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NEWSBishop David Oginde: Sheep Among Wolves In Anti-Graft Role

Bishop David Oginde: Sheep Among Wolves In Anti-Graft Role

I was pleasantly surprised when I read about the President nominating Bishop Emeritus David Oginde to chair the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).

I am indeed looking forward to the sermons that the Bishop will preach once his tenure is over! I am one of Bishop Oginde’s many admirers. He has a stellar record as a visionary and resolute Christian professional.

He first demonstrated these qualities through his sacrificial leadership while at the helm of student leadership at the Fellowship of Christian Unions (FOCUS). This position demanded that he forfeits an illustrious career as an architect to help nurture the Christian evangelical movement in universities in Kenya.

His leadership at Christ Is The Answer Ministries (CITAM) was also remarkable, setting the pace for how pentecostal churches should be governed. I pray they learn, or should I say ‘we learn’.

He led a congregation that is publicly known to collect billions yet he never became a billionaire. There are many pastors in Kenya whose congregants are paupers yet they are ‘blessed’ with billions.

Bishop Oginde has also never shied away from condemning incompetence and corruption. His addresses in the national prayer meeting have not been sycophantic or crass criticism but a measured plea for those in government to discharge their solemn duties.

So, is corruption in Kenya going to end now that we have the best man for the job? Some ‘saints’ may even be fearing that he is being set up to fail. In all honesty, that thought crossed my mind.

Is Bishop Oginde in the line up of ‘men of God’ who are lined up to be rewarded for ‘praying’? I can confidently dismiss that idea. It is worth noting that even during the BBI launch, Bishop Oginde advocated for a middle ground and went as far as requesting the then Deputy President William Ruto to tone down on his hustler rhetoric – an offer that our current President rejected once he took the podium.

If you have listened to Bishop Oginde preach about Jacob, compared with Isaac and Abraham then you know a bit more about what he was alluding to at the BBI launch. I think he applied for a position in which his reputation stood out too much to be ignored. It is commendable that even the President could not help but notice, or so I think. Clearly I am fan.

Let’s get back to the big question: will the Bishop turn Kenya upside down? That was the accusation levelled against Paul and Silas in Acts 17: 6 (ESV). How I pray he does!

However when I reflect at the prevailing political disposition in Kenya the words of Jesus in Matthew 10 come to mind: the Bishop has been sent as sheep amongst wolves. Jesus, when sending his disciples cautioned that some will receive their message, while some will reject it. In a similar stance the Bishop will succeed in pulling some to his side, while some will insist on corruption.

Jesus cautioned that there is a risk of being publicly disowned and persecuted due to the good work. This risk is imminent if the Bishop does a good job. The advice from Jesus when faced with persecution was: keep running! The Bishop should having his running shoes ready.

Jesus also told his disciples to boldly speak the truth, knowing that they are accountable to God. I expect nothing less from the Bishop.

He has been nominated to lead a commission. While the idea is that a Commissioners are supposed to be executive, the realities of organisational behaviour dictate that the CEO remains the executioner and therefore the real executive.

There is also the reality of the politics of state corporations – every commissioner (read board member) may have political clout. Sometimes, the CEO has even more clout than the Commission/Board itself!

Bishop Oginde is at the very best a first amongst equals in relation to his fellow commissioners. Then there is the reality that he has to work with staff that he has found at the EACC – he cannot bring along his own team from Church. These realities point out the fact that his primary job is to identify or build a reliable team that will discharge the expected mandate.

He is also responsible for the overall philosophy of the organisation – embodied in the strategic plan. That is the boring stuff that he will be bogged down with. No sensational news headlines! He will of course not be spared the politics that comes with the role, including begging for budgetary allocation and maybe receiving ‘orders from below’. He is a Bishop, only God sits above him. So will he bring the big change that Kenyans have been waiting for?

If you are in Israel waiting for the Messiah to come guns blazing, I have news for you. A child has been born!


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