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Redeemed Gospel Church to retain name, rules court

It is not a happy Easter for a bishop after his court application to have a church name deregistered was thrown out.

Bishop Morris Mwarandu, head of the Lord’s Gathering Centre on Outering Road, an affiliate of the Redeemed Gospel Church Inc, was seeking court orders to compel the Registrar of Companies to cancel the certificate of Redeemed Gospel Church Inc.

Without permission

The bishop claimed some individuals, now directors of Redeemed Gospel Church Inc, without permission or knowledge of the Redeemed Gospel Church members, incorporated the Redeemed Gospel Church Inc and unlawfully appointed themselves as its directors.

This, he said, was contrary to the Societies Act, under which the Church was initially established.

Through his lawyer, Bishop Mwarandu argued that the use of the word “Inc” connotes that the Church was a profit-making concern.

High Court Judge David Majanja, however, said that Bishop Mwarandu had not shown that the church was incorporated under the Companies Act.

“The mere fact of the use of the word ‘Inc’ does not mean that the company is so incorporated,” said the judge.

He added that the bishop did not provide a certificate of incorporation issued under section 16 of the Companies Act to prove that the Church was incorporated as a company.

“The word “Inc” is merely part of the name of the Church. The Registrar proved that the Church was and is still registered as a society under the Societies Act,” Mr Justice Majanja said.

But the bishop was at liberty to conduct a search at the Companies registry to confirm whether the Church is incorporated as a company.

Bishop Mwarandu was seeking orders compelling the Registrar of Companies, Registrar of Societies and the Attorney General to make available the Constitution and particulars of Incorporation of  Redeemed Gospel Church Inc for public scrutiny.

“I find and hold that Bishop Mwarandu has not demonstrated that he applied for perusal of the Church constitutive documents, paid the requisite fee and that the application was rejected.

“In the circumstances, the orders he is seeking cannot be granted,” the judge concluded.

The court verdict is likely to restore peace in the troubled church which has been experiencing a prolonged tussle between Bishop Mwarandu and other officials.

No obligation

The founder of the church, Bishop Arthur Kitonga had earlier said that Bishop Mwarandu’s application needed to be dismissed on the grounds that a Society is an entity one joins voluntarily and he had no obligation to join Redeemed Gospel Church Inc.

“If he joined it and it did not meet his expectations, he has always been free to leave it,” said Dr Kitonga in his court papers, adding that freedom of Association and Religion was guaranteed by the Constitution.

Similar assertions were expanded by the Rev Kepha Omae, presiding bishop at Redeemed Gospel Church Inc who also accused Bishop Mwarandu of reacting only after his services were terminated.