Three Kenyan priests in gay scandal sue Anglican church
Three priests suspended over homosexuality accusations have sued the Anglican Church of Kenya trustees.
The reverends John Njogu Gachau, Paul Mwangi Warui and James Maina accused the trustees of not adhering to the church’s constitution and the rules of natural justice when they took action against them.
They had earlier sued the church commissioners for defamation and wrongful termination of employment, but the suit was amended when the commissioners said they did not employ the clergy.
The pastors are represented by Wonge Maina and Onsare partners law firm.
They argued that the Mt Kenya West Diocese disciplinary committee did not follow the right procedure when suspending them.
“The tribunal failed to appreciate the principle of natural justice. The hearing was a farce and calculated at validating a preconceived verdict against us,” they said in their suit papers.
The three added that the process was engineered to terminate their contract with the church as it was improperly constituted.
The priests said they were not made aware of the charges when they were called to the tribunal.
They also faulted the tribunal for not putting in writing the accusations made against them or making copies of the proceedings as provided in the church’s constitution.
“The tribunal failed to provide a copy of the findings as stated by us and it imposed a sentence that is not in the ACK constitution,” they said.
However, the trust, through Ochieng, Onyango, Kibe and Ohaga advocates also denied being the employer of priests ,and the clergy in general.
The trust said it was only a company limited by guarantee and without a share capital.
“This is a trust that only holds funds for ACK and it is purely an investment arm of the church that is run by a board of governors,” the trustees told the court.
The trust also said it was a stranger to the claims made by the three priests as it did not ordain, appoint or transfer clergy of the ACK.
“We do not contract employees or members of staff of the church,” said the trustees.
The trust added that it did not have the mandate to conduct disciplinary hearings with respect to the staff or clergy or in any way involve itself in administration of employees.
It maintained that it was restricted to the administration of church property and did not regulate the substantive affairs of any dioceses within Kenya with respect to the church constitution.
The trust’s lawyers said they would apply for the striking out of the suit at an appropriate time “as we are not party to the claims by the three suspended priests”.
The case will be mentioned Tuesday.