Deputy President William Ruto and AU High Representative for Infrastructure Development Raila Odinga have attended the installation of the new Archbishop of Kisumu Catholic Metropolitan Diocese.
Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula, governors Anyang Nyong’o (Kisumu), Cornel Rasanga (Siaya), Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma) and Cyprian Awiti (Homa Bay) were also present.
Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth has retired after being in charge since May 21, 1990.
Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops chairman Philip Anyolo takes over.
Anyolo was previously the bishop of Homa Bay diocese.
He led his last mass on Friday for Homa Bay priests, sisters, brothers and layleaders.
Kisumu county police commander Job Boronjo assured maximum security during the Saturday ceremony at Uzima University.
Many Catholic faithful attended the event.
On Friday, Anyolo’s procession left for Kisumu at 11am.
At Kobuya/ Nyakwere – the border of Kisumu and Homa Bay dioceses – he was officially handed over to the Kisumu priests and faithful.
The new archbishop made brief stopovers at Katito, Ahero, Withur, Buoye and Nyamasaria en route to St Theresa’s Catholic Cathedral, Kibuye, where he recieved a warm welcome.
Kisumu Vicar General father Moses Omollo introduced and unveiled Anyolo officially to faithful.
He was then driven to the bishop’s residence, ahead of his installation today.
Anyolo was born on May 18, 1956, in Tongaren, Bungoma.
He was ordained priest for the Catholic Diocese of Eldoret in 1983.
Pope John Paul II appointed him as Kericho bishop on December 6, 1995, and he was consecrated as bishop of Kericho on February 3 the following year.
On February 20, 2002, the Pope appointed him as Homa Bay apostolic administrator after Rt Rev Linus Okok Okwach resigned.
Anyolo was appointed Homa bay bishop on March 22, 2003, and installed as bishop on May 23 the same year.
He was elected KCCB chairman in October 2013, and is currently serving his second term.
He has also served as the KCCB vice chairman.
Archbishop Okoth, 76, leaves a legacy that has been praised by many who have cited gains made as a result of his management approach, save for a few dissidents.
He was ordained priest of Kisumu in 1968 and rose through the ranks to become bishop in February 1978.
Okoth was ordained bishop in April the same year.
Twelve years later, he was appointed archbishop of the greater Kisumu Diocese, overseeing Catholic missions in Nyanza region.
His exit is likely to usher in fresh conversation on how the diocese has been run for the nearly 30 years he has been at the helm.
Under his influence, the Archdiocese made strides in education, health, environment and hospitality.
Okoth’s legacy will be felt largely in education, having initiated projects in dozens of schools — some named after him.