It is no news that the church is in a monetary relationship with politicians. The church has been witnessed to accept hefty cash donations from politicians without questioning the source of the money. This relationship has not only been monetary but has also been very transactional, where both parties are on the receiving end. The church offers the pulpit as a campaign and propaganda tool where politicians convey their manifestos and blast their counterparts to the congregants.

The politicians have been using the church to radicalize citizens, especially staunch believers, through political and religious ideologies. In the last couple of months, money, ethnicity and religion have taken centre stage in politics. Politicians are creating an image of fearful men of God willing to serve the people in accordance with the truthful word of God and the Rule of law. They perceive themselves as God-fearing by attending different church services every Sunday and donating money to indicate how generous they are and how they are of service to the people.

The use of biblical language to paint politics as God-driven and God-ordained is the new game. The appropriation of notions of God is also being used to cast the antagonists or the opposing parties as bloodthirsty devils full of darkness. Politicians have portrayed their tribulations as the work of evil forces (the opposition and civil society). They then hold prayer meetings, which are more of political rallies where they invite a few members of the clergy to lay hands on them and apply anointing oil on their faces to convey to the masses that they are the ordained leaders of God.

Though the mainstream churches have managed to keep politicians off their pulpits, some of the evangelical and Pentecostal churches are still in an unholy alliance of prosperity with the politicians and they see nothing wrong in this. The church is supposed to be a neutral denominator that seeks the truth, justice and reconciliation between conflicting parties. The church is also supposed to guide its congregants into electing proper leaders by helping them make independent decisions.

This unholy alliance is not only about money, it’s also about self-importance where some Bishops, prophets and pastors gain this virtue by meeting with elite political persons. Through these meetings, they attract a large following in their churches as they are seen as a symbol of power. The clergy perceive politics as a tool of influence and a means to financial, social and political power. In return, these leaders of the church will paint the “elite politician” as a humble and generous servant of God worthy of a powerful public office.

Acceptance of these donations by the church now questions the credibility of the church. The church should be fighting for social justice to ensure citizens across the nation are flourishing but some of them have chosen money, personal appeal, social power and a sense of self-importance.

Religious institutions and religious leaders are key elements and important forces within the civil society. Do you think the church will once again be independent and play its role?