MEDIA: Bishop Joseph Obanyi. PHOTO/COURTESY
Attempts by Christians from Bungoma Diocese to have the church address matters of mismanagement and corruption seem to have hit a snag with the church leadership maintaining a deafening silence causing further anxiety, suspicion and speculation among the Christians and the clergy.
The Church leadership led by the acting Bishop Joseph Obanyi who is the Bishop of Kakamega Diocese has remained adamant to the latest development.
Bungoma Diocese currently has no Bishop after the then Bishop Norman King’oo was transferred to Machakos.
A retreat of all priests from the Diocese convened to unify them caused further disharmony after it ended without the grievances of Christians being canvassed and a compromise reached. The meeting was graced by Bishop Obanyi.
Sources said Bishop Obanyi at the meeting held at Kabula Pastoral Centre blamed pseudo characters to have assumed the responsibility of raising the valid grievances on behalf of Christians in church.
He failed to completely deal with any of the raised issues instead choosing to defend the Vicar General despite the accusations levelled against him.
The Bishop said priests can only be moved from their current stations on grounds of misappropriation of church funds and immorality statements which have set high hopes among Christians that action will be taken since the Vicar General father John Ogola and his clique are facing the same charges.
CLOSE DOOR MEETING
The Christians pointed out that its high time the Bishop cracked the whip if he means well for Bungoma Diocese.
The Bishop initially held a closed door meeting with the Vicar General who spent most of the time defending himself and pleading for forgiveness.
The priests left the meeting divided with a section upset and disappointed while others were in a celebratory mood.
Wakajuaness can authoritatively report that no single priest has been behind the leakage of the information since information so far published has entirely come from Christians across the various parishes.
The Christians are now threatening to take the law into their own hands since their hope in the Bishop has diminished. They have threatened to stop any donations to the church, and if push comes to shove boycott mass.
The Christians are now wondering if Bishop of Obanyi is being held captive by a clique of priests led by Vicar General Father John Ogola who are responsible for mismanaging the diocese leading to the current crisis.
The Bishop is reported to favor the priests accused of running down the diocese by allowing them fund his operations.
Father Ogola is said to be regularly taking brown envelopes to the Bishop in a bid to influence him into turning a blind eye on the injustice meted on the Clergy and Christians.
The Christians are now questioning the leadership of Father Ogola who they say has no known academic, or spiritual qualities to hold the high position he holds.
He is said to have appointed himself to the position as there are no records to show how he ascended to the position.
Father Ogola is a cousin to the first Bungoma Diocese Bishop Longinus Atundo.
Father Ogola’s inept leadership qualities are blamed for the turmoil that currently faces the diocese. Christians and the clergy describe him as an ambitious, greedy, paranoid and vindictive man who will stop at nothing to get what he wants.
He is the man allegedly behind the disharmony in the posting of priests which has shone the spotlight on the church.
Priests with superior academic qualifications have been relegated to the periphery and traumatized only allowing his cronies to hold key positions in the church.
A case in point is father Faustine Wesonga of Kibuk parish who is the diocesan secretary for education, the director of a model school and a parish priest.
It has been confirmed that whereas other priests have no assignment/ demotivated through postings, others became casualties to accommodate his ego.
As Vicar General, Father Ogola is in charge of priestly personnel and conduct, pastoral education, health, development, diocesan communication and youth chaplaincy matters. He uses the position to allegedly manipulate priests, reward his cronies and crackdown on any contrary opinion.
LACK OF TRANSPARENCY
The Christians main cry touches on the accountability of church funds. Most of the funds collected from lent, confirmations and other collections meant to support pastoral work within the diocese remain unaccounted for.
It has further emerged that money brought to the diocese by donors is strictly controlled by Father Mercelus Ouma raising questions of transparency.
The Father in charge of Chebukaka parish Father Silverius Erubut has turned into insulting Christians claiming that priests from Bungoma County are not educated enough to undergo further studies. The priest has alleged that the clergy from Busia are more schooled hence justified to hold the senior positions they hold.
The Christians from Chebukaka have now threatened to forcefully shut down businesses including shops and Mpesa outlets operated by father Silverius Eruput. He is accused of taking the donations by Christians and converting the same to cash while stocking the rest in his shops.
In Misikhu, the parish priest father Peter Makokha has been given an ultimatum to openly count the church tithes and offering and declare the same. A letter to the priest detailing the grievances by Christians was allegedly dropped in the offering box.
Christians from Bungoma diocese now want to borrow from what happened before ACK Katakwa Diocese was split and the Quakers split to form Kaimosi and Lugulu.
They aver that that the only solution to end the injustices, spite, contempt and exploitation is to have the Nuncio intervene.