ACK faithful want bishop removed

Hundreds of Anglican Church of Kenya faithful yesterday boycotted church service demanding the removal of Bishop Peter Njoka, at the centre of cash-for-prayers controversy at City Hall.

The worshippers, from the St Stephen's Church, Jogoo Road, held demonstrations inside the church compound and asked Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi to defrock Bishop Njoka, saying he lacked the moral authority to preside at the church.

All this went on as a team from the Nairobi parish, led by Bishop William Waqo, the provincial secretary and personal assistant to Archbishop Nzimbi, held a meeting to resolve the crisis.

And as the demonstrations went on, a rival group held prayers at an adjacent hall.

It is the first time that the faithful, where the bishop presides, have openly called for Njoka's resignation for receiving Sh1.5 million from the Nairobi City Council for offering prayers.

He is accused of receiving the money in monthly allowances for the non-existent post of the mayor's chaplain since March 2001.

The special investigations team looking into the City Hall finances has demanded that the bishop repay the cash, or face investigation by the Anti-Corruption Police Unit.

The Parliamentary committee on the administration of national security and local authorities last week said it was immoral for the bishop to have "commercialised" prayers.

The committee ruled that the bishop should pay back the money or face prosecution.

The beleaguered bishop is currently out of the country and is expected back next week.

Later, Bishop Waqo said the simmering issues among the faithful had been resolved.

"What you have seen here is a small internal issue which will be sorted out," he said.

In Siaya, the Rev Kenneth Wachianga of the Uriri ACK church said Bishop Njoka should resign for commercialising church activities.

Speaking yesterday at the burial of Jeremiah Omole at Mindhine Village in Yala Town, Rev Wachianga lamented that, had it been a junior pastor involved in the controversy, the church's top organ would have long dismissed him.

He accused the bishop of masquerading as an anti corruption crusader while he engaged in the same vice silently.