By BONIFACE MULU
Thousands of Anglican faithful in Kitui County on Sunday, January 19, 2020 attended the consecration and enthronement ceremony of the Venerable Cannon Gideon Muneeni Nzoka as the third Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) Kitui Diocesan Bishop.
The occasion was presided over at the Kitui Stadium by the ACK Archbishop, Dr. Jackson N.Sapit.
It was graced by the presence of Governors Charity Kaluki Ngilu (Kitui County), Professor Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni County), Professor Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu County) and Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya (Kakamega County).
Nzoka,58 years old, succeeds Bishop Josephat Vundi Mule who has retired after having attained the age of 65 years.
Mule has led the diocese from November 8, 2002 to December 2019.
Sixty-five years is the retirement age of the Anglican Church leaders. And on his part, Bishop Nzoka will retire on January 6, 2027, the date when he will turn 65.
Nzoka was born on January 6, 1962 in Kamandio Village, Ikoo Sub-Location of Miambani Location in the then Kitui District-now Kitui County.Until his election as the new ACK Kitui Diocesan Bishop, he was serving as the head of the Saint Peter’s ACK Kalimani Parish in Matinyani District of Kitui County.
He holds the masters of arts degree from the Kenyatta University, bachelor of divinity degree from the Saint Paul’s University, licentiate in theology from the Saint Paul’s University and diploma in theology from the Trinity Bible College.
The retired ACK Archbishop Benjamin Paul Mwanzia Nzimbi is the first ACK Kitui Diocesan Bishop where he led the diocese from April 1, 1995 to August 16, 2002.
Nzimbi was elected the fourth ACK archbishop on August 16, 2002 and Josephat Vundi Mule succeeded him as the second ACK Kitui Diocesan Bishop.
“And before leading the ACK Kitui Diocese, Nzimbi had led the ACK Machakos Diocese from 1985.
The ACK Kitui Diocese was created in 1995 from the ACK Machakos Diocese that was covering Machakos, Kitui and Garissa Districts.
The three are now the counties. In his speech after being consecrated, Bishop Nzoka disclosed that the ACK Kitui Diocese has a total of 96 parishes and 89 clergymen.
He highly thanked all those who attended the ceremony among others.In her speech, Governor Ngilu assured the new bishop that they the Anglicans will continue supporting the diocese.
“We are going to support the bishop in every way we can,” Ngilu, who is an Anglican said.
“We as the government do the things that the church in Kenya has been doing,” the governor added.Ngilu lauded the church for its role in the second liberation of Kenya war in the country where the Kenyans were against the Kenya African National Union (KANU) leadership of President Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi.
Ngilu decried the rising levels of poverty among Kenyans.
“We attained the independence some 57 years ago and we are still languishing under abject poverty,” the governor complained.
“And she lambasted the government for failing to deal with the problem. She also said that the government should think of about how we are going to produce enough food in the country.
Ngilu, who supported the country’s Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Report, complained that the Kenya’s government is served by two communities that she did not mention their names.
In total, Kenya has 44 tribes.Ngilu decried the rate at which the khat (miraa) chewing had ruined the youths in Kitui County.
“And as a result, I am going to ban the miraa trade in the county next month,” the governor declared. Governors Kibwana, Nyong’o and Oparanya and Archbishops Nzimbi and Sapit also addressed the congregation.
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s speech was read by Oparanya while that of the opposition leader Raila Amollo Odinga was read by Nyong’o.
The occasion was attended by the ACK bishops of the Maseno South, Makueni, Kisumu, Kajiado, Garissa, Thika, Taita Taveta, Nambale, Maralal, Mount Kenya South, Embu, Kirinyaga, Mbeere, Machakos, Butere and Mount Kenya Central Diocese.
Ngilu had been accompanied by her deputy, Dr. Gideon Wathe Nzau, the County Secretary, Dr. Joshua Kipng’etich Chepchieng, the county ministers and the county ministry chief officers among other county government officials.
Some local County Assembly Members were also in attendance.