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Court dismisses case on SDA church polls outcome

By Fred Makana | September 30th 2015 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

NAIROBI: The High Court has dismissed a case in which two Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) members wanted newly-elected officials barred from running the affairs of the church.

Justice Roselyn Aburili said the application was not properly before the court despite the court's jurisdiction to intervene in situations where church members disagree on election of church officials.

Justice Aburili lifted temporary orders in which the court had barred the new office bearers from running the affairs of the church, noting that the applicants had failed to disclose the prejudice they were likely to suffer once the officials assumed office.

"I find convenience tilts in favour of church officials as the applicants made an ambiguous claim yet internal dispute resolution mechanisms that guide church elections are provided for in the church manual and working documents. This court finds no merit in the case and therefore the application is dismissed," she ruled.

While dismissing the application by Geoffrey Asanyo and Charles Maranga, Aburili ruled that the ex-officials who were defeated in the just-concluded elections had not expressed any dissatisfaction of the outcome of the polls as claimed by the two.

PROMOTING RECONCILIATION

"In the spirit of promoting reconciliation I urge church members to foster unity as such disputes can cause disharmony. It is prudent to explore conciliation process before resorting to civil litigation since church wrangles can cause disunity in situations where internal dispute resolution mechanisms are non-existent," she said.

Mr Asanyo and Mr Maranga, through lawyer Mose Nyambega, had alleged that the church elections held on September 6 and 7 at Karura SDA School in Nairobi were marred by irregularities, contrary to the law as envisaged in the Societies Act.

The two had asked the court to issue temporary orders barring the new office bearers from transacting, managing and/or running the affairs of SDA church until the suit challenging their election was heard and determined.

However, the SDA church raised a preliminary objection saying the application had failed to disclose any actionable wrong doing or infringed legal right capable of a fair adjudication by the court. Church lawyer Japheth Rachuonyo said the petition was an abuse of the court process.


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