Catholics cel­e­brate change of guard

DP Wil­liam Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga among those who at­tended the cer­e­mony

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - FRONT PAGE - BY VIC­TOR RABALLA vra­[email protected]­tion­ AND RUSHDIE OUDIA [email protected]­tion­

Arch­bishop Philip Any­olo prom­ises to unite church as he takes over reins in Kisumu from long serv­ing clergy Zac­cha­eus Okoth

Arch­bishop Philip Any­olo yes­ter­day pledged to help unite the church mo­ments af­ter he was in­stalled as the head of Kisumu arch­dio­cese in a colour­ful cer­e­mony at­tended by thou­sands of Catholic faith­fuls and po­lit­i­cal lead­ers.

The cer­e­mony ended the process of re­plac­ing re­tired Arch­bishop Zac­cha­eus Okoth.

Arch­bishop Any­olo re­peated his mes­sage of unity, call­ing on the faith­ful to seek God’s hand in this era “when the church is threat­ened with out­side in­ter­fer­ence”. He also called for a so­ci­ety where peo­ple sup­port one an­other.

The for­mer Homa Bay Dio­cese bishop was lauded for the role he has played in bring­ing peace and tran­quil­lity in the coun­try.

In the au­di­ence was Deputy Pres­i­dent Wil­liam Ruto, ODM leader Raila Odinga, Bun­goma Se­na­tor Moses We­tang’ula, Bun­goma Gover­nor Wy­cliffe Wanga­mati and Kisumu gover­nor Prof Anyang’ Ny­ong’o. Prof Ny­ong’o was later rushed to hos­pi­tal af­ter feel­ing un­well.

Bishop Any­olo’s in­stal­la­tion mass was con­ducted be­fore a gath­er­ing of the faith­ful and top cler­ics, in­clud­ing Car­di­nal John Njue.

Mr Ruto ex­pressed op­ti­mism that the tak­ing over of Arch­bishop Any­olo will bring pros­per­ity and de­vel­op­ment to the re­gion.

"We are happy for the role re­tired Arch­bishop Okoth has played for the 40 years he served and we are con­fi­dent that you will take the Arch­dio­cese of Kisumu fur­ther," he said.

Mr Odinga, on the other hand, urged the church to con­tinue fight­ing for truth and jus­tice in the coun­try.

"We have come from a hor­ri­ble past when the res­i­dents of this re­gion could not move freely due to the vi­o­lence that was wit­nessed af­ter the con­tested pres­i­den­tial elec­tion last year," he said.

Mr Odinga at­trib­uted his com­ing to­gether with Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta to the prayers, sup­port and en­cour­age­ment of the church.

“The March 9, 2018 hand­shake was a re­sult of the en­cour­age­ment of re­li­gious lead­ers who pre­vailed upon us to work to­gether for the sake of the coun­try,” he said to the con­gre­gants who as­sem­bled at Uz­ima Med­i­cal Uni­ver­sity Grounds.

The ODM leader also in­stalled Arch­bishop Any­olo as a Luo elder since he will be work­ing with the larger Luo com­mu­nity.

Mr Odinga’s fa­ther, Mzee Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, in­stalled the re­tired Arch­bishop Okoth in 1990 as an elder, when he took over the lead­er­ship.

Mr Odinga called on re­tired Arch­bishop Okoth, who is still in­volved in the Build­ing Bridges Ini­tia­tive, to put all ef­fort and en­sure the coun­try re­turns to the right path.

Car­di­nal Njue, who led other cler­gy­men in mark­ing the oc­ca­sion, also ex­pressed con­fi­dence that Arch­bishop Any­olo will build on the de­vel­op­ment ini­tia­tives that the church is in­volved in.

The cer­e­mony was also at­tended by hun­dreds of con­gre­gants and stu­dents from Catholic-spon­sored schools. The arch­bishop was ap­pointed by Pope Fran­cis on Novem­ber 14, last year. He promised to steer the Catholic Church to greater heights and build on the legacy left by his pre­de­ces­sor.

