Proposal to vet church leaders receives mixed reactions in Kenya


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Church leaders reacted cautiously to the proposal by Chief Justice Willy Mutunga that the men and women of the cloth be vetted. Mutunga said the religious leaders should also be put on the radar on their suitability to lead churches and religious outfits.

Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) South diocese Bishop Timothy Ranji has supported calls by the CJ that all religious leaders should be vetted.? However, Ranji said that the Church should be responsible for the vetting of their own leaders to ensure they have bishops who are not ?of questionable character.

The ACK, he said, vets its leaders, adding that for one to become a bishop, he must be vetted by the Bishop Examining Chaplain, a body within the Church. “I do not like it when someone wakes up and becomes a bishop,” said Ranji. In Kirinyaga, the Bishop Daniel Ngoru described the proposal as noble, “given recent incidents of deceit involving religious leaders.”

“We have seen incidents where some televangelists have been involved in unbecoming behaviour. This is not what the Church wants,” Ngoru told The Standard On Saturday on phone from Uganda.

He said the ACK had its own methods of vetting and for anyone to become a priest they undergo a thorough process. The bishop in charge of Mt Kenya Central ACK diocese Isaac Ng’ang’a said although he was not opposed to vetting, he doubted whether it will work. “Religious work is a calling from God and I don’t think you can go far if you are just trying it out. Most of us do not fear since we are vetted before assuming office,” said Ng’ang’a. ACK Mumias Diocese Bishop Beneah Salala said the vetting process would ensure future leaders holding top positions in religious institution uphold values and standards expected of them.

Vetting for integrity

“I welcome the process and as a Church leader am not afraid to be vetted,” Salala said. Salala told religious leaders to support the initiative so that integrity of various inter-denominations in the country are protected and preserved.

Kakamega Jamia Mosque and Islamic Centre Imam Ibrahim Sadala also supported the planned move saying religion was a holy institution that needed leaders whose character was beyond reproach.

Mombasa ACK Bishop Julius Kalu said vetting of this world was irrelevant since they are prepared by God to assume their role. Kalu said the calling of a bishop was divine and not subject to human scrutiny. Bishop Lawrence Chai of the Kenya Free Apostolic Church in Mtwapa,

Kilifi County, told Government to keep off Church matters and allow faithful to hire and fire their leaders. “It is not Biblical to introduce the hand of the State in determining the integrity of spiritual leaders. Those who wrong the Church are usually ex-communicated and the State has no role in this,” Chai said. However, Kenya Muslim National Advisory Council (Kemnac) national chairman Sheikh Juma Ngao called for immediate vetting of clerics from all faiths to encourage integrity.

“Clerics are leaders in this country and should be vetted for integrity by the State. I am ready to undergo the integrity test,” Ngao said.

Catholic clergy in Nyanza welcomed the move, saying it will bring sanity to the sector that has been subject of abuse in the recent past.

By Standard digital

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