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Times Archbishop Muheria and Ole Sapit have challenged Ruto

In the recent past, Archbishop Anthony Muheria, the interim bishop of the Embu Diocese in an acting capacity, and Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit of the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) have been forthright in their criticism of the government.

These two religious leaders have not just critiqued the administration led by President William Ruto but have also represented the concerns of numerous Kenyans struggling with rising living costs and the burden of increased taxation imposed by the government.

With the church becoming increasingly prominent in President Ruto’s governance, both Muheria and Sapit have advised politicians to refrain from using the church as a battleground for their political disagreements.

Excessive taxation

Last week, during a press conference, Bishop Ole Sapit criticized Dr. Ruto’s government for imposing heavy taxes. He expressed concerns that such taxation not only hampers the spirit of investment but also demoralizes those striving to earn a livelihood.

He emphasized the concern over the introduction of VAT on petrol, noting that this adds to the financial strain, especially when Kenyans are already facing challenging economic conditions.

Similarly, in a briefing at the Nyeri Consolata Cathedral, Archbishop Muheria emphasized the pressing need for the government to work alongside other stakeholders to alleviate the high cost of living burdening everyday citizens.

“The fuel prices have not increased this much in the last three months. We know that fuel prices are affected by the global fluctuation of crude oil prices, but we should not burden the poor Kenyans from all quarters, which include heavy taxation and hiking fuel prices, especially during this time of economic crisis,” he said.

High cost of living

During a press conference late last month, Sapit criticized the government for failing to deliver on its election promise of lowering the high cost of living for Kenyans.

He highlighted that excessive taxation was further worsening the living conditions. Similarly, Muheria called on the government to address the escalating cost of living, noting that the economically disadvantaged in Kenya felt trapped and burdened from all sides.

“There must be other solutions beyond pushing and demanding extra from what does not exist among the poor. The plight of the poor should not only be about words, we must ensure they do not lack food on the table,” he said.


In July during an interview on Citizen TV, Archbishop Muheria challenged President Ruto to change his leadership style. This was after the Head of State was very confrontational in the face of anti-government protests against the high cost of living and the Finance Act 2023 that introduced an increase in taxation.

He said, “Leadership needs to be humane, empathetic, and compassionate. That’s a leader. Currently, the leader (President Ruto) is rough, insulting, arrogant and imposing. I think we are going to a very wrong leadership and that’s why the religious leaders are saying Let’s talk about what style of leadership, supporting you for your agenda but also talk about we are one family.”

In early May, Archbishop Sapit called out President Ruto’s administration over growing cronyism and tribalism in his appointments. In a statement, Sapit said such appointments showed a lack of accountability in government agencies.

“There is glaring tribalism and cronyism, particularly about public appointments. There is an apparent lack of accountability and transparency in our institutions. This is not acceptable,” he said. “Let all institutions and government agencies be impartial and efficient, and not simply beholden to political influence, but serve all Kenyans with impartiality.”

The place of the church

In 2021 during the campaigning season, Archbishop Sapit banned all politicians from speaking in all ACK churches saying they had violated the sacret nature of the altar.

“ACK is shifting gears. Starting with this event, politicians will be addressing (the gathering) when the service has ended… The pulpit is for the clergy… ACK is a political no-go-zone,” he said.

Earlier this year, Archbishop Muheria cautioned political leaders against exploiting the church for political advantages. In an interview, he advised clergy members to refrain from leveraging their faith to achieve political objectives and emphasized that church leaders should clearly set boundaries for politicians within religious settings.

“Let us go to church. Let us encounter God genuinely and honestly but not use that platform for politics,” he said while acknowledging that it is good that political leaders are attending churches.

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