Nyeri court reinstates priests sacked over gay claims
Posted by African Press International on September 9, 2016
FAITH NYAMAI -1 | Ijumaa, Septemba 9, 2016. Nation news Kenya.
The Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nyeri on Friday ordered the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) to pay a total of Sh6.8 million compensation to three priests it suspended last year on allegations that they are homosexuals.
Justice Byram Ongaya found their dismissal by the church unfair and ordered they be reinstated.
The three priests, the Archdeacon John Njogu Gachau, Rev James Maina Maigua and Rev Paul Mwangi Warui were ordered to report to the Mt Kenya West Diocese Bishop Joseph Kagunda by October 1 for redeployment.
Mr Ongaya said the decision by the church to suspend the three priests from pastoral work without evidence of the alleged homosexual practice was unconstitutional.
“The suspension amounted to degradation and the church did not give them any right of legal representation during the church tribunal hearing,” he said.
He said the court has considered how the issue of homosexual practice is viewed in Kenya and such allegations must have caused a lot of psychological trauma to the three priests.
“The three priests must have looked for a place to hide because of the kind of injury they have suffered” he said.
Justice Ongaya awarded each of them Sh2 million compensation.
He also ordered the church to pay them all their accrued salary from August 2015 when they were sacked.
Archbishop Gachau will be paid Sh2, 437,780 million, Rev Maigua will be paid Sh2, 224,996 while Rev Warui will be paid Sh2, 219,814 million.
Justice Ongaya ordered the church to pay the money by December 1 this year.
The judge said the church did also not take any actions or institute criminal charges against the three priests.
“An employer lacks power to find criminal liabilities of an employee. The homosexual crime was not established in this court and that notwithstanding there is no evidence of the homosexual allegations,” he said.
The three priests had sued the ACK church Trustees for suspending them from pastoral hood and for withdrawing their preaching licenses without adhering to the provisions of the ACK church constitution.
African Press International, (API)