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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

On-line version ISSN 2412-4265
Print version ISSN 1017-0499

Abstract

GATHOGO, Julius Mutugi. Ecclesiastical and political leaderships in one armpit: reconstructing the memory of Thomas Kalume (1925-75). Studia Hist. Ecc. [online]. 2015, vol.41, n.3, pp.92-110. ISSN 2412-4265.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2412-4265/2015/451.

As Kenya celebrated her 52nd independence day on 12 December 2015, the name of Thomas Johnson Kuto Kalume (1925-75) re-appeared as a great hero whom Kenyans have always wanted to forget. Indeed, he was a Kenyan politician and the first clergyman to be elected as a Member of Parliament (MP) in the history of the National Assembly. Rev. Kalume was a composer and co-producer of the Kenyan national anthem, which was recorded in English and Swahili in September 1963 and inaugurated by Kenya's founding President, Jomo Kenyatta, at Uhuru Gardens on 12 December 1963 during independence celebrations. Critically important is that Kalume is the second Anglican Kenyan to obtain a university degree in theology after John Mbiti. He was followed by Henry Okullu and David Gitari who emerged fourth. This article sets out to retrace Kalume's pedigree, theology, and philosophy, as he navigated through troubled waters in the young republic of Kenya. What led to his early death on 15 March 1975 after having served only one parliamentary term (1969-74)? What motivated him to first seek ecclesiastical leadership and later elective politics that drove him to Kenya's second parliament? How did he view the service to God and humanity? How did he juxtapose ecclesiastical and political leaderships without losing his gospel constituency? What lessons does Kalume have for the 21st century Africa, particularly with regard to keeping ecclesiastical and political leaderships in one armpit? Was Kalume's case rooted in African religious heritage; a phenomenon where there is no dichotomisation between the secular (politics) and the sacred (religion)? To this end, the article focuses mainly on the manner in which the memory of Kalume has been celebrated and/or reconstructed half a century after Kenya's independence. By use of expost facto design, a phenomenon where variables have already occurred and are not manipulated by the researcher, the article has endeavoured to retrieve Kalume's societal contribution largely through archival and oral sources.

Keywords : Church and politics; ecclesiastical leadership; political leadership; Thomas Kalume.

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