Since 1902

Court fails to adopt agreement in defamation suit

The Nyeri High Court has once again failed to adopt an out-of-court agreement filed by a mediator in a case pitting a bishop and three priests accused of gayism.

Justice Abigail Mshila noted the agreement drafted by mediator Mulama Oundo of the court-annexed mediation programme was not signed by Bishop Joseph Kaunda of Mt Kenya West Diocese or his representatives.

The priests — Archdeacon John Gachau, James Maigua and Paul Warui, had sought apology and compensation, claiming Kagunda tainted their name for implicating them in homosexuality.

In the agreement, Kagunda was expected to marshal worshipers to accept back the clerics he had suspended three years ago on allegations of engaging in homosexuality.

The clerics were also to be accompanied to their posted parishes by the bishop either in person or through parish councils.

The two sides, however, differed on the amount of money the church would give the priests as facilitation fee for resettlement and on who would carry the costs of the suit.

The church proposed to offer each of the three the priest’s money equivalent to three months’ salary, while the priests demanded an amount equivalent of three years’ pay, the document indicates.

An earlier agreement was rejected by Justice Mshila in February who found that the document was not legally binding because it was not signed by the bishop or the church trustees.

The matter has been in court since 2015 when the three priests sued the bishop. The case will be mentioned on July 4.