked the council for having faith in him. The man of the cloth said he will continue preaching the Gospel.
“I’m humbled for the responsibility and confidence bestowed on me by the Church and faithful,” said Bishop-elect Mwaro. “We are all servants of Christ and we should bring our gifts and work together in building the Kingdom of God.”
Rev Mwaro, also team director of Mombasa Diocese and dean at Soweto denary, is married to Rev Martha Mwaro. Kajiado Bishop Gadiel Lenini, who presided over the elections, congratulated the new bishop, saying: “Let’s now work for the betterment of the Church. Bring unity and peace love among the faithful.”