Kenya: Njue Denies Odinga Claims Pope Ordered Archbishop to Return Car

Archbishop Phillip Anyolo receives a Mitsubishi Pajero from the Deputy President William Ruto at Uzima University Grounds in Kisumu on January 12, 2019.

The Catholic Church Sunday waded into the war of words between Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga in regard to a gift to its new Archbishop of Kisumu Philip Anyolo.

This followed Mr Odinga's claim at a funeral in Ugenya on Saturday that the Pope insisted that the gift, a vehicle -- Mitsubishi Pajero -- be returned to sender.


The Opposition leader also urged the church not to accept gifts from people who are "known to have stolen from taxpayers".

"Some people are walking with money in sacks as Kenyans are feeling the pain of increased taxes and paying higher prices for basic commodities like cooking oil, bread and fuel," he said.

Mr Odinga went on: "I hear them saying that they are investing in heaven. Kenyans should come out in the open and rebuke them."

DP Ruto, in a terse post on his Twitter handle, in an apparent reference to Mr Odinga, accused him of deceit.

"The master of deceit as always is spewing desperate lies. The car gift was bought by Christian leaders including UK and myself at the request of the chair of Catholic MPs. Understandably empowering the church offends magicians (sic) and the evil spirits they worship. Shetani ashindwe (devil be defeated)!," Dr Ruto tweeted on Sunday.

But head of the Catholic Church, John Cardinal Njue, Sunday said he was not aware of Mr Odinga's claims over the Pope's directive to the Church.


"I am not aware of how the comments came about. I don't know about claims that the Holy Pope directed the Church to return the gift," the Cardinal told Nation by phone.

Archbishop Anyolo said the Catholic Church has channels of communication, adding that so far, they were not aware of the claims on the Pope's directive.

"We have not received such a communication that we return the car. However, I wish to state that during my installation in January, I received two cars, but they don't personally belong to me. They are property of the diocese," the archbishop said.

He noted that he has been using a Prado V8 bought by Catholic faithful and had not used the one given by the DP "as it has not been registered."

Archbishop Anyolo said that the vehicle was donated to him before the registration process started and to date, he had not used it.

The Catholic Church -- "and any other church I believe" -- had no mechanism to establish that certain gifts are proceeds of corruption, the Kisumu Archbishop added. "Therefore, it is not an easy task to establish so and act," added.

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