The church leader to whom Deputy President Dr William Ruto donated a car recently is d**d. Mr Shem Shamala, the high priest of the African Church of the Holy Spirit based in Tumbeni area of Malava, Kakamega County, d**d this morning after a long illness, according to family members.
This will come as a shock to Mr Ruto who, during a brief visit to The African Church of the Holy Spirit Tumbeni on 18th September, gave the presiding pastor at the church a car, a Suzuki Vitara. Speaking after attending a church service at the church’s head offices near Malava town, Ruto likened the church believers to hustlers, saying it lacks missionary support from abroad.
Dr Ruto said he had donated the car, handed over to Bishop Shamala, to offer support in the spirit of the bottom-up economic model.
“When the church’s top leadership visited me, they told me that their bishop moves around on a boda boda, yet he is a very high-ranking person in the society. So I told them that I would buy them a bishop’s car in his gospel ministry. So I have today come here with that car so that our bishop can use it,” Mr Ruto said.
He said that he was out to help raise the church to be on the same level as other churches in the country and beyond. “This will ease his work because apart from other things that we are seeking on earth, if we lack the kingdom of God, then that will be useless,” he said.
The bishop has been i*l for some time and put on a brave face during Ruto’s visit. It is understood he has been wasting away at his Tumbeni home as the church’s doctrine, which upholds divine healing, does not allow hospital treatment.
On the ground, though, some faithful have linked the d***h to the car, claiming someone may have eliminated the priest out of jealous.
Tension is already rising ahead of his burial on Saturday with drama expected from the rituals that the church – known locally as Abaushi (Kabras word for separatists) or Abakambuli – accords a departed spiritual leader.
The African Church of the Holy Spirit is amongst the predominant African indigenous/independent churches in Kakamega, with the largest following among the Kabras people.
The church broke away from the Friends Africa Mission/Quakers largely as a result of a theological controversy revolving around pneumatology, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.
The Abaushi gradually developed into recognized churches, including the African Church of the Holy Spirit in Kabras. The Abaushi emphasized the power, experience, and manifestations of the Holy Spirit, and the differing interpretations of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit constituted a fundamental factor in the birth of the ACHS.