Church fights order to pay priests Sh6.8m in gay case
The Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) has asked the labour court to stop the implementation of an order requiring it to pay Sh6.8 million to three priests it accused of engaging in homosexuality.
Through lawyer Wachira Nderitu, the church wants the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nyeri to suspend the execution of its decree of an award for damages, dating back to September 9, 2016, pending the hearing and determination of its application.
The lawyer filed a constitutional application, arguing that the church was denied a right of reply before the decree in respect of the three Mt Kenya West Diocese pastors.
Pastors Paul Warui, John Gachau and James Maigua were awarded the millions for defamation after being accused of engaging in homosexuality.
Justice Byram Ongaya also directed the church to reinstate the three so that they could perform their pastoral duties.
Mr Nderitu applied to have Mt Kenya West Diocese’s Bishop Joseph Kagunda and the Church Commissioners for Kenya (CCK) named as respondents in the suit.
He said if any claim is to be executed and complied with, then it could only be by the sitting diocese bishop and the CCK, and not the ACK trustees, as indicated by the petitioners.
The counsel said the petitioners, on realising that they could not make any claim against the CCK, given that it was a supervisory board with no share capital in the church, they amended their claims, directing them to the registered ACK trustees.
He criticised the court for making findings that the CCK was the same as the registered trustees, adding that the claim could not hold.
The lawyer wants the bishop to be enjoined in the matter so that he can demonstrate to the court that the claimants cannot maintain any case in the current circumstances.
The matter will come up for mentioning on October 19, when the court will give a ruling on whether to enjoin the two parties in the suit.
The claimants have also filed a criminal offences case against the church for defamation at the High Court, and the hearing is set for December 8.
They argue that they have suffered loss of reputation and integrity among the congregants and the public.