Storm as Pastor is accused of sex abuse
Photo/FILE A letter of suspension the senior pastor reads, “The apostolic church has found it wise to suspend you both as the sub-region overseer and pastor from 5th October until further notice and in the meantime, the church will be under the deacon under the supervision of Central region and the church headquarters”.
By ERIC WAINAINA, Daily Nation, posted October 14, 2011
NAIROBI, Kenya_ A leadership row in a church that wants to suspend a senior pastor for alleged sexual harassment of members has gone to court.
Retired bishop Arthur Kitonga, founder of the Redeemed Gospel Churches of Kenya (RGC), wants the Rev Peter Gachara, an overseer of the church in Kiambu, to stop dealing with any operations.
Bishop Kitonga says several immorality complaints against the pastor have reached him.
A civil suit has been filed in a Kiambu court after the Rev Gachara, who heads Furaha Worship Centre and is also the overseer of RGC in Kiambu failed to comply with a letter of suspension last week.
Bishop Kitonga wrote: “We have received numerous complaints from various sources touching on sexual immorality in your conduct. This has damaged the church’s reputation and yourself as minister of the gospel.
Due process of law
“The apostolic church has found it wise to suspend you both as the sub-region overseer and pastor from 5th October until further notice and in the meantime, the church will be under the deacon under the supervision of Central region and the church headquarters”.
He continues: “You are advised to desist from inciting the church congregation against the apostolic decision and failure to adhere to the above leaves us with no alternative but to follow the necessary due process of the law.”
In the letter, the retired bishop says on June 28, this year, the church had written to the plaintiff, requiring him to proceed on compulsory leave but he declined to comply.
The pastor has, however, denied the allegations, saying they are baseless. He further says the move to suspend him is a plot by the defendant (the bishop) to control the church finances.
In his sworn affidavit, the Rev Gachara acknowledges receiving the suspension letter on October 6 and says the accusations are meant to tarnish his reputation and damage the church.
“I personally started the Kiambu church in which I have nurtured for six years and I have brought many members of the flock and properties.
“By bringing other people to run the church, the defendant wants to control the church finances and I am apprehensive that the members of the church will start scuttling,” he says.
Through lawyer Kimono Choragus, the pastor says the suspension by the defendant is illegal because he did not take time to investigate and give him the opportunity to explain or defend himself as justice demands.
He also says the complainants have not been named and that he has not been given the chance to face them.
An independent body has not heard and decided on the matter, he says. The sources of the allegations are unknown to me, he adds.
With the suspension, the plaintiff says he will suffer irreparable loss and damage and the flock at Furaha Centre, which he has worked hard to unite, will scatter.
The Rev Gachara wants the court to revoke the suspension and also bar the defendant from taking over the church operations until the case is heard and determined.
Kiambu principal magistrate Dolphine Okundi ordered the application to be heard urgently. She restrained the defendant from taking over the church until the inter parte hearing from October 19.
The Rev Gachara, who is married with three children, was ordained an overseer of the Redeemed Gospel Churches of Kenya in Kiambu in 2009 by Bishop Kitonga.
Source: Daily Nation
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