A section of participants at Christ is the Answer Ministries annual delegates conference to ratify bishop designate are planning to stop the nomination of Rev Calisto Odede approval.
However, Weekly Citizen has information to the effect that the AGM planned to be held on April 25 this year, hangs in the balance due to corona virus outbreak that has seen the state stop public gatherings throughout the country.
Those opposed to the nomination wanted at first to pursue the legal angle but eventually decided to involve the delegates. The argument being that if the AGM had not ratified the nomination as it was the final decision maker, Odede nomination was still in doubt and cannot be challenged in court. Citam succession war revolved around who is to take over from Bishop David Oginde.
The selection board that picked Bishop Odede is the Fellowship of Elders and the Deacon board. They voted on February 14 for 10 candidates who were out to head the church headquartered at Valley Road, Nairobi.
Sources well versed with the happenings during the voting reveal that intense lobbying, bribery and tribalism marred the process that became ungodly. The head of the church is said to control billions of shillings raised among members and from donors.
The church also has economic generating projects that bring in billions of shillings. Citam is one of the richest churches in Kenya with branches in Nairobi, Kisumu, Thika, Mombasa, Mlolongo just to name but a few.
Citam constitution states that the bishop to head the church must have a christian testimony and must have served as a senior pastor or equivalent for five years or incharge as a deputy bishop.
In total, of 15 pastors of the church that met the requirement applied, however, the number was reduced to only 10 applicants with five being knocked out for unknown reasons.
Insiders say that the manner in which the five were locked out was aimed at balancing regional voting pattern in favour of one candidate. Citam has 32 senior pastors according to documents seen by Weekly Citizen.
Of the 32, only 15 were shortlisted with the final list narrowing to 10 senior pastors.
Fellowship of elders has 24 members with the deacon board 12 members that totals to 37 members.
Our source revealed, going by the composition of the 37 members, one region is favoured in controlling the church activities. Or further, two regions can strike a working balance to anoint who is who to occupy the position of presiding bishop.
A close scrutiny of Citam constitution reveals that the council of elders has the final word on the appointment of the presiding bishop.
Sources say using his influence; the outgoing Bishop Oginde favoured Odede for reasons best known to him.
Odede is seen as an outsider as he has been a senior pastor at Nairobi Baptist Church. He left Citam Valley Road in November 2014 and joined the Baptist Church.
The legal complication in his nomination is that the constitution states one has to be a senior pastor at Citam to qualify. Of those invited for interviews, all the nine apart from Odede, were senior pastors at Citam.
From the 10, the list was narrowed to three candidates; Weekly Citizen has information that a number of church followers have dismissed talks that Odede joined the Baptist Church following a mutual understanding between the two ministries.
In fact it is said that a section of church elders were against Odede’s defection and even prevailed upon him to stay but he refused.
By then, emerging facts are that Odede who was under investigations and wanted a safe landing ground at Baptist church.
Weekly Citizen has established that claims that Odede was lured to join Baptist church as senior pastor to solve a crisis the church was experiencing at the time has not been received well by Baptist Church followers.
He was at Baptist for five and a half years. Odede was a senior pastor at Citam Woodley, Valley Road and Karen before heading to Baptist.
It is said that Bishop Oginde did not want his current deputy Bishop Karita Mbagara to succeed him.
We could not establish if immediate former deputy bishop Kennedy Kimiywe was among those shortlisted. Kimiywe and Mbagara were seen as front runners.
Followers are asking why Mbagara who has been in office and served as Oginde’s deputy in what was seen as succession gameplan as many expected was sidelined. They are reading regional power games in the deal.
Names of Charles Obara, Karen Assembly senior pastor and overseer Southern Region together with that of Anaka Mugenyi, Western region overseer, were also mentioned as possible successors of Oginde.
For now, those against Odede want the MoU between Citam and Baptist church made public to show the contents.
Oginde took over from Bishop Boniface Adoyo in 2010. Adoyo was the church’s first African head and is credited for not influencing his successor.
In fact, most of the projects Oginde oversaw were the planned by Adoyo who took over from Bishop Dennis White.
Faithful say a move by Citam to pray for 40 days under Citam leadership transition banner to avoid tribalism, greed, power obsession, selfish and personal interests in the picking of the head as well as opposition to new bishop nominated was suspicious.
Last year, Oginde was accused of initiating pastoral transfers and frustrating young pastors. To weaken Bishop Kimiywe, during the AGM meetings, he pushed creation of deputy bishops.
The Odede nomination announcement read: “Rev Calisto Odede is Citam bishop designate after going through a successful selection process. Rev Odede served Citam ministry for a long time in various capacities.”
Weekly Citizen has information on the final three list, it had Odede, and Ken Isige the man in charge of Citam Thika Road and of course Obara. Kimiywe and Mbagara’s names were dropped along the way.
For now, Odede backers are out to influence the AGM of delegates to approve his nomination to avoid embarrassment.
Odede is 57 years and is to serve for two terms five years each meaning he will retire at 67, 2029.
ADC has 1200 delegates drawn from 24 local assemblies. Four assemblies are international.
Sources say, due to the heat generated, the delegates will prefer to vote unlike before when they were asked to raise comments on bishop designate.