Ruto’s Murang’a prayer rally called off as divisions emerge

Friday April 26 2019

ACK Bishops

ACK Bishops (from left) Julius Karanu (Mt Kenya South), Timothy Gichere (Mt Kenya Central) and Thika's Julius Wanyoike who have disassociated themselves with the planned mega prayer that was to be attended by DP William Ruto in Murang'a on April 27, 2019 and which has now been postponed. PHOTO | NDUNG'U GACHANE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

NDUNG'U GACHANE
By NDUNG'U GACHANE
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An inter-denominational prayer rally scheduled to take place in Kenol town, Murang’a County on Saturday where Deputy President William Ruto was expected has been postponed to May 11.

The new development comes even as sharp divisions emerged among the bishops who were planning the meeting.

The rally is meant to pray for, among other things, national cohesion and integration besides praying for the deputy president.

Mr Stephen Maina of the Full Time Winners Gospel Church and the chairman of the bishops’ forum said the meeting has been postponed since Dr Ruto who was to be the chief guest, will be attending the burial of Jonathan Moi, the son of former President Daniel arap Moi.

He told the Nation that the mega prayer rally will take place in two weeks’ time at the same venue.

CHIEF GUEST

“The deputy president will not be available for the rally and since he was the main guest, we have postponed the meeting to May 11,” he told the Nation by phone.

The cleric had on Wednesday told the Nation that the rally was planned by 11 bishops who were expected to meet Dr Ruto at a hotel before proceeding to Kimorori grounds for the prayer meeting.

The forum’s steering committee members include Murang’a Catholic Bishop James Maria Wainaina, ACK Diocese of Mt Kenya Central Timothy Gichere, his Murang’a South Diocese counterpart Julius Karanu and Thika Diocese Bishop Julius Wanyoike.

Others are AIPCA Archbishop John Njoroge, Gilbert Maina of EAPC, and Rev John Mwati of PCEA, among others.

DIVISIONS

However sharp divisions have emerged among the clergy with the Catholic bishop telling the Nation that although he was aware that there was a planning meeting, he never attended it and was not planning to attend the postponed rally since he has other commitments.

“I never attended any steering committee meeting and I was not planning to attend the prayer rally since I have another retreat. That’s the fact,” he told the Nation by phone.

On his part, Bishop George Kariuki of Christian Foundation Fellowship (CFF) told the Nation that the divisions among them could have emerged due to the recent national debate on Dr Ruto’s contributions to churches.

KAREN MEETING

He disclosed that the meeting was planned last year when over 250 clergymen met Dr Ruto at his Karen home.

Bishop Kariuki said the DP had agreed to visit them and launch a sacco and at the same time grace the prayer rally.

Some of the leaders who were expected at the rally include Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata, Maragua MP Mary Waithira, Kandara MP Alice Wahome and at least 150 leaders in the Jubilee faction allied to Dr Ruto.

'DIRTY MONEY'

The postponement of the rally comes at a time when ACK and the Catholic Church heads have cautioned their congregations against accepting “dirty money” and allowing leaders to insult each other on the pulpit.

And in a new development, three Anglican bishops have disassociated themselves with the planned rally, saying they do not want to be dragged into the current political controversies.

The three are Dr Julius Wanyoike of Thika Diocese, Julius Karanu of Mt Kenya South and Mt Kenya Central’s Timothy Gichere.

The emerging divisions are likely to throw the planned rally into limbo.

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