Faithful Move In Support Of Their Embattled Archbishop.


A section of the troubled African Independent Pentecostal Church of Africa (AIPCA) have moved to the defense of their embattled leader His Grace The Archbishop Amos Mathenge Kabuthu in a leadership tussle that is threatening to tear apart its four million faithful.

The faithful in Maragwa Diocese of AIPCA disowned a splinter group led by the ousted national chairman Paul Watoro Gichu that has filed a court case in an attempt to oust Mr. Kabuthu saying that the archbishop was in office legally as per the constitution of the AIPCA Church.

“On behalf of the 52 churches in this diocese, we stand here to categorically declare that we are fully behind our archbishop Amos Mathenge Kabuthu and we are thanking the courts for removing the suspension that had barred our leader from conducting the affairs of the church,” said Cyrus Ruru Waweru, the executive Secretary Maragwa Diocese.

Over 500 faithful congregated at the AIPCA Gakarara Church in full support of their Archbishop Mr. Kabuthu and dismissing the architects of the planned ouster who were using the courts to divide and disfranchise the church.

Waweru alleged that the breakaway group had gone to the court without the blessings and support of the entire AIPCA church faithful across the country. On behalf of the over 20,000 faithful of the Diocese of Maragwa and the over 20 dioceses all over the country, Mr. Waweru castigated this act and threatened to curse anyone going against the wishes of the church for their own individual interests.

“We curse whoever goes against our leader because he was installed constitutionally and we love him because he leads us in the right way.”

He clarified that the wrangles dated back to three years ago, emanating from Gichu who he said was using the courts to frustrate the leadership of Kabuthu. He termed the court cases malicious and the intended excommunication of their leader illegal since the archbishop could only be replaced the according to the AIPCA Constitution.

Standing before hundreds of supportive congregants, embattled Archbishop Kabuthu vowed to ‘vigorously’ defend his position and the constitution of the church.

During the church service, he compared his tribulations with those of Abraham and Job who were faced with so many challenges so that God could be glorified. He assured the congregation that this was soon going to pass and normalcy would then prevail.

Kabuthu was very brief in his response to the wrangles siting the case that was still before the court. However, he was very categorical that he was the man in charge and those going against him were doing so without the blessings of the AIPCA faithful.

“I don’t want to talk much about this issue because I don’t want to be declared to have been in contempt of the court proceedings but one thing is clear, I was installed in Kasarani as the AIPCA archbishop in the full glare of the whole world, even in front of the president (Uhuru) and former president Mwai Kibaki. In a big house like ours, you can never miss one or two ‘bad apples’. This man is doing a lot of disservice to our church because he has come to bring disunity within our faithful,” said Kabuthu.

He added that the church was behind him and at no time will the faithful allow this splinter group to wreck the church.

AIPCA has been for the last three years been embroiled in wrangles and court cases since the ouster of Gichu. The two (Kibuthu and Gichu) have been squabbling since 2013 in an ugly power struggle that at times turned nasty. The misunderstandings led to the formation of splinter group under Gichu.

The Gichu group has been questioning Kabuthu’s suitability to lead the church and at one time alleging that Kibuthu did not have the requisite academic papers to qualify for the leadership of the church. One has to be a holder of a degree in theology from a recognised university to qualify for the post.

Various efforts to unite the warring factions have been fruitless whilst violence erupting in certain scenarios. President Uhuru Kenyatta once personally tried to broker peace in the church after a meeting he called between the warring factions ended without concrete resolutions.

Bishop Samuel Ngacha Njiriri, who now heads Stewards Revival Pentecostal Church, had also previously volunteered to mediate between the two leaders but his efforts too ran to naught. He claimed that by rebelling against William Alexander, the Greek Orthodox archbishop who ordained AIPCA’s first three bishops, AIPCA consigned itself to forever be embroidered in leadership wrangles that have followed every head of the church.

Alexander was mistreated in Kihumbu-ini in Murang’a County where had been invited to ordain AIPCA’s pioneer bishops.

“All AIPCA leaders live under the culture of fear. They think everyone is after the other and start fights where there should be none,” said Njiriri.


He claimed that the infighting is in line with its church’s mission, which was basically to fight the colonial government through supporting such practices as polygamy and female circumcision. Njiriri also claimed that AIPCA also faces problems in balancing between its African nationalism roots and modern Christianity as well as lack of elaborate structures and liturgy and its own theological college to groom priests.

 


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