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We will not stop accepting money from politicians, preachers vow

Sunday April 28 2019

Rev Kepha Omae, Bishop Justus Wanjala

Members of the Kenya Christian Constiutional Forum Bishop Kepha Omae (left) and Bishop Justus Wanjala. Bishop Kepha Omae, presiding Bishop of Redeemed Gospel Church, said churches should not be blamed when they accept politicians’ contributions. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

COLLINS OMULO
By COLLINS OMULO
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A section of evangelical preachers have vowed to continue accepting money from politicians.

Under the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya, the group said it is unfortunate that the matter has been politicised yet politicians have played a huge role in the development of many churches across the country.

Bishop Kepha Omae, presiding Bishop of Redeemed Gospel Church, said churches should not be blamed in any way when they accept politicians’ contributions, saying they do not have mechanisms to determine the source of wealth.

MONEY LAUNDERING

The bishop added that politicians should be allowed to continue supporting churches through fundraisers like other members of the public.

“We have no right to ask you where you get your money. Let us not politicise the issue as politicians have helped build many churches in the country. Do we ask our congregants where they have got their money from when they pay tithes and even give offerings?” posed Bishop Omae.

He was speaking at Redeemed Gospel Church in Huruma, Nairobi, at the weekend.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga had hit out at corrupt leaders for turning churches into avenues of laundering money obtained illegally from public coffers.

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka also cautioned clerics against accepting money suspected to be proceeds of corruption, claiming some politicians could be using the church to 'sanitise' the money they could have stolen from public coffers.

On Tuesday, Archbishop Jackson ole Sapit, of the Anglican Church of Kenya, said the church should “learn to worship God with its resources, quietly”.

He said the Anglican Church will also rethink the matter of letting politicians hold fundraisers in sanctuaries.

JUDICIAL PROCESS

There have been concerns about churches receiving money said to be proceeds of corruption and money laundering during fundraisers.

“If you are to come to worship, come with your resources. And let us, as the church, also learn to mobilise resources for our development agenda and do it quietly, not with the hype that takes us off the pulpit. Let us not allow harambee money to become a subtle way of sanitising corrupt leaders,” he said.

Archbishop Sapit’s remarks came hot in the heels of a bishop from the church slamming leaders who have been castigating churches for accepting donations from politicians.

Bishop Timothy Gichere of the ACK Mt Kenya Central Diocese said they would continue receiving the money until the courts declared the politicians corrupt.

“When leaders come to church and contribute money with clean hearts, we can’t decline because we are not in a position to know if the money is from corruption," he said at the Murang’a GK Prison.

“We are not there to rebuke and label people as corrupt because that is the obligation of the courts. Let the judicial process go on without the politicisation of the war on graft so the culprits are arrested and charged.”

At the same time, Bishop Omae urged the government to stay away from spiritual matters.

“Spiritual matters cannot be regulated by the government and any attempt will fail,” he said.