Vicar General of Kenya’s Garissa Diocese Appointed Bishop, Pledges Servant Leadership

Mons. George Muthaka, appointed Bishop of Kenya's Garissa Diocese by Pope Francis on 17 February 2022. Credit: ACI Africa

The Vicar General of the Diocese of Garissa in Kenya who has been appointed Bishop of the same Episcopal See has said he will seek to embrace servant leadership during his Episcopal ministry in the Kenyan Catholic Diocese.   

“I believe what the people of Garissa want is a shepherd who is going to be a servant to them, who is going to serve them. My commitment to the people of Garissa is that I will be for them a servant,” Bishop-elect George Muthaka told ACI Africa in an interview a few hours after his appointment was made public.

The Thursday, February 17 Episcopal appointment was published by the Holy See Press Office. 

In the East African nation, the representative of the Holy Father sent an official letter to the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), communicating the appointment of the Kenyan-born member of the Order of Friars Minor, Capuchin (OFM Cap.)

Msgr. Muthaka is expected to succeed his confrere, 77-year-old Bishop Joseph Alessandro.


Bishop-elect George Muthaka (right) and Bishop Emeritus  Joseph Alessandro. Credit: ACI Africa

Born in December 1974, Msgr. Muthaka was ordained a Priest for the Capuchins in June 2003.

He obtained his first degrees in philosophy and theology from St. Bonaventure University College in Lusaka, Zambia, and Tangaza University College in Nairobi, Kenya, respectively.

The Bishop-elect holds a Master’s Degree in Church Management from Villanova University (USA) and a Master Degree in Psychology from Divine Mercy University (USA).

Credit: ACI Africa

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Since his Priestly ordination, Msgr. Muthaka has served in various capacities including Parish Vicar, Guardian of St. Bridget Convent in Nairobi, and Vice Provincial of the Capuchins in Kenya, ministering under the General Minister of the Capuchins who resides in Rome. 

At the time of his Episcopal appointment, the Bishop-elect was serving in various capacities in Garissa Diocese: Vicar General, Diocesan Financial Administrator, Director of Caritas, and President of the Diocesan Commission for the Protection of Minors.

Credit: ACI Africa

In the February 17 interview with ACI Africa, the Kenyan Bishop-elect described his appointment as unexpected and one that has left him “in a state of disbelief and confusion.”

“I had prior information about it (appointment) from His Excellency the Nuncio but I'm still in a state of disbelief and confusion because it's something that I never expected in my lifetime,” Msgr. Muthaka said. 


He added, “It's something that I never prayed for and I am still in a state of shock but at the same time I have deep faith that God knows why He has chosen me to carry out this ministry.”

“I feel like Isaiah who felt that he was unworthy to do the call that the Lord was giving him and like Saint Peter who also felt unworthy. I even wonder just like King David why the Lord has chosen me because deep down I am aware that I am not worthy,” the Bishop-elect said.

He added, "Mine is to be like Isaiah and to say that let your will be done. I believe that whatever has happened is the Grace of God.”

Credit: ACI Africa

He went on to highlight qualities his predecessor in the Kenyan Diocese manifested, promising to follow in his footsteps. 

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"What I have learned from Bishop Joseph is his humility. He has been a true servant to the people of Garissa Diocese, to the Priests and to the Sisters. He has been truly a humble servant. If I can only emulate that one particular aspect of being a humble servant of the people of Garissa, I will be satisfied," Msgr. Muthaka told ACI Africa.  

He added that he is committed to complete the pastoral and infrastructure projects that Bishop Alessandro started. 

"One of the issues that we have been struggling with is more vocations because we have only three Diocesan Priests in the whole of the Diocese. The Bishop thinks that we need to have more young people joining us. I will work extra hard on that area so that we can get more vocations," Msgr. Muthaka said. 

He called upon the people of God in the Diocese to cooperate with him and to pray for him.

Credit: ACI Africa

"When they see I'm not going (on) the right path, they have all the right to come and tell me you are not leading us so I would urge them to feel free now and to consider me as their servant," he said. 

In his message following the appointment of his successor, Bishop Alessandro said he believes the people of God in the Kenyan Diocese "will continue with a very well-prepared shepherd."

"My concerns sometimes are about pastoral work but I know that he (Msgr. Muthaka), is very good in pastoral," Bishop Alessandro said, and advised the Bishop-elect "to go straight to Jesus Christ" and to serve the poor. 

Credit: ACI Africa

"Be with the poor and assist the people," the native of Malta said, and added, "It is not easy to do charity but overthinking may limit you from doing a lot." 

He continued, "Be prudent and generous. Projects are important but people come first." 

Credit: ACI Africa

Bishop Alessandro also promised to support his successors with prayers and to offer advice whenever it is sought for. 

Once he is ordained Bishop, Msgr. Muthaka will be third Bishop of the Kenyan Catholic Diocese that is part of the Ecclesiastical Province of Mombasa. It has a population of 6,911 Catholics according to 2020 statistics.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.