Archbishop Gitari’s Last Book

By Bellah Zulu, ACNS

The voice of an outspoken former Anglican primate who died in September of last year will continue to be heard by generations thanks to the publication of his autobiography.

Troubled But Not Destroyed was launched on October 16 in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi in what one of the participants called “a fantastic, absolutely challenging and great event.”

Archbishop David Gitari wrote the book during a 10-year period based on his personal daily observations and interactions “so that future biographers could use it as an important resource in their research about my life,” as well as a “true record of his life and ministry.”

In a short review, Archbishop of York John Sentamu writes that the book is a “call to integrity, courage, and passion lived out in an uncompromising proclamation of the Gospel.”

The autobiography addresses many other components of his life and the politics of Kenya. An excerpt from the book shows how the former archbishop criticized former Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and his government for violence that erupted after the 2007 elections.

“I had assumed Kibaki would do everything possible to keep the National Rainbow Coalition together. This was one of the many reasons which made the 2007 election end up in violence that left at least 1,300 people dead and more than 3,000 others are refugees in their own country,” he says.

Abp. Gitari admits also how Kenyan Christians at the time “were so divided that their prophetic voice could not be heard.”

One Kenyan book reviewer was amazed by the archbishop’s “vivid narrations of encounters with Kenyan leaders” over the years, and recounted a chapter in which Gitari recollected a “brush encounter with the late Kenyan President Jomo Kenyatta’s government that ushered him into the national limelight.”

Some have questioned the authenticity of the autobiography, but the person entrusted with publishing it, the Rev. Canon Chris Sugden, tried to set the record straight.

“This is his story, not a cleaned-up or edited version,” he said. “If you want to know exactly what Archbishop Gitari thought had happened and what he held dearly in life, it is here in his own words — no one else’s, and posterity will hear his voice.”

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