Francis Mureithi: Drop relaxed style, Gitari tells Kibaki - The Star

RETIRED archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya David Gitari has challenged President Kibaki to drop his hand-off leadership style and adopt a firm stand on key national issues.

Gitari, a fierce critic of the government during retired President Moi's rule, said Kibaki has let the country down for remaining mum on pressing issues.

Speaking during the launch of a book titled Religion and Politics in Kenya, authored in his honour, Gitari said the President, as the symbol of national unity, must be seen guiding the country on important issues.

"There is time to speak and time to keep quiet, but all the time is not for keeping quiet," Gitari said.

"He (Kibaki) has been too quiet on major issues. I don't know why he gets too quiet when his guidance is required."

The retired archbishop said though Kibaki has performed well on the economy and infrastructure, he has scored dismally on politics.

Although he was Moi's ardent critic, Gitari said the former president's style of leadership was remarkable compared to that of Kibaki.

Gitari was the third African archbishop and bishop of the diocese of Nairobi in the Anglican Church of Kenya.

Before he was alleviated to the position, he served as the bishop of Mount Kenya East between 1975 and 1990 and of Kirinyaga between 1990 and 1996.

He bitterly clashed with the Moi regime as he preached and campaigned against land grabbing by powerful politicians.

He hit out at the establishment for what he saw was an economic injustice.

Gitari also publicly condemned political assassinations and undemocratic practices.

The book authored by Ben Knighton has faulted the church leadership saying it has been compromised by the political class.

The book cites the 2007 General Election and the subsequent violence as a pointer that the church has failed in its role.

The author claims that unlike the 1990s and before 2002 elections when Moi quit office, the church today is easily influenced by the political class and is unable to stand for the people as it did during the Moi era.

The book, published by Macmillan, is being sold at Sh6,000 a copy.

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One Response to Francis Mureithi: Drop relaxed style, Gitari tells Kibaki - The Star

Ben said...

The book was edited, rather than all authored, by me, and it contains a balance between reflections dismissive of the churches now, and those that are appreciative. At the meeting in the Bishops' Conference Room, I did point out the year 2002 as a fulcrum, after which the churches lost too much of their critical distance from party politics and the state, but never said that the churches today are 'unable to stand for the people as it did during the Moi era'. Promising signs of repentance of their compromised position and fresh courage in speaking to power were shown in the first half of 2009. In advising the electorate to vote down the new constitution, however,for which they strove throughout the 1990s with leaders of Muslims, on the grounds of the Kadhi's courts, which they never protested against in the old constitutions, does show that the current leaders of the churches have still lost the plot of speaking for the people in place of its rapacious politicians. Macmillan is now printing 'Religion and Politics in Kenya' in paperback, so it should be avaialbe to Kenyans this year at much more affordable price.