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Bad times as ‘fishers of men’ veer off rails, turn on their flock

By Counties Team | Updated Mon, February 24th 2014 at 00:00 GMT +3
Pastor caught pants down
                            Pastor caught pants down                    PHOTO: COURTESY

By The Counties Team

 Every year, news of Christian leaders who get caught up in scandalous cases dominate media outlets across the world.

 From the Vatican to Kenya, shepherds have gone against their calling and instead turned against the flock.

Last week, a 70-year-old pastor with an evangelical church collapsed and died in a woman’s (a member of his church) house in Nairobi’s Buruburu Estate in mysterious circumstances.

 According to the woman, the pastor had visited her for their usual ‘prayer session’. He later retired to her bedroom to rest before she discovered he had died.

“He has been coming for prayers in my house and apart from being my pastor, he is my friend and that is why he comes for prayer sessions,” she said.

This is coming hot on the heals of a widely televised drama at a hotel in Karatina, Nyeri County when a senior pastor with a church in Embu was caught pants down with the wife of one of his church members. When the pastor discovered that he had been nabbed, he stormed out of the hotel and drove away in his car.

Late last year, Kisumu residents were shocked by the arrest of a gay pastor who had booked into a hotel in Manyatta waiting for his lover. According to the man (only known as Walter) the pastor had been sending him love messages inviting him for sex.

Walter played along and after getting the room number and hotel location, he informed the police who accompanied him to the place.

In Murang’a County a pastor from one of the mainstream churches is said to convene a development meeting every three years where he reveals his intention to change the vehicle he is using on pretext of spending a lot of money on fuel and repairs.

 

12-year-old granddaughter

Last year, after a fundraiser, which was attended by politicians and a lot of money was raised, the clergy man shocked many after he went for a low-class vehicle.

“The man, after raising Sh800,000, went for a second-hand vehicle which was not worth the amount raised in the Harambee,” revealed one of the faithful.

Siaya County is awash with stories of priests and pastors turning against their flock.

In the most recent incident, a 53-year-old pastor was arrested for allegedly defiling his 12-year-old granddaughter at Lwala village, Central Alego location. The pastor of an apostolic church was arrested following complaints by his neighbours that he had persistently been having canal knowledge of the orphaned granddaughter.

Area village elder Paul Otemo, who led the officers to the home, said the pastor had been defiling the granddaughter and threatening her of dire consequences if she dared to report the issue to anybody. Otemo said the minor, a Standard Four pupil, decided to reveal the ordeal after she got fed up with the heinous acts of the pastor who up to the point of his arrest, was said to have defiled her at least eight times.

And in Nyadorera village, a 30-year-old pastor was arrested for allegedly cohabiting with a 15-year-old pupil as man and wife. The man, who was still in police custody by the time we went to press, is a pastor and an overseer in one of the big churches.

 The pastor who had been living with the minor for six months had said he was offering her intense prayers because she was possessed. According to the neighbours, the ‘man of God’ had been molesting the minor, cheating them that he stayed with her for prayers.

Some church members became suspicious after the fruits of the seed allegedly planted by the priest started showing, forcing Siaya OCPD Stephen Cheteka to warn guardians especially those living with orphans against such deeds.

Other than burn with passion, many priests have quit the Catholic celibacy to join other denominations that allow them to marry. Notable among those who ran away were Bishop Albert Odul of Evangelical Orthodox Church and Independent Catholic Charismatic Church of Kenya Bishop George Jamba. The bishop was accused of marrying a second wife contrary to the church’s teachings two months ago.

 

Impregnanted by pastor

Bishop Jamba was alleged to have married a second wife in August, a move that prompted his first wife, Monica Anyango to report the matter to the church. South Ugenya chief, Christopher Muliro who presided over the meeting in the church compound ordered the bishop to apologise for the misdeeds to the church. But the good bishop was adamant that he is the head of the church and that no Christian in the church should order a meeting to address disciplinary issues against him.

“I have appointed, in each of my stations, leaders or a priest in charge and these are my rightful representatives who would report to me any matter,” he said.

He said he had the authority to close the church and defrock Christians who did not abide by church regulations.

A recent incident involving a 13-year-old girl in Eldoret who was allegedly impregnated by a pastor after accepting to extend ‘generosity’ to the hunger-stricken family has outraged many.

It is claimed that the man of the robe started offering assistance to the poor family oblivious of the neighbour’s knowledge that his help was coming with a reward. To supplement the generosity of the pastor, the mother is alleged to have ordered the young daughter to lend a hand in washing his clothes and cleaning his room.

Though Kisii County is largely dominated by Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) and Catholic churches, many other denominations have sprung up. It is estimated that there are more than 20 different church denominations within Kisii town with a number operating in makeshift structures.

Excommunication

A source within the SDA indicates that a number of pastors have been struck off from their union and have started their own assemblies, hence the many cases of misbehavior among the clergy.

Late last year, a Catholic priest who was accused of raping a school girl three years ago appeared in a Kisii court with the charges.  Thomas Gori of Ng’enyi Catholic Church appeared before the Kisii resident magistrate Lucy Kaitani and was accused of defilement contrary to the Sexual Offences Act.

The priest, who allegedly performed the act at Ikuruma sub-location in Marani District within Kisii County, also faced an alternative charge of performing an indecent act contrary to the law.

Father Lawrence Nyaanga of the Kisii parish told The Counties that pastors and priests have lost the moral obligation and values in safeguarding the community.

“We need to remember that our God is a God of love and reasoning,” said Fr Nyaanga.

In Baringo, a bishop has been in hot soup after he was accused of impregnating a high school girl in the late 2000.

   The outspoken bishop who has since sued the girl and distanced himself from the claim, had been alleged to have a string of  sexual misdeamours contrary to Christian teachings. 

Archbishop of Kings Outreach Church, Dr Paul Onjoro, says pastors and church leaders should be morally upright because they are highly respected and trusted by their followers. 

Onjoro says it is surprising that instead of leaders addressing issues facing marriages that is causing divorce and separation, they are the ones found cheating with members of their congregation.


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