The war of priests within Bungoma Diocese is far from over. New turns and twists are merging with each passing day. We shall continue to be fair, bold and balanced in this war that has threatened to bring down the once vibrant Diocese.
What began as a storm in a cup of tea has grown into a mammoth tsunami that threatens to sweep and shake the leadership of the Diocese and define the legacy of Bishop Joseph Sawe Obanyi who is currently acting as Bishop. Bishop Obanyi is Bishop for Kakamega Diocese.
New revelations now have put the spotlight on priests from Busia County who are keen on holding a firm grip on the leadership. The priests have allegedly framed three senior priests from Bungoma County with a view of maligning their name and blaming them for all the mess currently being witnessed as the succession war plays out.
The four priests who are at the centre of the current propaganda, outright lies, and framing of innocent colleagues are the Vicar General Father John Ogola, Chebukaka Parish priest Severios Erubot, Father Edward Odongo and Naitiri parish priest father Martin Erabu.
The four are said to be the ring leaders and brains behind the publications and circulation of false information with an intention of using the same to frame their colleagues. The narrative hatched was to begin the war, escalate the same through all media forums before eventually blaming it on their colleagues.
Their main objective is to disparage the senior priests from the Bukusu community so that they beat the rest to intimidation. Part of their strategy is to blame the current situation on their Bungoma County counterparts so that the acting Bishop and other senior church leaders view them in bad light and lose trust in them.
We can authoritatively reveal that the four are alleged to have hired goons in readiness to disrupt mass and other operations in the parishes and then blame it on their colleagues from Bungoma. This is aimed at attracting sanctions from the Bishop and other senior Clergy.
At the centre of the dispute is the appointment of a Bishop for Bungoma Diocese, the control of key parishes and the control of donor funds and funds meant for the running of the Diocese. Currently, priests from Busia occupy all the plum positions and have pushed the Bungoma team to the periphery.
The Vicar General who is the senior most Clergy is focused on pushing to have a priest friendly at the helm of Christ the King Cathedral. He also wants to take over Kimatuni and Webuye parishes which are closer to towns where parishioners are believed to contribute generously to the church.
Only recently, he has been pushing for the hiving of a section of Jumuias from Christ the King to Kanduyi parish where he is at the helm.
He has all along been blamed for mismanaging the Diocese using the position which he holds as Vicar General.
Only yesterday, the four priests hatched a plot to blame senior priests from Bungoma of leaking the deliberations of a closed door meeting attended by only the clergy and attended by the Bishop.
The scheme however backfired after their plot was nipped in the bud with a trail of all those used as conduits coming out to reveal the same. Angry Christians have vowed they will continue championing for justice and no amount of intimidation will cow them down.
Christians have wondered why the four have failed to respond to valid concerns raised with regard to the balance of parish priests within the Diocese, the leadership of key departments at Diocese level, the training opportunities accorded to priests and the accountability of donor funds and contributions by Christians.
Christians interviewed said the blackmail and intimidation will not take the Vicar General and his team far since all their schemes are now public knowledge. They lament that there has been lack of disclosure for the generous contributions from a prominent Christian in Kanduyi parish again raising accountability issues.
Father Erubot is said to have blatantly bragged that as long as they have the Bishop on their side, they will do everything they want.
“The Bungoma team can make as much noise as they want. We only need to have the Bishop on our side. They can go hang if they want. We are the ones with the knife and will decide which part of the meat we shall give you,” he is quoted saying while responding to inquiries from one local journalist.
The priests have become so arrogant that they frequently hold meetings to execute their agenda. Spiritual issues have taken the back seat and what matters to the priests is now power and money. Those dissenting are threatened with isolation in Musikoma.
Christians are now crying for the suffering of priests from Bungoma which they say will only come to an end once the Bishop intervenes. The attempted blackmail of three senior priests is a revisit of the old scripture that brought down the late Father Agapetus Muse, late Father James Mabele and Gabriel Lumbasi and their priority now is the three targeted senior most clergy which has angered Christians from Bungoma.
Churches across the country are closed because of the COVID – 19 pandemic that continues to wreak havoc.
We shall remain fair, balanced and objective and shall bring you the everyday details that emerge. We shall not bow or succumb to bribery, intimidation and any other forms of pressure. Previous attempts have been thwarted and we remain vigilant.