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Worshipers throw out court-restored clerics

By Nderitu Gichure | Jul 16th 2018 | 2 min read
A section of worshippers at St Paul's Kariki A.C.K. Church in Othaya blocked the Archdeacon John Njogu from accessing the church. (Kibata Kihu, Standard)

Three Anglican priests reinstated through a court order met a hostile reception from worshippers at their new churches in Othaya, Nyeri County, on Saturday.

Archdeacon John Njogu Gachau, James Maigua and Paul Warui were suspended by Bishop Joseph Kagunda of the Anglican Church of Kenya Mt Kenya West over allegations of homosexuality.

Protesters, mainly women, blocked the priests from getting into the churches when they went to report.

Warui had been posted to St Stephen's Thunguri Parish while Gachau was to report to Kariki Parish. Maigua had been deployed to Witima Parish.

At ACK Witima church, Maigua was received by Rev Joshua Kiiru, who handed him the church offices keys.

However, after getting wind of Maigua's new assignment to their church, parishioners blocked the church entrance.

Maigua claimed he had to escape on a motorbike after believers threatened to attack him. He said worshippers accused him of tarnishing the church’s reputation by going to court to have his suspension overturned.

The demonstrators, who were carrying placards, said Maigua was unwelcome and demanded that he leaves the church premises.

Gachau was subjected to the same treatment at ACK Kariki Parish, where worshippers said they would not accept an outsider.

“Canon Edwin Mbiiri has developed the church to what it is now. We do not want him moved,” a worshipper, James Maina, said.

Gachau said he was disappointed by the manner the churchgoers had handled the matter.

"I will go to the bishop and tell him I have been rejected and ask him to deploy me to another parish. I did nothing wrong and I hope one day these people will know the truth," said Gachau.

The same fate awaited Warui at ACK Thunguri after Rev Harrison Wachanga handed the church to him.

None of the priests attended a church service yesterday.

The church reinstated them in compliance with a court order dated October 30, 2016, by Justice Byram Ongaya, who found that the church had suspended them without evidence linking them to homosexuality.

Justice Ongaya ordered that they be reinstated and paid Sh6.8 million for wrongful dismissal.


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