The head elder of the embattled Nairobi Central Seventh Day Adventist church has narrated how a demand for “tribal” representation sparked a bitter row.
The church squabbles pitting two pastors against elders were laid bare before the High Court even as Justice Pauline Nyamweya recused herself from the case because she is an Adventist.
Last Friday, Justice Nyamweya directed that the hearing commences on March 7 and be placed before Justice John Mativo.
Enock Kinara and other elders say pastors Jean Pierre Maiywa and Peter Nyaga sowed seeds of division when they faulted the composition of a nominating committee for being dominated by one tribe.
“On Thursday, the 11th October 2018, Pr JP Maiywa convened the special organising committee and communicated that he had received complaints from church members (whose names he did not disclose to the committee) to the effect that the proposed names for the nominating committee contained in the special organising committee’s report were skewed towards one tribe,” Dr Kinara said in court documents.
He added that the communication caught him by surprise, as he could not understand how the details of the report were circulated to church members yet it had not been made public.
“To the best of my knowledge, this was the first time in the church’s history that the tribal angle aspect had found its way to matters pertaining to the election and appointment of church officers,” he said.
In their affidavit, elders Humphrey Macharia and Gerald Ongoro say even though church appointments ought to reflect diversity of the congregation, the election and appointment of officers has never been based purely on tribe but rather on whether they are men, women or the youth.
But Pastor Maiywa has dismissed the accusations, saying the elders failed to exhaust internal dispute resolution mechanisms. He wants the case dismissed.
The squabbles were sparked late last year after the pastors and elders differed over the names of members to serve in the nomination committee that is mandated to pick officials who will lead the church this year.