An unapologetic Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit, of the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK), said Monday that he will hold bishops accountable should they allow politicians to address congregants at the pulpit going forward.
This followed his move on Sunday to deny politicians attending the consecration of an ACK Bishop in Butere, Kakamega County, the opportunity to address the church function.
In an interview on NTV news on Monday, Archbishop Ole Sapit stood by his decision to ban politics in the church, saying he does not have an apology to make and that ACK will not change its position.
The church leader said he led by example when he banned politicking at the ordination of Butere Diocese Bishop Rose Okeno.
The archbishop surprised a host of senior politicians, among them Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga and Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi, when he told them they would not speak at the event.
"I led by example yesterday and sounded an alarm. My bishops are in agreement with me and will not hand over the microphone to politicians," he said.
"Should the politicians speak in the church, I will not target them. I will ask my bishops why it happened. It is a journey we have just started so I will not expect 100 per cent implementation immediately. We will not invite any of them.”
Place of worship
The cleric noted that it has taken the church too long to firmly take the decision because it has been struggling to resonate with the matter of politicking on that platform.
He said they took time to reach the unpopular decision as they wanted to know who the church belongs to.
This, he said, had led them to appreciating that the church belongs to everyone, politicians included.
"Of late, we have seen politicians abuse the opportunity to address the church. When they are recognised and allowed room to greet the congregation, they end up politicking at the pulpit," he said.
He explained that the decision is not meant to segregate anyone as all politicians are welcome to worship but not to politick.
The church, he observed, is a solemn place meant for prayers, summons and worship.
Regarding the Butere event, he said several people - among them political leaders - were invited.
Additionally, he noted, the sitting arrangement included specific allocations for the clergy, choir, politicians and the rest of the congregants.
This organisation, he said, was not a sign of special treatment.
"We have to differentiate between a church service and a celebration."