Clergy’s endorsement comments spark protests

By Milton Onyango

A clergy’s endorsement of a political aspirant while presiding over a prayer session in Kisumu has attracted condemnation from a cross section of local leaders.

Pentecostal Assemblies of God (PAG Kenya) Nyanza regional head, Rt. Reverend Richard Odongo Auko triggered controversy after he appeared to direct the faithful on the specific candidates to vote for.

“The PAG fraternity has never indulged in doublespeak, so we want to make it clear that our blessings for the Kisumu gubernatorial candidate is with Dr. Hezron Mc’Obewa and subsequently Mr. Charles Otieno Ogwan’g for the Onjiko/Awasi MCA seat,” declared Auko

The cleric’s pronouncement did not however go well with a section of the congregation including an aspirant’s opponent, Mr. Dison Oketch, who accused the man of cloth of overstepping his mandate.

Oketch said that, “Religious leaders must at all times strive to be impartial and not directly engage in politicking.”

The Rt. Reverend when later approached to expound on his statements however mellowed on his initial stand saying that the PAG church was ready to offer prayers to all the aspirants without discriminating and the faithful are free to elect leaders of their choice .

It was however a stitch too late as the damage was already done with an emissary that had been sent by the Kisumu Governor, Jack Ranguma to represent him at the event expressing that much.

“We want to condemn certain statements made by the Rt. Rev. Auko  during today’s service that seemed to infringe on the inalienable rights of the citizenry,” said Leonard Achungo Agot, a supporter of Governor Ranguma

Achungo cautioned religious leaders in the region against taking political sides noting that such moves had the potential to create rifts and spur conflict between the opposing groups in the run up to the General Elections.