Kenya: New Rules on Church Donations as Catholics Wage War on Graft

Catholic Bishops sign a commitment document to fight corruption during the National Prayer Day at Subukia Shrine in Nakuru County on October 5, 2019.
9 October 2019

Before gifting any religious leader of the Catholic Church, you should write a letter of acknowledgment, but know that records will be kept for amounts exceeding Sh50,000.

The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops announced this, among several other measures, yesterday to end graft in the church, and by extension in the country, in its nationwide anti-corruption campaign that was launched on Saturday at the Subukia Shrine in Nakuru County. The drive will run for the next six months.

CASHLESS DONATIONS

The bishops admitted that corruption had infiltrated the church with some politicians donating ill-gotten money to the institutions. In a statement sent to newsrooms Tuesday, the church promised to declare and keep open all the lists and accounts of their projects and any fundraising initiatives for public scrutiny.

"We shall keep a record of any gift to a religious leader exceeding Sh50,000. All gifts should be acknowledged by a letter," the statement spelled out. They said contributions to fundraisers across the churches will be done by mobile money transfer or, preferably, by cheque to avoid the handling of large amounts of cash, and give a clear trail of the donors.

Aside from adopting cashless donations, the clergy banned political addresses in church and pleaded that the "true nature" of funerals be restored -- to condole [with] and pray for the family and honour and pray for the deceased -- instead of rhetoric.

COMPLAINTS DESK

"Our churches will not be used as political platforms or for any other motive other than for the liturgy and worship of God. We shall therefore not allow any address within the church of any non-liturgical character," they said, noting that opportune speeches can be made outside the church with due dignity.

For the next six months, Catholics will renew baptismal promises in all their churches on Sundays, using a specific formula that highlights the rejection of the evil of corruption.

They will also open a corruption complaints desk to keep record of reports of corruption that the public may wish to make.

DEEP DECISION

The campaigned dubbed "I Stand Against Corruption: Let Us Break the Chain of Corruption" was launched during a national prayer day at the Marian shrine in Subukia.

"We make this public commitment, personally and as shepherds of the Catholic Church with all its members, and call on each and every one who believes in God to take this deep and desired decision for the sake of our society and our children," they professed.

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