In Summary
  • The cathedral’s proximity to Uhuru Park made it a natural place of refuge for protesters fleeing police brutality.
  • In May 1990, following the brutal demolition of Nairobi's Muoroto informal settlements, the Reverend Peter Njenga, provost of All Saints Cathedral, protested, drawing national attention to this abuse of the poor by the State.
  • In July 1997, security forces stormed the cathedral, physically abused and tear-gassed worshippers and activists.

When the history of Kenya’s democratisation is written, the Anglican All Saints Cathedral in the heart of Nairobi, which is now celebrating its centenary, will be part and parcel of that story. In 1963, Kenya got independence from British colonial rule.

A ‘second independence’ in the early 1990s was realised with the return of multiparty politics.

During the Kanu regime, there was limited scope for public discourse. The body politic was rent by surveillance, censorship, abductions, detentions without trial, and other forms of systematic torture by the police.

Clerical leadership at the cathedral provided a strategic platform for national discourse in the democratisation.
The cathedral’s proximity to Uhuru (freedom) Park made it a natural place of refuge for protesters fleeing police brutality. The engagement of clergymen took the form of sermons, publications, the stimulus of critical national debate and the provision of refuge for political activists.

As a member of the National Council of Churches of Kenya, the church was represented on the management boards of influential church-related publications as – Target and Beyond magazine.

FIRST INDIGENOUS PROVOST

In 1971, Henry Okullu, resigned from the position of Editor of Target and Lengo newspapers to become the first indigenous Kenyan provost of the All Saints Cathedral. His sermons were based on the Old Testament books of the prophets, challenging the vices of corruption, land grabbing and ethnic bias in employment and education and detention without trial.

In May 1990, following the brutal demolition of Muoroto informal settlements in Nairobi, the Reverend Peter Njenga, provost of All Saints Cathedral, protested, drawing national attention to this abuse of the poor by the State.

In March 1992, the Moi government forcibly dispersed a group of Kenyan women, who had gathered at Uhuru Park to agitate for the release of their sons, detained as political prisoners. The women regrouped and were offered sanctuary in the cathedral.

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