Kenya 3: Fraud and Forgery Allegations Raised at ACC 16

Update: The statement whose authenticity has been denied posted online on the Anglican Church of Kenya website briefly before being removed is available to be read below thanks to a sharp-eyed correspondent

From Anglican Ink: Fraud and Forgery Allegations Raised at ACC 16 – George Conger
Kenya’s participation in this week’s ACC meeting in Lusaka was procured by fraud, leaders of the East African church report. A statement under the signature of the Archbishop of Kenya, the Most Rev. Eliud Wabukala, appeared on the website of the Anglican Church of Kenya on 6 April 2016, announcing the church had reversed its stance on the boycott of the ACC meeting in Lusaka. However, within hours of its publication, the letter was taken down and a new statement was posted from the archbishop lamenting the interference of the Anglican Consultative Council in the Kenyan church.

The first letter was a forgery with the archbishop’s digital signature pasted on the letter. Sources in the Kenyan church tell AI the archbishop suspects the forgery was prepared under the direction of the Bishop of Nairobi, the Rt. Rev. Joel Waweru, who is leading the Kenyan delegation to Lusaka. Emails to the Nairobi bishop, who is in transit to Lusaka, have not been answered as of our going to print.

The Kenyan clergy and lay delegates to Lusaka, Lay Canon Peter Gachuhi, Diocesan Chancellor of All Saints Cathedral Diocese and the Ven Canon Philip Obwogi, Vicar General of the Diocese of Nakuru, are understood to have been informed by Bishop Waweru that Archbishop Wabukala had changed his mind, and agreed to go to Lusaka under these circumstances. “They are known as good men and I do not believe they would knowingly defy the Primate,” a source in the ACK said. It is not known if they will now stay for the meeting after learning of the forgery.

A frequent participant in the Canadian-sponsored Anglican Bishops in Dialogue program, Bishop Waweru has defied his primate in the past over his collaboration with the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada in defiance to the Kenyan bishops’ ban on relations with the North American provinces.

The situation is further complicated by Bishop Waweru’s bid to replace Archbishop Wabukala as primate of the ACK at the provincial elections on 20 May 2016. Civil and ecclesiastical elections in Kenya are often marked by appeals to tribal loyalty. A source who asked not to be named as he was not authorized to speak on behalf of his fellow bishops said he doubted any immediate disciplinary action would be taken as it would inflame tensions in the run up to the election of a new archbishop.

In 2013 elections for primate of the Anglican Church of Tanzania were marked by bribery allegations, with supporters of ousted Archbishop Valentino Mokiwa claiming the Episcopal Church of the USA purchased the votes of some delegates to ensure the election of a candidate favorable to the US church. The Tanzanian church’s general secretary denied the allegations, but other church leaders confirmed to AI the veracity of the claims.

Read it all

Statement on the ACC 16 Lusaka by The Elves


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Consultative Council, Anglican Primates, Kenya, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016

16 comments on “Kenya 3: Fraud and Forgery Allegations Raised at ACC 16

  1. BlueOntario says:

    “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour…”

  2. Martin Reynolds says:

    Well, at least one aspect of this extraordinary mixture of rumour and spleen is checkable. The forged document on the website will have left its mark, lets see the cached copy, that will be interesting in itself.

    Before the allegations of forgery, I thought it a perfectly normal piece of Anglicanism.

    What this story does show in a roundabout way is that the bishops, clergy and lay people of Kenya and other places are not of one mind in a whole variety of ways. Neither does it take a Dr Jensen or TEC to stir up a local crisis regardless of the conspiracy theorists, in fact its quite racist to imply they are incapable of making a hash of it all on their own!

  3. Martin Reynolds says:

    The document provided is very interesting. Can someone come up with the cached copy from the internet?
    I found the arguments to attend compelling.

  4. pendennis88 says:

    I see the purported forged document has been recovered and now posted on the website. This is quite an unusual story, but I tend to give a great deal of credence to George Conger’s reporting. I assume we will learn more. I would suggest, though, that allegations of misbehaviour and lying to get delegates to attend hardly constitute a compelling argument for attending. Quite the contrary.

