Kenya’s participation in this week’s ACC meeting in Lusaka was procured by fraud, leaders of the East African church report. A statement under the signature of the Archbishop of Kenya, the Most Rev. Eliud Wabukala, appeared on the website of the Anglican Church of Kenya on 6 April 2016, announcing the church had reversed its stance on the boycott of the ACC meeting in Lusaka. However, within hours of its publication, the letter was taken down and a new statement was posted from the archbishop lamenting the interference of the Anglican Consultative Council in the Kenyan church.
The first letter was a forgery with the archbishop’s digital signature pasted on the letter. Sources in the Kenyan church tell AI the archbishop suspects the forgery was prepared under the direction of the Bishop of Nairobi, the Rt. Rev. Joel Waweru, who is leading the Kenyan delegation to Lusaka. Emails to the Nairobi bishop, who is in transit to Lusaka, have not been answered as of our going to print.
The Kenyan clergy and lay delegates to Lusaka, Lay Canon Peter Gachuhi, Diocesan Chancellor of All Saints Cathedral Diocese and the Ven Canon Philip Obwogi, Vicar General of the Diocese of Nakuru, are understood to have been informed by Bishop Waweru that Archbishop Wabukala had changed his mind, and agreed to go to Lusaka under these circumstances. “They are known as good men and I do not believe they would knowingly defy the Primate,” a source in the ACK said. It is not known if they will now stay for the meeting after learning of the forgery.
A frequent participant in the Canadian-sponsored Anglican Bishops in Dialogue program, Bishop Waweru has defied his primate in the past over his collaboration with the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada in defiance to the Kenyan bishops’ ban on relations with the North American provinces.
The situation is further complicated by Bishop Waweru’s bid to replace Archbishop Wabukala as primate of the ACK at the provincial elections on 20 May 2016. Civil and ecclesiastical elections in Kenya are often marked by appeals to tribal loyalty. A source who asked not to be named as he was not authorized to speak on behalf of his fellow bishops said he doubted any immediate disciplinary action would be taken as it would inflame tensions in the run up to the election of a new archbishop.
In 2013 elections for primate of the Anglican Church of Tanzania were marked by bribery allegations, with supporters of ousted Archbishop Valentino Mokiwa claiming the Episcopal Church of the USA purchased the votes of some delegates to ensure the election of a candidate favorable to the US church. The Tanzanian church’s general secretary denied the allegations, but other church leaders confirmed to AI the veracity of the claims.