In an in­ter­view with the Na­tion this week, Arch­bishop Any­olo said he was in­spired to be a cleric af­ter see­ing Africans start join­ing priest­hood dur­ing an era dom­i­nated by white cler­gy­men. “My de­sire to be a priest grew more af­ter be­ing in­spired by African priests who ad­min­is­tered the word of God to us,” said Rev Any­olo.

He at­tended Catholic schools, which he said added to his en­thu­si­asm to join the church and lead the con­gre­ga­tion. Arch­bishop Any­olo, whose par­ents are Mr Paul Any­olo and Mrs Dina Any­olo, was born on May 18, 1956 in Ton­garen in Bun­goma.

He stud­ied at Mother of Apos­tles Sem­i­nary in El­doret. Be­fore his pro­mo­tion, the Man of God had been the Bishop of Homa Bay Dio­cese since 2003 af­ter serv­ing in Keri­cho from 1995.

His ral­ly­ing call to Catholic be­liev­ers is that, “They should ex­pect more teach­ings on di­rec­tion to Je­sus Christ.”

“My call­ing is to help peo­ple see their lives in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions through Je­sus Christ. I will teach what Christ taught,” he said.

The church has, how­ever, faced chal­lenges on how to deal with mod­erni­sa­tion and glob­al­i­sa­tion, which have shaken the way faith­ful and priests carry them­selves as op­posed to the teach­ings of the Ro­man Catholic Church.

Pro­to­col hitch yes­ter­day marred the in­stal­la­tion of Kisumu Catholic Arch­bishop Philip Any­olo in what saw the De­fence Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary Ray­chelle Omamo read Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta's speech yet his Deputy Wil­liam Ruto was in at­ten­dance.

The over­sight im­me­di­ately be­came a buzz in the so­cial me­dia with lawyers point­ing that it could be a pointer to per­haps a big­ger plot in the po­lit­i­cal roller-coaster.

“In­ter­est­ing mat­ters..., HE Raila in­vites DP Ruto to Speak, the DP speaks and in­vites CS Ray­chelle Omamo to de­liver HE Uhuru's Speech .... , would have sworn the work of a deputy is to deputise,” Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo tweeted.

Mr Si­las Jakakimba, a for­mer aide to op­po­si­tion leader Raila Odinga also took note: “Se­ri­ous breach of pro­to­col, Snr. It is in­cum­bent upon the Deputy Pres­i­dent, while present in a func­tion, to rep­re­sent or rather read, the Pres­i­dent's speech should the lat­ter be ab­sent. This notwith­stand­ing the fact that State House might not have been aware about DP'S at­ten­dance.”

In the speech, Pres­i­dent Keny­atta and Mr Odinga re­peated their call for the church to help com­bat cor­rup­tion.

And in a speech read on his be­half by CS Omamo, Pres­i­dent Keny­atta said Kenya had en­tered a new phase in the war against cor­rup­tion.

“As a na­tion, we have en­tered a new phase in the war on cor­rup­tion and im­punity through an ag­gres­sive in­ves­tiga­tive and pros­e­cu­tion stance, en­hanced pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sures and the in­cul­ca­tion of a val­ues-based cul­ture in our schools, work­places and homes,” the Pres­i­dent said.

He went on: “I call on the Church to con­tinue preach­ing against cor­rup­tion, im­punity and other vices with even greater vigour and in­ten­sity.”

Com­ing at a time when cracks are emerg­ing in the rul­ing party, one may be for­given to con­clude that the move may have been meant to hu­mil­i­ate the DP. If that be the case, his de­ci­sion to play along how­ever smacks of a shrewd politi­cian who is aware of the sit­u­a­tion he finds him­self in and tact­fully plays along.

Many ob­servers won­dered why the State House, aware that the DP was at the func­tion did not in­struct the CS to hand over the speech to his num­ber two.


Arch­bishop Philip Any­olo leads the holy mass mo­ments af­ter his in­stal­la­tion as the leader of the Catholic Church in Kisumu at Uz­ima Uni­ver­sity Grounds in the town yes­ter­day. On the right is Car­di­nal John Njue.

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