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At Installation of Nairobi Archbishop, Church’s Role in Fighting Corruption Highlighted

Archbishop Philip Anyolo celebrating Mass at St Mary's Msongari grounds. Credit: ACI Africa

The role of the Catholic Church in the fight against corruption in Kenya was one of the highlights during the installation of the new Archbishop of Nairobi Saturday, November 20.

Archbishop Philip Anyolo who was appointed as the Local Ordinary of Nairobi Archdiocese on October 28 to succeed John Cardinal Njue was installed as the fifth Archbishop of the Kenyan Archdiocese at St Mary’s Msongari grounds. The venue played host to Pope Francis in November 2015 when he met with women and men Religious and Clergy in Kenya during his maiden three-nation visit to Africa.

In his message, which was read out by Kenya’s Energy and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary (CS), President Uhuru Kenya appealed to church leaders “to continue preaching against” society’s vices including corruption and impunity.

“I call upon the church to continue preaching against corruption, impunity and other vices with even greater vigor and intensity ensuring that tainted fruits of corruption do not find their way into the house of God,” President Kenyatta said in his message read out by CS Monica Juma.

In his address during the event that was presided over by the Apostolic Nuncio in Kenya and South Sudan, Archbishop Anyolo promised to play his prophetic role of voicing against societal “ills” and advocating for accountability.

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Section of Catholic Bishops at the installation ground 20 November 2021. Credit: ACI Africa

“I assure the political leaders that I and other clergy will continue to be the voice and conscience of the nation,” the Kenyan Archbishop said, and promised, “I will not shy away from pointing out any ills in the society.”

The 65-year-old Archbishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in February 1996 as the Local Ordinary of Kenya’s Kericho Diocese before he was transferred to Homabay in 2003 and has been serving as the Metropolitan Archbishop of Kisumu since January 2019 expressed his awareness of “the magnitude” of the Papal transfer to Nairobi Archdiocese.

“I am grateful to the Holy Father, Pope Francis, for this new appointment; it is just a sign of his trust and confidence in me, and I am consciously aware of the position of Nairobi as a key area in the country. I am therefore under no illusion of the magnitude of responsibility that has been bestowed upon me and which I accept with great humility,” Archbishop Anyolo said.

He recalled his reaction to the news of his transfer from Kisumu to Nairobi Archdiocese saying, “I was just beginning to settle down in Kisumu and the idea of coming here never crossed my mind. But when the call was made … I had to juggle my mind. I later decided the Will of God be done.”

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The Kenyan Archbishop reached out to members of the Clergy of Nairobi Archdiocese, appealing for fraternity and collaboration.

“My Dear brothers in the priesthood in Nairobi, I express my commitment to work together closely with you and you as my key collaborators. In me I pray that you will find a father and also in you I pray that I will find my beloved sons. You know my door is not mine, it is ours; welcome for consultations and advices.” he said.

Addressing himself to women and men Religious serving in Nairobi Archdiocese, he said, “And you my religious brothers and sisters, you play an integral role in our ministry, as Priests, you are also close collaborators. Together, we all serve in God’s vineyard; each one of us is playing his special role in answer to the call of master Jesus Christ.”

Some of the Political leaders at the installation, from left, Musalia mudavadi, Moses Wetangula, Stephen Kalonzo and Chris Wamalwa. Credit: ACI Africa

“My appointment to Nairobi comes when we are facing enormous challenges in the country. In the spirit of charity, we will play our role to reduce starvation in the arid counties,” Archbishop Anyolo said referencing issues of concern that Catholic Bishops in Kenya have highlighted a couple of months ago.

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The Kenyan Archbishop went on to appeal to political leaders in Kenya to embrace servant leadership saying, “Let us aim to become servant leaders who seek to serve and not rule, leaders who are forthright and accountable to the people, leaders who are not out to use their positions to enrich themselves or settle scores with opponents.”

Kenya's Energy and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary, Monica Juma, reading out President's speech. Credit: ACI Africa

On his part, the representative of the Holy Father in Kenya, Bert van Megen encouraged Archbishop Anyolo to take care of the people of God under his pastoral care as a “good shepherd.”

The Holy Father appointed Archbishop Anyolo as the Local Ordinary of the Kenyan Archdiocese on October 28. The Archdiocese became vacant in January when John Cardinal Njue retired at the age of 77.

The Archdiocese that is headquartered in Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi, has been under the leadership of Bishop David Kamau who was appointed Apostolic Administrator the same day Cardinal Njue’s retirement was accepted.

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