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Respect the pulpit, says NCCK chair

The pulpit has for a long time been used as a political campaign by politicians, with the situation worsening as general elections draw closer.

Disguising as staunch religious faithful and good donors towards structural development of the Kenyan Church, the political class have always played their dangerous political cards under the table by confusing the congregations with millions of ill-gotten cash to achieve their personal interests.

But the new Chairperson of the National Council of Churches of Kenya Canon Joshua Abulo now says that with the recent by elections witnessed this year, there was a need to speak out about how the politicians were using the pulpit to campaign.

The new Chairperson of the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) Canon Joshua Abulo speaking to the media about the economic state of the nation at the Pentecostal Church of Kenya (PEFA) church ground in Migori County. Photo by Geoffrey Makokha.

Canon Abulo has come out to criticize pastors and priests whom he says have allowed politicians to use the pulpit as a campaign platform.

Many members of the clergy were being offered cash and other goodies in the name of donations, points out the Canon, adding that “Once they accept these offers it becomes difficult for them to say no to these politicians when they turn the church into a campaign platform.”

According to a 2016 research paper on Preachers, Politics and Pulpit, the church clergies had an influence on political topics that affected how their congregations received those messages. The church was seen as a place where attendees were exposed to political messages.

Canon Abulo notes that some church leaders tend to join the bandwagon of campaigning for their preferred candidates while at the same time asking the congregation to vote in a particular manner.

In the Holy Book of John 2: 14-16, Jesus warned and drove off business people who had converted His Father’s Temple into a market place. Therefore, as per the spirit of this verse, Canon Abulo says that that is exactly what we should do if the house of God is turned into a campaign market.

The man of the cloth emphasizes that the Clergies and Pastors should restrict the politicians from using the pulpit as war-launch pads.

“We are allowing elections campaigns, championing the Constitution of Kenya Amendment Bill 2020 through the popular Building Bridge Initiative (BBI) and the forthcoming 2022 general elections on the pulpit. Let as generously safeguard the pulpit for the sake of our Lord”, said the Canon.

The Archbishop of Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) Jackson Ole Sapit in 2020 stated that the church should jealously safeguard the pulpit from politicians who wanted to use the church for their own selfish interest.

He also announced that the Church will be reviewing the donations made to the sanctuaries by politicians to whip up emotions to clean all proceeds of corruption in the name of charities.

Canon Abulo stressed that if only the politicians could use the pulpit to address the disturbing issues of high cost of living, corruption and Covid-19 preventive measures, Kenyans can truly benefit. “We must not allow worship services to become toxic in the way politicians and aspirants turn them into battlefields,” he stated.

Canon Abulo has replaced Dr. John Okinda the Bishop of Pentecostal Evangelistic Fellowship of Africa (PEFA) as the new Chairperson of the National Council of Churches of Kenya.

By Geoffrey Makokha

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