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Church-run school dogged by dispute over members' ouster

By Daniel Chege | January 8th 2020 at 07:15:00 GMT +0300

PCEA Rugongo Academy in Mau Narok ,Nakuru County on January 5,2020 Church was closed after drama ensued between two parties concerning the management of the Rugongo Academy the School that is owned by the Church. [Harun Wathari/Standard]

A row has broken out between members of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) located at Mwisho wa Lami in Mau Narok and their leaders.

The wrangling revolves around the management of PCEA Rugongo Academy.

Members accuse Julius Mbugua and church chairman James Hiyohu of replacing a board they appointed with another that allegedly comprises members who are close to the two officials.

There was drama at the church on Sunday when members opposed to Rev Mbugua and Mr Hiyohu locked the church. 

They declared that the church service would not be held until the two officials left.

The dispute spilled into the open when church members found that the school offices had new padlocks, which essentially locked out the original board members.

The school that has 300 pupils has been performing well and topped last year's Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examination in Mau Narok after recording a mean score of 306.

Members of the congregation with children in the school accused Mbugua and Hiyohu of trying to take away management of the school from the local church committee.

They insisted that the church must allow the members they had picked to continue serving on the board.

Current troubles

School chairman Ibrahim Kimondo also faulted the church leadership, saying it was the source of the current troubles.

But a splinter group supported the decision by Mbugua and Hiyohu to appoint a new committee. They said the ousted members had completed a three-year term and their tenure had been extended for another three years, which was against church regulations.

When The Standard reached Mbugua for comment, he downplayed the matter and insisted that the changes were normal because the committee had overstayed in office.

"I am really reluctant to comment on the issue about the school because there is no issue at all. I have nothing more to say," the reverend said before disconnecting the telephone call.

Hiyohu refuted the worshippers' claims that he was interfering with management of the school.

The chairman said all the decisions made by the church were legal and followed the church doctrine.

“The election of the officials was legal and those who oppose it are the ones who do not want to leave the office despite completing their terms,” said Hiyohu.

He added: "Some members are attempting to close down the church in a bid to cause drama over issues that could easily be resolved amicably within the confines of the church."

But the worshippers and elders opposed to the changes claimed that the pastor and the chairman were using illegal means to throw out the board members.

In a letter to the officials that was seen by The Standard, the worshippers want Hiyohu to resign from his post and leave the church for allegedly failing to unite members.

“He has divided the church into two warring groups instead of uniting Christians,” reads the letter.

Mbugua, on the other hand, is accused of changing the school board without consulting the directors and members.

The congregants want the leaders and their associates to steer clear of the school project and its management.

Presbyterian Church of East Africa PCEA Education
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