Kenya – bishop tells politicians to stop using funerals for campaigning

Daily Nation

Bishop stops Governor Lusaka, MPs from addressing mourners

Tuesday April 18 2017
Bumula MP Boniface Otsiula (in black T-Shirt) pleads with ACK Bishop Robert Magina of Nambale to allow leaders and politicians at his mother burial to address mourners. The clergyman had insisted no politician would be allowed to speak. PHOTO | TITUS OTEBA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Bumula MP Boniface Otsiula (in black T-shirt) pleads with ACK Bishop Robert Magina of the Nambale Diocese to allow leaders and politicians at his mother’s burial to address mourners. The cleric had insisted no politician would be allowed to speak. PHOTO | TITUS OTEBA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By TITUS OTEBA
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A bishop in Bungoma has stopped a governor and other politicians from campaigning during the burial of the mother of Bumula MP Boniface Otsiula.

Drama started when the politicians tried to ignore a prior warning by Bishop Robert Magina of the Anglican Church of Kenya, Nambale Diocese, who insisted that he would not allow anyone to make the burial a campaign event.

The politicians present were Bungoma Governor Kenneth Lusaka, Woman Representative Reginalda Wanyonyi, MPs Dan Wanyama (Webuye West), Benson Momanyi (Borabu) and nominated MP Patrick Wangamati.

Others were Bungoma gubernatorial aspirant Wycliffe Wangamati, senatorial aspirants Juma Mukhwana and David Makali and woman rep aspirant Maria Nato.

The cleric told them to organise their own campaign meetings instead of taking advantage of sombre occasions to push their political agenda.

“I will not grant any chance to politicians to politicise this event. We want to give Mama Nasike a proper send-off.

“She was one of our great believers who participated in creating many churches around Nambale diocese,” said the Bishop.

NO POLITICS

The bishop made it clear that he would not tolerate any diversion to politics.

“Politicians should organise their own meetings, where they can politick and do their other stuff, but we can’t allow that [at] this burial ceremony,” he said to the shock of the politicians present.

When Mr Wanyama, the Webuye West MP, attempted to take over the programme and invite his colleagues to speak, the bishop grabbed the microphone from him and asked the mourners to proceed to the graveside.

Efforts by other politicians present to convince him to allow them to speak bore no fruit.

Mr Otsiula pleaded that the bishop allow the politicians only 10 minutes to speak but to no avail.

MP PLEADS

“Bishop, please grant us 10 minutes to address them. We should respect the governor and other guests who have come to mourn with us,” begged Mr Otsiula.

The cleric relented but said he would not extend the time by even a minute.

Contacted for comment later, Mr Otsiula said it was sad that the cleric almost ruined his mother’s burial by denying leaders and politicians a chance to speak yet he (Mr Otsiula) was one of them.

“As a family we are sad and disappointed that he hadn’t come to mourn with us but to [disturb] our peace. We will find a place where we can worship peacefully and carry out our politics without hindrance,” said Mr Otsiula.

John Wekesa, an Anglican who attended the burial, said the bishop erred by trying to prevent the politicians and leaders from addressing the mourners.

“He is dictating to Christians through unorthodox and unchristian ways. We better move to Bungoma Diocese, where we can find peace,” he warned.

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