Leadership conflicts in the African independent pentecostal church of Africa: with particular reference to Gitothua
Kamau, Mary Wanjiku
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This study analyses the factors underlying the fragmentation of and schism in the African Independent Pentecostal Church of Africa (A.I.P.C.A.). Gitothua church is taken as a case study on the effects of leadership conflicts in the A.I.P.C.A. Several factors were identified as behind the conflicts in the Church. It was found out that the A.I.P.E.A. did not develop into an effective institution right from its inception. The Church has continued to be run by the Elders, most of who are cultural nationalists. This has led to tensions between the Elders and the Clergymen of the Church. It was also gathered factor that militated against its unity. Contributory factors such as; ignorance of the Church constitution, cultural nationalism, leadership ambition among some members, political patronage, financial constraints and lack of education and training of ministers, revolved around an ineffective institutionalization of the Church. Oral interviews were conducted among the rival leaders and members of the A.I.P.C.A. Questionnaires were also administered to identified members of the clergy and laity. Archival material on the Church was scrutinized in order to investigate and establish, the possibility of leadership conflicts in the A.I.P.C.A., in its early history. Secondary materials were used; especially works on independent church movements and a theory on independency were derived from such works. The research findings have been presented in six chapters. The background to the problem is discussed in Chapter One. The foundation of the A.I.P.C.A. in 1929 and the reasons for independency in church and school among the Agikuyu are described. The most significant factor behind independency is identified as the clash between the Agikuyu culture on the one hand and the Western culture on the other. The A.I.P.C.A. was, therefore, founded in protest against the missionaries and their culture. The effects of the clash between the Agikuyu and western cultures led to the establishment of the A.I.P.C.A. Chapter Two discusses the growth and the development of the Church between 1929 and 1952. Leadership conflicts in the Church are traced to the early 1930s and 1950s. Through a study on the conflicts which took place in the late 1930s in the Church, it was established that the A.I.P.C.A. appealed to the colonial government for assistance in reconciling its leaders. It was thus concluded that from its inception, the Church has never had avenues for resolving conflicts. This was observed in 1977 and 1990, when the Church appealed to the independent government for assistance in reconciling rival factions. The role of Kikuyu Independent School Association (K.I.S.A.), in the Mau Mau movement that led to its prescription in 1952 is assessed. This involvement in the movement adversely affected the A.I.P.C.A. politically, socially and economically because most of its members and leaders were detained during the emergency period. On re-opening of the Church in 1964, the effects of the Mau Mau rebellion continued to be felt in the A.I.P.C.A. and contributed to the conflicts therein. In Chapter Three the emerging themes and adjustments after 1964 are explored. Stages leading to the re-opening of the Church are examined. It was observed that the Church was re-opened in an un-coordinated manner leading to disaffection among the leading ministers of the A.I.P.C.A. In this chapter, the ecclesiastical organization of the Church is described and its weaknesses identified. Factors that led to the formation of rival alliances are examined. A survey of the emergence of rival factions in the A.I.P.C.A. between 1970 and 1982 is given in Chapter Four. The causes of these schisms are enumerated. Weaknesses in the ecclesiastical organization of the Church facilitated its fragmentation into rival factions. The institution of the Chairman was identified as a crucial factor in the conflicts within the Church. A.I.P.C.A., Gitothua is examined as a case study in Chapter Five. Leadership conflicts in the church developed as an extension of the conflicts in the entire A.I.P.C.A. It was observed that differences in Gitothua would not have escalated to an uncontrollable level if the entire A.I.P.C.A. had been united as an institution. The conflicts in Gitothua, took on the same pattern as the leadership conflicts in the entire Church. Chapter Six summarizes the findings of the study. There have been efforts at reconciliation among the rival groups in the A.I.P.C.A. In spite of this some Elders have persistently defied the authority of the three archbishops and have formed yet another rival group. The chairman of Gitothua is among these elders although it was in his church that the reconciliation of the rival leaders began. In the study, the author concluded that unity in the A.I.P.C.A. cannot be totally realized in the lifetime of the original core of cultural nationalists in the Church.