Catholic Church starts drive to break Kenya’s graft chain

Sunday October 6 2019

Catholic bishops

Catholic bishops during the national prayer day at Subukia Shrine in Nakuru County, in Kenya, on October 5, 2019. They said the church seeks to break the corruption chain in the country through a campaign which will run for the next six months. PHOTO | JOHN NJOROGE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

FRANCIS MUREITHI
By FRANCIS MUREITHI
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The Catholic Church has announced that it will begin a nationwide anti-corruption campaign in Kenya, it will no longer accept large cash donations from politicians, and it will not allow political statements in church.

These decisions were unveiled Saturday during a national prayer day at the Subukia Shrine in Nakuru County, in the country's Rift Valley.

The anti-graft drive, which seeks to break the corruption chain in the country, will run for the next six months.

Corruption desks will be opened in all Catholic churches in the country to keep a track of all cases reported by the public.

The faithful will be required to declare their intention to fight corruption at their places of work.

Speaking in Subukia Saturday, Catholic bishops said that corruption has been infiltrating the church.

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They alleged that some politicians are donating ill-gotten money to churches and institutions.

POLITICIANS

The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) said it will not allow the church to be used as a political platform.

“Politicians will not be allowed to address the congregation inside the church. The same will be restricted outside the church,” said KCCB chairman, Bishop Philip Anyolo.

Catholics at Subukia National Shrine in Nakuru,
Catholics at Subukia National Shrine in Nakuru, Kenya, on October 5, 2019 during the national prayer day. PHOTO | FRANCIS MUREITHI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

They added, “Political statements will not be allowed during the liturgical celebrations. The church has stopped accepting direct donations from the politicians. Contributions to fundraise for Catholic Church projects will be done via mobile money transfer or by cheques,” said the bishops’ statement.

The bishops said this will stop the handling of large amounts of cash and give a clear trail of the donors.

CASHLESS DONATIONS

“We wish to move towards cashless donations and for the purpose of accountability, we shall declare in public the list and accounts of our projects and fundraising initiatives in our churches and institutions which will be open to public scrutiny,” said the bishops.

The bishops promised to keep a record of any gifts exceeding Ksh50,000 ($500) to religious leaders in the church.

They said all gifts to the church leaders must be accompanied by a letter from the donor.

The bishops decried what they called “tremendous corruption that has imprisoned hearts, families and the entire society”.

They said it is time for the country to unite and uproot corruption.

REJECT GRAFT

“We are calling upon all Kenyans to change their weird ways and reject corruption,” said the statement.

“We have launched the campaign by removing our shoes in solidarity with those who have suffered and continue to suffer as a result of corruption,” said the bishops who called on Kenyans to be ready to pay the price of integrity.

“We make this commitment to lead the fight against corruption. We call upon every Catholic in this country to take this desired decision to fight corruption for the sake of our society,” their statement added.

They said like David in the Bible in his fight against the giant Goliath, they are ready to tackle graft.

“We may appear small, but we can slay this monster of corruption and save our country.”

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