I didn’t help sack clerics, church head tells court

Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) Mt Kenya West Diocese head Bishop Joseph Kagunda yesterday denied being part of a tribunal that suspended three preachers over allegations of engaging in homosexuality.

Testifying before Nyeri High Court in a case where one of the plaintiffs, Rev John Gachau, has sued him for defamation, Kagunda said he had no hand in the decision that was made by the tribunal recommending Gachau’s suspension from priestly duties.

Kagunda told Justice Abigail Mshila that his role was to execute recommendations of the disciplinary tribunal he constituted to investigate the allegations. “Mine was just to communicate its findings and sentencing,” he said.

He was at pains to justify the legitimacy of the tribunal as the plaintiff, through lawyer David Onsare, said he had no power to constitute one. Onsare said the bishop overstepped his mandate by appointing Wilfred Gichuki and other members to the diocesan tribunal, adding that it was the role of Vicar General as per the church constitution.

Kagunda, in response, said he constituted the tribunal because the Vicar General was off duty as he was indisposed. Onsare further accused the bishop, the first respondent, of acting on the tribunal findings and executing judgment without giving the plaintiff time to appeal.

The accusations against the pastor and two others were first highlighted at a press briefing on September 10, 2015 when the bishop announced their suspension. Hearing of the case will continue on April 18.

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