Kenya church must reinstate 3 allegedly gay priests

The Rev. James Maina Maigua, Archdeacon John Njogu Gachau, and the Rev. Paul Mwangi Warui at Nyeri Law Courts in Kenya (Faith Nyamai photo courtesy of The Nation)
The Rev. James Maina Maigua, Archdeacon John Njogu Gachau, and the Rev. Paul Mwangi Warui at Nyeri Law Courts in Kenya in 2016. (Faith Nyamai photo courtesy of The Nation)

A Kenyan appeals court last week ordered the anti-gay Anglican Church of Kenya to rehire three priests it fired in 2015 for alleged homosexuality and pay them about U.S. $68,000 in back pay.

The court ruled that the church acted unlawfully when it suspended the three priests without evidence. Another two priests who were also fired did not challenge the church in court.

The Rt. Rev. Joseph Kagunda, bishop of the diocese of Mount Kenya West,  announced the suspensions in September 2015 after the five priests were found guilty by a 10-person tribunal. The priests would not be allowed to serve in any Anglican Church in the country, he said.

“Anyone who feels that homosexuals and gay marriages should be allowed in Church should find a different denomination,” he told the Daily Nation.

An archdeacon, Gachau was second in command in the diocese after Bishop Kagunda. He led the St. Andrew Anglican Church Kagongo Parish in Othaya, Nyeri County. Gachau had unsuccessfully sought election to the position of diocesan bishop in 2004.

After Gachau’s ouster, parishioners at his parish church walked out in protest against the bishop’s action.

Lawyers for the priests said the church’s hearing that led to their termination “was a farce … calculated at validating a preconceived verdict.”

The priests said they were not made aware of the charges when they were called to the tribunal in 2015.

The Kenyan newspaper The Nation reported last week:

ACK to reinstate priests in gay case after losing appeal

Bishop Joseph Kagunda of the Anglican Church of Kenya announces on Sept. 11, 2015, the suspension of five priests accused of homosexual activity. (Photo courtesy of Nairobi News)
Bishop Joseph Kagunda of the Anglican Church of Kenya announced on Sept. 11, 2015, that he had suspended priests accused of homosexuality. (Photo courtesy of Nairobi News)

August 4, 2017 — The Anglican Church will still have to reinstate three priests sacked over alleged homosexuality and pay them Sh6.8 million [U.S. $68,000] after the Court of Appeal dismissed its application to stop the execution of the orders by a lower court.

Justice Philip Waki, Justice Roselyne Nambuye and Justice Patrick Kiage threw out an application by the Registered Trustees of the Anglican Church of Kenya that sought an order to halt the enforcement of a judgment by the Employment Court in Nyeri.


Judge Byram Ongaya of the Employment Court had, on September 2016, directed the church to reinstate Archdeacon John Njogu Gachau, Rev James Maina Maigua and Rev Paul Mwangi Warui so that they could perform their pastoral duties.

The court found that it was unlawful for the church to suspend the three priests from pastoral work without evidence that they were homosexuals.


Justice Ongaya also ordered the church to pay the priests all their accrued salaries from August 2015, when they were sacked.

Archdeacon Gachau was awarded [U.S. $24,378], Rev Maigua [U.S. $22,500]  and Rev Warui [U.S. $22,198] …

The church, through lawyer Syphurine Nyongesa Mayende, said the amount awarded to the three priests — Sh2 million each — following the termination of their employment was excessive and without legal basis.


Mr Mayende argued that the judges erred by failing to consider the circumstances under which the sackings occurred and the practicability of the reinstatement.

He told the court that the priests held sensitive positions in the church and the accusations of homosexuality levelled against them, which led to the termination of their employment, were read before the congregations where they served as priests. …

In their ruling, the Court of Appeal judges said the argument that the priests’ resumption of their pastoral duties had become untenable was falsified.

For more information, read the full Nation article, “ACK to reinstate priests in gay case after losing appeal.”

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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