22 April 2019

Kenya: We'll Not Stop Taking Money From Politicians - Bishop

An Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) bishop has slammed leaders who have been castigating churches for accepting donations from politicians said to be proceeds of corruption during fundraisers, saying that they will continue receiving the money until the courts declare such leaders corrupt.

Bishop Timothy Gichere of the ACK Mt Kenya Central diocese said no one should label or condemn others as corrupt as one is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

He added that the church cannot distinguish between "clean" money and money gotten from corruption scandals.

DON'T CONDEMN

The bishop urged those condemning the church to stop it and allow the investigating agencies to do their work without undue political interference.

"When leaders come to church and contribute money with clean hearts, we can't decline because we are not in a position to know if the money is gotten from corruption and we are not there to rebuke and label people as corrupt because that is the obligation of the courts.

"Let the judicial process go on without politicising the war on graft so that the culprits can be arrested and charged," he said.

EASTER WITH PRISONERS

Speaking at the Murang'a GK Prison on Sunday when he led Easter celebrations with prisoners, Bishop Gichere said the church supports the war on graft but cautioned leaders not to politicise the matter for the fight to succeed.

But at the same time, the bishop cautioned politicians not to be using the church to spread hatred and ethnicity, adding that the leaders should not be going to churches for publicity but should instead seek spiritual nourishment.

UNFAIR

"It is unfair for politicians to be using the church as a campaign platform and to spread hate," he said.

The bishop spoke a day after opposition leader Raila Odinga accused some religious leaders of allowing their churches to be used for money laundering.

Mr Odinga claimed that the huge amounts of money being donated to some churches every weekend are proceeds of corruption and need to be investigated, saying this could be part of a money laundering racket.

"There are some church leaders who are true to their calling while others are not. We need to [question] the source of the millions of money being taken to churches. For example, if someone's salary is Sh1 million a month, where do they get Sh5 million every week or between Sh15 and Sh20 million a month to hold fundraisers in churches?" he posed.

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