Anglican priest in homosexual saga claims he was ‘fixed’
One of the three Anglican Church of Kenya priests accused of being homosexual has claimed that he was “fixed” by a rival for the bishop’s post.
While testifying before Employment and Labour court Judge Byram Ongaya on Wednesday, Archdeacon John Njogu Gachau revealed that he had vied for the position of Bishop during the church elections in 2014 but when Bishop Joseph Kagunda was elected in, he started seeing him as a threat.
Archdeacon Gachau claimed that after Bishop Kagunda rose to the position, he started seeing him as a rival and it is for that reason that fabrications were made regarding his sexual orientation so as to tarnish his reputation.
The Archdeacon emotionally narrated how he was called by Bishop Kagunda on August 20, 2015 and asked to attend a meeting that was scheduled the following day at the St Peters Cathedral Church in Nyeri.
“On arrival at 8 am, I noticed that all the other archdeacons were present. I was led to the meeting room where I was informed that the meeting had been called by a tribunal instituted by Bishop Kagunda regarding matters that involved me. I was then asked to wait outside,” he told the court.
“Later I was called in and the chairman of the tribunal informed me that there were allegations that a young man aged 21 years, by the name Edward Karanja Irungu, had reported that one night in December 2013 I shared a bed with him and we practiced homosexuality,” he further testified.
Archdeacon Gachau claimed the tribunal advised him to accept the allegations so as to bring the issue to an end there and that only the Bishop would be informed to make the final decision.
If he was to deny the allegations, investigations would continue with witnesses being called while he would not be allowed to call witnesses, the accused clergyman claims.
The tribunal then invited the young man who was told to narrate the events of the allegations.
Archdeacon Gachau testified that when he asked the young man why he waited until August 2015 to report the allegations, the tribunal stopped him. He was subsequently suspended and his preaching licence cancelled.
The two other priests, Reverend Paul Mwangi Warui and Reverend James Maina, also testified in court.
Both Reverends told the court that they were called as witnesses in the tribunal’s investigations into Archdeacon Gachau’s conduct on allegations of homosexuality.
“The tribunal told me that Rev Gachau I had been seen visiting me occasionally at my church and that we were suspected to be practicing homosexuality. I denied those allegations,” said Rev Warui
After the meeting they were later given warning letters cautioning them from talking to Archdeacon Gachau. They claim that they were later issued with suspension letters.
The said suspension letters indicated that they had been adversely mentioned on the matter and that the church tribunal had concluded that they were practicing homosexuality.
Through lawyers, Moraa Onsare and David Onsare, they told the court that the allegations have severely traumatized them and people now view them as outcasts. The case will be mentioned on June 10.