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Kieleweke supports ban on church politics, says Murathe

Wednesday September 11 2019

David Murathe

Politician David Murathe during a press conference in Nairobi on January 6, 2019, when he announced his resignation from the position of Jubilee Party vice chairman. PHOTO | WILLIAM OERI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

NDUNG'U GACHANE
By NDUNG'U GACHANE
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All members of Jubilee Party's Kieleweke faction have been directed to respect the decision by churches to ban political activities.

David Murathe, the party's former vice chair, said on Tuesday that all politicians in the grouping had been asked to adhere to the directive by the Catholic Church and the Anglican Church of Kenya.

It was announced on Monday by Catholic Diocese of Muranga Bishop James Maria Wainaina, who said priests had been banned from inviting politicians to church, and that all such invitations had therefore been cancelled.

The ban that the bishop said will be in force until further notice targets Catholic churches in Murang'a and Kirinyaga.

It followed an ugly incident at Gitui Catholic Church, where Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro clashed with his nominated counterpart Maina Kamanda over who could invite guests.

TANGATANGA

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While condemning the incident, Mr Murathe said Kieleweke members were supportive of the directive and were ready to adhere to it.

He also told the Nation, "We hope Tangatanga members will also heed the instructions."

Mr Murathe, a harsh critic of Deputy President William Ruto, said politicians who wish to address the public should organise rallies.

“No leader should ignore the church. It is wrong for us to take our differences to houses of worship,” he said.

His sentiments seemed to target Dr Ruto who has in the past been generous with churches, presiding over many fundraisers and giving large amounts of money.

BISHOP'S REMARKS

The altercation between at the Gitui church resulted in Mr Nyoro's arrest but he was released without charges.

Bishop Wainaina described the incident as regrettable, unfortunate, uncalled for, shameful, and the kind that sets a bad example for children and youth.

“It is now clear to church leaders and most people concerned about respect and honour for the ministry that many politicians think differently about the value of gatherings of Christians. For many, such gatherings are taken conveniently as platforms for self-proposition for elective posts. I feel this incident was a confirmation of the reasons to limit time and space offered to politicians," he said.

He continued, "We call upon everyone, particularly the political class, to uphold the dignity of places of worship. They should practice tolerance in political divergence and decorum in expression of political views. They must also refrain from any acts and utterances of hatred, division, intimidation and incitement to violence. We demand an apology from those involved."

ACK'S MOVE

The ban came three months after the ACK's Murang'a South diocese, which comprises Maragua and Kandara constituencies, banned political fundraisers.

This was after some members of the Kieleweke faction clashed with Kandara MP Alice Wahome’s supporters.

Kiambu Women Representative Gathoni Wamuchomba had accused Ms Wahome of going to Kiambu to attack her.

Displeased with the allegations, Ms Wahome’s supporters heckled her.

The church leader said, “The Anglican church is guided by a statute. Disregarding the church's norms may discourage Christians who come expectant of blessings and encouragement.

"To prevent a repeat of what happened on Sunday, I have directed that no politician be given airtime in church. If they must address the faithful, let them do so outside the church when the service is over."

He added that Ms Wamuchomba’s utterances were uncalled and that she misused the time she was given to address congregants.