The Labour Court has issued a warrant of arrest against Bishop of Anglican Church Mt Kenya West Diocese Joseph Kagunda.
Justice Nzioki wa Makau directed the court to apprehend the bishop and present him in court for contempt.
“You are hereby commanded forthwith to apprehend Bishop Joseph Kagunda and bring him before this court to answer to the said charge and to be further dealt with according to law on July 12, 2018 at 9.00am,” the judge instructed the bailiff.
In the order signed by the deputy registrar of the Employment and Labour Relations Court, the judge also directed the bailiffs to apprehend the managing director of the Registered Trustees of the Anglican Church of Kenya for failing to appear in court on June 25, 2018.
Justice Makau issued the order following an application by three priests who were reinstated to their ministerial duties by the court after being suspended over their alleged engagement in homosexuality.
Reverend Paul Warui, Arch-deacon John Gachau and Reverend James Maigua, through lawyer David Onsare, indicated that the Church had disregarded court orders.
The lawyer told the court that on May 15, 2018, the church was fined Sh200,000 for disobeying a court order to reinstate and compensate the priests.
Justice Makau said that did not compensate the priests Sh6.8 million in accordance with the earlier directive issued by Justice Byram Ongaya on September 30, 2016.
Judge Ongaya made the orders after establishing that the homosexuality claims against the three priests were untrue and that they suffered ‘deep defamation in the eyes of the congregants and the public’.
“The respondents have exhibited their resolve to frustrate and take advantage of the clients who had no other avenue of recourse other than the court of law. They have refused to obey numerous court orders, therefore prolonging the psychological trauma suffered by the claimants,” said Mr Onsare.
He added that the church has withheld the fruits of the judgment to the detriment of the claimants and their families.
The lawyer said that the knowledge of the court orders cannot be disputed.
“The conduct of the respondents and its principal officers shows a systematic contemptuous attitude to the proceedings and orders of this court.
The culture of disobeying court orders has reached very high levels in Kenya and the courts must now exercise their constitutional authority of punishing people for contempt of court,” said Mr Onsare.
The three priests say that they are suffering, considering that their employment by the church is their main source of livelihood.