Rt. Rev. Joseph Maluki Mwongela is a son to Veronica Musangi and Maurice Mwongela Mbunzi, born on 7th April, 1968 in Kakumi village, Kitui. He is the second born in a family of eight children, three boys, and five girls. He went to Kakumi Primary School (1976- 1982) then proceeded to St. Matthias Mulumba Secondary School, Matinyani (1983-1986) and for Advanced Level to St. Charles Lwanga School, Kitui (1987-1988). He taught at Matinyani Township Secondary School for a short stint, then opted to join the seminary training for the priesthood instead of going to the university. In 1989, he joined the initial Spiritual formation at St. Mary’s Senior Seminary, Molo in Nakuru. He then enrolled for a BA in philosophy at St. Augustine’s Seminary in Bungoma (1990-1991) and later for a BA in theology at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary, Nairobi (1992-1995)
He was ordained to the order of diaconate on June 16, 1995. He was ordained as a priest on September 7, 1996, together with Fr. Charles Kitheka and Fr. John Kisolo by the late Archbishop Boniface Lele at, Our Lady of Africa Cathedral grounds in Kitui. He has worked as a deacon in Mutito and Migwani parishes, then as a priest in Nguni and Nguutani parishes as well as at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Mwingi, before he went to Nakuru to teach in the formation house for St. Patrick’s Missionaries (Kiltegans) from January 1999 – June 2001).
After the successful and fruitful duty in Nakuru, he was appointed the Diocesan Executive Secretary as well as the Vocations Director (October 2001-July 2003) by the then Bishop Boniface Lele. In July 2003, he was awarded a scholarship by the St. Patrick’s Missionaries. He thus proceeded for post-graduate studies in Rome, Italy, where he was awarded a Licentiate from the Pontifical Gregorian University (2003- 2005) and a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas – Angelicum (Nov. 2005- April 2008). Upon his return from Italy, he was appointed as chaplain at the Mater Hospital, Nairobi, and later a parish priest in Muthale parish where he worked from August 2008 to January 2014. He was then transferred to Our Lady of Africa Cathedral, Boma parish, as well as being the director of the John Paul II Institute of Professional Studies.
After a short time, he was appointed as a Vicar General, a position he held until his appointment as the fourth bishop of Kitui by Pope Francis on the Feast of St. Patrick, March 17, 2020, and installed on 29th August 2020 as the fourth Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Kitui. He has proficiency in Spanish, French, and Latin. He has traveled across the world in many countries including the USA, Italy, Ireland, England, Germany, Israel, and several African countries.
His hobbies include avid reading, swimming, and listening to music