Tharaka Nithi County evangelical church leaders are alleging discrimination by Deputy President William Ruto as campaigns ahead of the 2022 poll heat up.
They claim the DP favours pastors from bigger churches when he invites religious leaders from the county to his Karen home. Even during his tour of the region, they said, mostly pastors from mainstream churches are given a chance to pray.
Speaking during a meeting in Magundu area, Maara constituency yesterday, Bishop Nicholas Mwathi of God’s Favour Miracles Ministry cited a recent meeting where some pastors from the county met Dr Ruto at his Karen home, causing discontent among those who were not invited.
“We urge our Deputy President to also recognise pastors from small churches because we all minister to people who vote,” said Bishop Mwathi.
He noted that if it’s not possible to ferry all of them to his Karen home, then the DP should consider meeting them in the county.
Rev Mark Lawrence, the coordinator of the Maara constituency Mashinani Evangelical Pentecostal Pastors Forum, said that unlike before, pastors currently take part in campaigns in order to make sure that the right leaders are elected.
He lauded National Museums of Kenya Director-General, Mr Mzalendo Kibunjia, for seeking the support of the evangelical church in his quest for the Tharaka Nithi County gubernatorial seat next year.
“As religious leaders, we will guide our members on the leaders to elect so that we can have good people who will lead our country to prosperity,” said Rev Lawrence.
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Politics divides church
The comment from evangelical pastors come at a time when the subject of whether or not to allow politicians to speak to congregants from the pulpit has divided several churches. While Anglican, Catholic and Presbyterian Church heads have issued guidelines stopping clerics from yielding their podiums to politicians, Methodists and Evangelicals appear to welcome them to their pulpits.
Anglican, Catholic and Presbyterian leaders have said politicians should attend services like any other member. On the other hand, Methodist Church Kenya Presiding Bishop, Joseph Ntombura, recently said the decision to stop politicians from addressing worshippers is not wise as it amounts to denying a section of church members from taking part in services.
Politicians have in the past used the Church to sell their agenda, make huge monetary contributions or criticise opponents, oftentimes overshadowing the services.
Some political leaders have accused their rivals of donating corruption proceeds to churches in exchange for favours such as the opportunity to address congregants.
The recent ban on mass gatherings aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19 has made the Church an even more important venue for politicians to make public pronouncements.