Gachagua on Shakahola massacre: Deal with criminals individually, don’t condemn all churches

Rigathi Gachagua greets the Vatican Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya Hubertus Maria Van Megen

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua greets the Vatican Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya Hubertus Maria Van Megen (centre) and the new Bishop of the Diocese of Nakuru Rt. Rev. Cleophas Oseso Tuka at the Nakuru Boys High School yesterday.

Photo credit: Courtesy | DPCS

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has defended a section of churches against attacks following the deaths of 112 followers of the controversial evangelist Paul Mackenzie in Kilifi County.

Mr Gachagua cautioned against the blanket condemnation of churches and the clergy, noting that only the small percentage that is rogue should be held responsible on an individual basis.

According to him, the events leading to the Shakahola Massacre are criminal and those responsible should be held personally liable for the deaths and met with the full force of the law.

“Criminals will be dealt with as criminals in accordance with the law because it is not right to use the massacre in Kilifi to condemned the entire church of Christ and the clergy,” the DP said during the episcopal ordination and installation of Rev Cleophas Oseso as the new Nakuru Catholic Diocese Bishop.

He argued the church is a reflection of society, which has a few rogue elements.

He, however, assured that the government will not allow individuals to perpetrate crime in the name of the church.

At the same time, Mr Gachagua said the Kenya Kwanza government recognises the important role of the church in the society and is ready to support it.

He singled out the catholic church, which he said has played a major role in the development of the education and health sector in the country.

“I want to appreciate the catholic church for their efforts in the development of the education and health sector in this country. Mission hospitals and education institutions run by the catholic church are a model for other institutions,” said Mr Gachagua.

The DP also reiterated the government’s position on the demands by the Opposition Azimio la Umoja coalition, saying that the government has always been ready to engage them through the platforms provided for by the Constitution.

Mr Gachagua said the government offered the bi-partisan dialogue through the Parliament and will be waiting to see the outcome of the talks.

He explained that the State will only act on the issues raised in accordance with the law.

“If they give us a solution that is found within the law, we will be ready to consider, but if their demands are beyond our constitutionally provided powers, then we will not consider,” he said .

The DP further called upon the churches to help the government in the fight against the menace of drugs and substance abuse.

Fr Oseso was appointed to head the Nakuru Diocese by Pope Francis on February 14, becoming the fourth bishop of Nakuru with the news officially published in L’Osservatore Romano in Rome on February 15.

The Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya and South Sudan, Archbishop Bert van Megen, sent an official communication to the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops on the appointment by the pope.

Prior to that, he was the vicar general of the Diocese of Nakuru and parish priest of Saint Augustine in Bahati since 2019. The ceremony was presided over by Archbishop Bert van Megen.