    Admittedly, this may make the meeting more interesting.

  5. tjmcmahon says:

    #3- the wording does sound very English, doesn’t it? Perhaps because it was partly lifted from the ABoC’s own letter.
    I’m guessing ACO functionary, in the Conservatory, with an iPad, while on a conference call with a Kenyan and unknown persons from New York.
    Think of the fun that could be had at Synod- everyone getting dozens of letters, all signed by Welby and Sentamu.

  6. pendennis88 says:

    #5 – Well, I guess that would explain the letter I just received from Welby endorsing Julio Guzman for President of Peru, notwithstanding that he was suspended from the election, in order “for his voice to be heard”. The ACC has agreed, saying that, under UK charitable law, there is no provision for them to recognize a Peruvian suspension.

  7. Martin Reynolds says:

    [Comment deleted by Elf – please avoid ad hominem comments and address issues. Thanks]

  8. Martin Reynolds says:

    Good gracious!
    The comment deleted was a factual account relating to the reliability of the author of this piece. It was no more than that.
    Omitting the relevant history then, this piece is nothing more than unsubstantiated ad hominem attack on a senior serving Kenyan bishop. It accuses him of fraud without any evidence to substantiate it and without any comment from him. As one who helped train new journalists at Cardiff University for 20 years and who served his indentures as a journalist from 1971 I can reliably testify that this report breaches the ethics code we are governed by.
    This is further complicated by this unsubstantiated ad hominem attack taking place at a very sensitive time when the bishop may emerge as the new Primate.
    I think that stocks to the issues.

  9. Martin Reynolds says:

    I posted again pointing out how this article, not my comments, constitute an unsubstantiated ad hominem attack, but it was deleted.
    Surely the truth is not a problem here?

    [Thanks Martin Reynolds – your post repeated some of the points of the deleted comment, and moreover The Elves don’t like their decisions being argued with – Elf

    ‘The Elves are for The Elves’]

  10. tired says:

    “The first letter was a forgery with the archbishop’s digital signature pasted on the letter.”

    Always check the fruit.

  11. Martin Reynolds says:

    But the letter we have from the 6th (the day after this letter) tells us from the archbishop himself that he had been in touch personally with the delegation and informed them of his wishes and that they had decided to ignore his entreaties. No room for doubt here and no mention of a fraudulent letter the day before, unless the letter of the 6th is a forgery too.

  12. Martin Reynolds says:

    Just where does this conspiracy theory come from?
    I can see nothing on any official site.
    And the whole things looks somewhat dubious when one examines the letter of 6 April from the Primate.
    In this letter he makes it clear that he had spoken to the delegation and personally asked/instructed them not to go. The Archbishop says frankly that they had told him they were going notwithstanding his injunction.
    So where does this letter of the day before, the 5th, fit in?
    Why would one need such a letter if the delegates were willing to personally reject the Primates advice?
    How can one say that the delegates were misled when they had rebuffed the Archbishop? He says they did.
    Why would anyone need to conjour it up?

  13. Robert Atkins says:

    I am curious about the use of this term “digital signature” which has been used in several posts. Was it really a “digital signature” or was it actually a “digitized signature”? Anybody could have access to the latter…

  14. Marie Blocher says:

    I think it is a digitized signature. Compare the end of this letter with
    the end of the letter announcing that Kenya would not be participating.
    Signature seems the same, but the titles are not bolded in the real letter, nor is there a date beside the signature.
    If one is going to do a forgery, one should be more careful of the details.

  15. billqs says:

    You all might know more than me, but is it odd that this apparently official communique changing the opinion of the Archbishop is in English? Or do they use English the way the way the Roman Church uses Latin for official documents.

  16. tjmcmahon says:

    Billqs- If my understanding is correct, English and Swahili are both official languages of Kenya (among several languages spoken there). The archbishop does indeed speak and write fluent English- although often with a grammatical construction that might indicate it is his second or third language. That the letter does seem to be “King’s English”- but as I said, in no small part seemed to be lifted from the letter of the ABoC to the Primates, so I am not concluding it was written by someone from England, but someone familiar with the ABoC letter.