The Global Peace Foundation Kenya Country Director Mr. Daniel Juma Omondi has expressed dissatisfaction over the move by Anglican and Catholic churches to impose a blanket ban barring politicians from addressing church congregations terming the move discriminatory against political leaders.
According to Mr. Juma, such a blanket ban gives the impression that all politicians are crude and would not utilise the opportunity to speak to the congregations to convey meneangfull sentiments to their fellow members of the community.
Juma says politics in Kenya has always been given a blanket mischaracterisation as a dirty game and the move by the prelates further entrenches this mischaracterisation making politics unattractive to the youth and new entrants who may have new ideas to infuse into the discourse in efforts to sanitize our politics.
Juma adds that mischaracterisation of political leaders is akin to stigmatising them from the rest of the people yet the same politicians make laws that affect the churches and their congregations and control resources where the churches operate.
Juma adds that preventing leaders from speaking to congregants especially in cases where they have been invited prevents wananchi from getting information on the goings on in the political space, He also questioned how the church will treat political leaders who are spiritual leaders such as the Rev Mutava Musyimi who was the Secretary General of the National Council of Churches of Kenya before he was elected to the National Assembly.
He also gave an example of Embakasi East MP Babu Owino who recently utilised his opportunity to give a wonderful summon at a church function in Karen.
Mr.Juma said that instead of the blanket ban on political leaders, there should be instructions to political leaders that they cannot utilise the church podiums to incite wananchi, solicit for votes, insult others or utter obscenities in front of the congregations. He however agrees that not all politicians who attend church will expect an opportunity to speak and not all politicians who attend church should be given a chance to speak just because they went to church. Some go to church just to pray because first they are human beings and leaders of their communities before they are politicians.
The directive by the church come days after ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi and former Prime Mnister Raila Odinga were denied a chance to speak at a church function they had been invited to which was attended by ACK Archbishop Ole Sapit.
The ODM party leader has however welcomed the move by the church and has also pleaded with the church to stop accepting donations from corrupt politicians.