Former Bishop Now Fights Corruption
With corruption eating into every fabric of Kenyan society, and with those appointed to head the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) failing in their task, the Kenyan government recently turned to the immediate former head of the Anglican Church, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala to lead that fight.
The appointment comes as the anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI) downgraded Kenya in its rankings of corrupt countries, while leader of opposition Raila Odinga declaring that war against corruption in Kenya was a ‘lost cause’.
In a report released late January, TI said Kenya had declined in rank as it continued to post a poor score in the global Corruption Perception Index 2016. Kenya scored 26 on a scale of zero to 100 (with zero perceived to be highly corrupt, and 100 very clean), compared to a score of 25 in 2015. Kenya is ranked at position 145 out of 176 countries and territories included in the latest edition of CPI.
“This indicates that despite the rhetoric of anti-corruption, the fundamentals in the fight against corruption have not yielded significant dividend. The CPI measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption in countries and territories worldwide and is based on expert opinion,” said Samuel Kimeu, TI Kenya Executive Director.
Wabukala made a name for himself in the church and more so in the fissure that erupted in the global Anglican Communion over the issue of ordaining openly gay priests. He was the chairman of the Primates Council of the Global Anglican Futures Conference (GAFCON).
GAFCON came about after the American wing of the church, known as The Episcopal Church (TEC) began ordaining openly gay people as ministers, to the chagrin of the conservatives. When TEC began ordaining gay bishops in the last decade, the conservatives in the church formed the Global Anglican Future (GAFCON) as a bulwark against what they saw as an erosion of the scriptures. The Global South, which accounts for three quarters of the 80 million Anglicans worldwide, forms the backbone of GAFCON.
Wabukala bowed out of the Anglican Church leadership with such impeccable achievement that it was expected he would lead a quiet life in retirement.
Those who have interacted with him agree that Wabukala represents well the life of Christian faith. According to those who know him, Wabukala is a deeply spiritual man whose calling to serve the church is unmistakable.
It is this “Mr. Clean" image that President Uhuru Kenyatta leverages in nominating Wabukala to head the commission. The government had been inundated with allegations of corruption in nearly every office.
Wabukala is aware of what awaits him.
“I know there are challenges ahead," he said on the day he was appointed, but I am confident I am up to the task.”
Wabukala added that once in office, he planned on “rewarding those who fight corruption and punishing those who condone it,” saying the work of government was "divine" in punishing evil and rewarding good.
On his part, President Kenyatta wished Wabukala success in his new job and described him as “an eminently qualified and respected leader who will deliver his mandate at the helm of the EACC to the expectation of Kenyans.”
When the debate was taken to parliament for approval, the legislators were unanimous that Wabukala was the best bet in the fight against corruption.