KENYA: A Bishop Cannot Avoid Encountering Politicians but Only Do So as a Pastor of People, Says Archbishop Muhatia

By Paschal Norbert

NAIROBI, APRIL 22, 2022 (CISA) – Archbishop Maurice Muhatia Makumba of the Catholic Archdiocese of Kisumu and the Vice-Chairperson of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) in an interview with CISA explained a bishop cannot avoid “encountering politicians” but only do so in playing their “rightful role as a pastor of the people, as a shepherd of the people.”

“For the 12 years I have been a bishop, I want to say that I have not avoided politics but I have not actively engaged myself in what is purely political because I understood what my role is. My role is the pastoral care of the people, spiritual care of the people that pastoral care and spiritual care includes also the care of the people whose main activities are political in life,” he said.

The prelate who is the third archbishop of Kisumu maintained that “you cannot avoid encountering politicians as a bishop, you cannot avoid encountering people in civil leadership as a bishop, you cannot avoid encountering government leaders. But in encountering these people I am playing my rightful role as a pastor of the people, as a shepherd of the people.”

Archbishop Muhatia while contending that the political atmosphere in Kisumu is always tense during electioneering periods said his main agenda will be preaching peace and inviting everyone; “Catholics and Non-Catholics, Christians and Non-Christians, and otherwise the local,” to be patriotic and love the country so as not to burn it.

“Most of us, if our country is destroyed, we shall languish here, there are a few who will have somewhere to escape to, but for the majority of us we have nowhere to escape to if our country is destroyed,” warned Archbishop Muhatia.

In the run-up to the 2022 General Elections, most political parties in Kenya are currently conducting party primaries for the electorate to nominate various candidates that will fly the parties’ flag for the positions of Members of County Assembly (MCA), Members of Parliament (MP), Senators and Governors.

In light of these developments, Archbishop Muhatia says “In the short time remaining, we are going to engage in some civic education, myself together with the priests, through our justice and peace office to engage our people, to educate on what are the qualities of a good leader, what are the qualities of a bad leader and why they need to choose and invest in good leaders as the best option in building our Archdiocese going forward in both counties of Kisumu and Siaya.”

The archbishop appealed to all political leaders and parties that his office remains open and he “will embrace everybody but my message of peace will go out to everybody.”