Blow to senior church officials as court declines to withdraw petition

Senior church officials of the Pentecostal Assemblies of God have suffered a blow after a court declined to issue orders withdrawing a petition challenging the governance of the church.

Kakamega High Court judge William Musyoka said the matter is of great public interest and cannot be wished away without some finality.

Justice Musyoka said there was a pending application of contempt against the church’s General Superintendent Patrick Lihanda, who could be put in civil jail for six months for violating a court order restraining any elections before the matter is heard and determined.

Reverends Tom Olendo, John Juma and Simon Alovi filed a notice to withdraw the petition filed in September 2018, saying they no longer wished to pursue the case.

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They wanted church elections halted, saying some clauses of the church’s constitution enacted in 1998 were outdated and inconsistent with the Kenya Constitution.

Biased constitution

They argued that the church’s constitution was biased and discriminatory as it barred women and the youth from contesting various administrative posts like the general superintendent, general secretary and the general treasurer.

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The court on December 5 last year issued a temporary injunction restraining the church elections council from organising the polls until the suit was heard and determined.

They had sued Lihanda and church administrator Patrick Oyondi while the church Secretary-General Zedekiah Orera, registered trustees and the church council were listed as interested parties.

But the court was told Lihanda organised over 2,000 delegates at the church headquarters in Nyang’ori, Vihiga County, and conducted elections on the morning of March 3.  

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Pentecostal Assemblies of GodKakamega High Court judge William Musyoka