PAG official asks for fresh mediation talks

Leadership wrangles in the Pentecostal Assemblies of God (PAG) church seem far from over in the wake of claims that a mediation process was stage-managed.

The church's secretary general, Zedekiah Orera, in a judicial review through lawyer Zablon Mokua, on Tuesday asked the court to declare as illegal a mediation process said to have been conducted on January 16.

Rev Orera has sued Carolyne Kadenge Opanga, saying she was a stranger to the litigation and was not validly appointed to mediate between the warring parties.

He accused Ms Opanga of organising the mediation process in secrecy and in the absence of key parties in the petition.

On December 5 last year, the court consolidated multiple petitions into one and ordered all the parties to seek an amicable solution. The court further suspended church elections, which were due on December 6, until the matter was heard and determined.

Senior pastors had protested that the church's constitution, which was enacted in 1998, was no longer tenable because some clauses were "repugnant and inconsistent with the Kenyan Constitution".

The petitioners said that the constitution discriminated against women and the youth by locking them out of competing for key positions in the church, namely, the general superintendent, general secretary and the general treasurer.

Mediation agreement

Through lawyer Aggrey Musiega, the general superintendent, who had been sued by the petitioners, asked the court to adopt the mediation agreement, saying that majority of the church members were in agreement with its findings.

The parties that attended the mediation meetings had resolved to change some of the clauses that the petitioners argued were inconsistent and outdated.

But Orera said the society had over one million people and called for a fresh mediation process where all the parties could reach a compromise.

“To our utter shock and disbelief, it has come to our attention that a mediator, Carolyne Kadenge Opanga, a stranger to these proceedings, allegedly took over the matter as mediator with other purported petitioners and signed a statement of understanding; mediation settlement report,” read the court documents.

Orera asked the court to issue orders for fresh mediation and for the Deputy Registrar of the High Court to constitute a mediation team.

“The aforesaid mediation was conducted in secrecy and the persons are in the process of filing the purported agreement for adoption without involvement of 505 other parties in the petition. We pray that this court secures our fundamental freedoms to fair trial and hearing as well as right to access justice,” he said.

Judge Jesse Njagi ordered Orera to serve all the parties with the documents within seven days. The parties must, in turn, file responses within 14 days. The application will be heard on March 7.

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Leadership wranglesPAGZablon MokuaCarolyne Kadenge OpangaRev OreraMediation talks