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Catholic bishops’ move on cash donations good

Wednesday October 9 2019

EDITORIAL
By EDITORIAL
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The renewed campaign by Catholic bishops to fight corruption is illuminating but the clincher will be in execution. Such noble initiatives have been launched before, but left to die as fast as they came because of lack of conviction and commitment to the cause. Conviction must be matched with courage and tenacity. So, we exhort the bishops to keep the faith.

To this end, the Catholic bishops — and they have done that before — should mobilise other faiths to push the crusade. Whatever they do has to be selfless and aimed at correcting a malaise that afflicts the nation and risks getting out of hand.

Specifically, the bishops have declared that they will not accept huge sums of money from politicians and the so-called selfless contributors for church activities. Any donation of more than Sh50,000 will be declared publicly. We concur.

Looters of public wealth should be shamed and isolated from society and, although faiths preach forgiveness and tolerance, that only comes through confession and an undertaking to mend ways.

Those unusual contributions or donations must be scrutinised and, we insist, those from questionable sources rejected. Places of worship must be kept holy and insulated against ill-advances of thieves who, having stolen from the public, go to make huge donations to hoodwink the masses that they are generous.

Religious leaders provide spiritual and moral leadership and is important to bring that to bear in the war against corruption. Yet, places of worship have become the dens where the corrupt and morally depraved hide. Worse, they are egged on in some quarters by an equally voracious clergy that relishes the fame and glory of consorting with the mighty and moneyed.

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We acknowledge that religious organisations require resources to run and that it is the business of the congregations and well-wishers to help in achieving that. But where fundraisers become showbiz and money splashed to gain popularity, then the intention is widely missed. And the notoriety is amplified by the way such functions are organised: Hyped and widely publicised, ostensibly to send strong signals of invincibility. Clearly, they are not acts of selflessness but ostentation, itself contrary to the doctrines of all the faiths.

Curbing corruption is a gargantuan task that can only succeed through a multi-sectoral approach and in which the faiths play an incredibly integral role. Since religious places have singularly become havens where stolen money is laundered as excited clerics cheer on the crooks, getting them to veto those ridiculous donations is a vital step in slamming brakes on the vice.

All religious leaders should join in the campaign and outlaw those outlandish contributions from corrupt individuals.

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