The Diocese of Malindi was created on the 2nd June 2000. It was constituted from northern part of Archdiocese of Mombasa and southern part of Garissa Diocese. The first Bishop of the Diocese was Rt. Rev. Francis Baldacchino, OFM Cap a Maltese Capuchin Missionary, who was consecrated on 2nd September 2000. The second Bishop, Rt. Rev. Emanuel Barbara, OFM Cap, was consecrated on 1st October 2011. Rev Fr Albert served as Diocesan administrator from January, 2018 to the time the new Bishop was installed. Rt. Rev. Willybard Kitogho Lagho was consecrated on the 19th of March 2021 as the third Bishop of the Diocese.
Geographically, Malindi Diocese covers parts of Kilifi and Tana River Counties and the whole of Lamu County. These areas are Kilifi (part Kilifi North Sub County, Malindi and Magarini Sub Counties), Tana River County- (Tana Delta Sub County) and Lamu County- (Lamu East and Lamu West Sub Counties). The Diocese covers an area of about 33,254 square kilometres with a population of over 964,329 (478,865 male, 485,455 female) using Volume IV KPHC 2019.
Malindi diocese strides the Indian Ocean coastline and stretches along three counties. It experiences calm most of the year round. However there are times marked by episodes of political instability. Apart from the threats from terrorists and criminal gangs and their sympathizers, Kilifi, Tana River and Lamu additionally face politically instigated tribal clashes between various indigenous groups, and resource based conflicts among pastoralists and agriculturists. Fear and animosity among neighboring communities still poses security risk in pockets of the diocese. High rates of illiteracy, school drop outs and early marriages affect the youth leading some of them to be unemployed thus prone to easily being recruited into criminal gangs. The government has initiated programs like KYEOP (Kenya Youth Employability Opportunities Project) to help youths develop employability skills. Reforms in the security sector promise good dividends however more needs to be done in encouraging sharing of information and quick reporting of any breach of security.
Malindi and its environs are renowned tourist attraction centers locally and globally. Proximity to the national parks is an added resource that ensures visitors stream in the area. It hosts many tourists and the Italian community is a major player in the economy of the area. Tourism in the region was seriously affected by terror attacks experienced in the East African region and locally too. Hence the region experienced low arrivals and therefore shut down of some establishments and in others scaling down of tourist activities. Coupled with COVID-19 pandemic, business shut downs and curtail on movement and working hours in the entertainment industry, the year 2020 has been the most difficult in Malindi.
The attendant effects of this have been mass redundancies in the hospitality industry and related services like entertainment, transport and agriculture produce for the same market. Other effects will be compromised gains made in transport and agriculture production.
The diocese hosts in its urban areas a very diverse population coming from all corners of the country and beyond. Urbanization is growing in the region. However the same cannot be said about rural areas in the diocese. The impact of political instability, coupled with down turn in economic affairs of our people and bringing in technological and digital advances in communication has brought about changes in social circles in the diocese. This affects uptake of catholic faith and its traditions against other persuasions.
Radicalization and religious intolerance have been experienced in the region. Crisis in families and challenges among parents in child safe-guarding are evident especially in urban areas. Our region has experienced killing of the elderly, both positive and negative effects of tourism. Still, in the midst of all this the diocese enjoys wide acceptance among peoples in the region and this creates a firm ground to intervene in the social context.