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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 23 November 2014

POLICE ESCORT CATHOLIC PRIEST BACK TO CHURCH AT NIGHT


Catholic faithful in Vihiga county stormed a church demanding the eviction of a priest they accused of mismanaging church’s funds and extorting from donors.
Father Boniface Silayo of Buyangu Catholic Parish went into hiding and had to be escorted back to the church late into the night by administration police fearing for his life.
The faithfuls were angered by letters sent to donors by Father Silayo indicating that the church was one of the poorest in the country with an orphanage whose orphans were in dire need of help.
In the letter sent to Sacred Heart Church in Williams Lake, BC, the priest says the main problems afflicting the church include the influence of other Christian sects to infrastructure, educational, health and social-economical areas. He explained that the problems and others had been caused by abject poverty, HIV and AIDs, malaria, hunger and lack of social network because of the area’s rocky and hilly terrain.
The church members said the allegations presented to donors were false and were merely meant to serve the priest’s personal interests by giving inaccurate information to solicit for funds that are instead diverted to a German individual instead of the church’s accounts.
They send a delegation to St Peter’s Seminary in Kakamega to meet Bishop Philip Sulumeti but they claimed that the bishop had dismissed them without having given them an opportunity to explain themselves and hand him their petition.
“Since the bishop has ignored us, it is important for us to evict the priest for him to understand the seriousness of the problem here,” said Francis Luduva, a former vice chair of the Parish Council of the church.
Jepkoyai assistant county commissioner, George Lugo and the area assistant chief Joseph Inima, were forced to intervene and talk to the faithfuls who wanted to make sure that the priest had left the parish immediately. Lugo said he had earlier met the father over the state of the institution at the parish which he said is collapsing but asked them to use the right procedure to solve the problem.
Despite the church having received funding from the donors, there existed no orphanage at the church, and the facilities sponsored by the church are collapsing, said Luduva. He further said Buyangu Primary School had over 700 students a few years ago, but now it only has 228 while St Anne’s Buyangu Girls’ has been having an exodus of students every year too and the Buyangu Health Centre can no longer offer quality  health services.
The faithfuls accused the priest of ex-communicating members holding divergent views at will and for being the cause of nuns leaving the parish and who are supposed to take care of the health centre. Attempts by press to seek Father Silayo’s comments were unsuccessful as he could not respond to phone calls or text messages.