The government has endorsed the new African Independent Pentecostal Church of Kenya (AIPCA) archbishop who was installed yesterday.
Deputy President William Ruto told the congregation at Kasarani Safaricom Stadium in Nairobi that he and President Uhuru Kenyatta support the Rev Julius Njoroge.
“President Kenyatta and I support the newly installed archbishop and we look forward to partnering with the bishops of this church to find solutions that will take the church forward,” said Mr Ruto.
Archbishop Njoroge was sworn in by the church lawyer, Mr Wahome Gikonyo, and handed powers by the church bishops at a function attended by hundreds of followers.
The move is however likely to open a new leadership wrangle in the church as the retired archbishop, the Rev Amos Kabuthu, handed over to another archbishop, the Rev Fredrick Wang’ombe, at the AIPCA headquarters in Bahati, Nairobi, last month.
Archbishop Kibuthu also anointed him and allowed him to take over the office of the archbishop.
The DP was accompanied by Jubilee politicians Ferdinand Waititu, Alice Wahome, Moses Kuria and Kembi Gitura.
He asked the church to work in unity to end the long-standing leadership dispute.
“You as the church are the salt of world and therefore you should remain in peace,” said Mr Ruto.
The new archbishop Njoroge promised the congregation to focus on uniting the church, which has since split into two opposing groups.
“I will endeavour to ensure that we as a church are untied as one body of Christ,” he said.
He also said he will ensure pastors get access to quality theological education.
Archbishop Njoroge revealed that according to their church data base as per 2013, out of 1,863 pastors of the church who are below 38 years, only 38 have university degrees.
“102 have been to colleges with some from unrecognized ones, 604 had only reached form four, 390 did not complete secondary school, 691 had only completed primary level while 44 did not complete primary education,” he said.
The church chairman, Mr Paul Ndung’u Ndichu, said the church has decided to enthrone powers to Bishop Njoroge as the lawfully elected Archbishop to head the church as per their constitution.
“We are calling the other group to come and join us, they should not think of taking over our church properties,” said Mr Ndichu.
While speaking to the Nation, the retired Archbishop Kabuthu dismissed the enthronement ceremony as illegal and termed the section of the church a splinter group.
According to Archbishop Kabuthu, the church gave powers to Archbishop Wang’ombe according to their constitution.
“The people leading the function are a splinter group of the church and we do not recognise them. I have already handed over my powers to the new archbishop and therefore their function is illegal, “he said.
He said they have also joined hands with the churches in Meru and Embu and are heading the church peacefully.
Archbishop Kabuthu said, due to the wrangles, the group opposing him filed about 24 cases challenging his leadership.
“They have also filed another case in court, which will be mentioned in court on March 24,” said Archbishop Kabuthu..
Meanwhile, the Evangelical Lutheran church of Kenya yesterday held demonstrations to protest immersive corruption and nepotism in the church.
The members of clergy, church elders and members of the church accused Archbishop Walter Obare Omwaza of leading the church in the wrong direction.
“For the last 10 years, the archbishop has been working with corrupt church members to steal money from the church,” said Pastor Kennedy Atura.