A Kenyan reverend of Redeemed Gospel Church International has sued a bishop and pastor from the same church, seeking a refund of all the monies that he spent to set up a church branch in Zambia.
Reverend John Mwiti has sued Bishop Stephan Kanyia who is general secretary of the governing council of the church and Pastor Oliver Stambuli, his assistant pastor, further seeking damages for failing to pay him his entitled salary for the passed six years.
He is also seeking an injunction restraining Bishop Kanyia and Pastor Stambuli, whether by themselves or by their agents from interfering into his church activities in Zambia.
In a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court principal registry, on July 22, Reverend Mwiti explained that he was a reverend, senior pastor and employee of the Redeemed Gospel Church International.
He added that he was currently carrying out gospel mission works in Zambia.
Reverend Mwiti stated that on July 1, 2013, Bishop Kanyia offered him a contract of employment to set up and oversee churches in Zambia.
“By the said contract Reverend Mwiti was mandated among other things, to plant churches in Zambia, oversee the running of Bishop Kanyia’s church, custodian of all church properties of Bishop Kanyia in Zambia, ensure that ministers maintain discipline within the church in Zambia, organise for ordination and consecration of church ministers and perform any other duties as may be agreed by the presiding bishop of the governing council of Redeemed Gospel Church International,” read the statement of claim.
Reverend Mwiti stated that it was a term of contract that Bishop Kanyia was to pay him K9,100 per month.
He, however, claimed that Bishop Kanyia had never fulfilled any of the contractual obligations, thereby causing untold suffering on him and his family.
Reverend Mwiti added that he had difficulties in providing basic needs for his family, sponsoring his children to school, paying utility bills and meeting other obligations.
He further claimed that from the date of the contract, he had efficiently and diligently worked with zeal and dedication, facts which were well within the defendant’s knowledge.
Reverend Mwiti stated that he had managed to register the church with the Registrar of Societies and successfully set it up in Zambia.
He also claimed that he built a church in Avondale using his own resources from well wishers without Bishop Kanyia’s help and also ordained and consecrated Stambuli as a pastor.
Reverend Mwiti, however, stated that he was recalled to Kenya this month.
“On July 9, this year, Bishop Kanyia purported to recall reverend Mwiti back to Kenya on advice by pastor Stambuli in a manner that would be interpreted as constructive dismissal without according him a right to be heard or subject him to the disciplinary procedures in an event of any indiscipline on his part as enshrined in the church’s code of conduct,” read the statement of claim.
He stated that Bishop Kanyia ordered him to hand over all church documents, preaching equipment, instruments and other church property.
Reverend Mwiti added that he was further ordered to vacate the church that he himself sweated to bring to the level that it Is today without Bishop Kanyia’s help.
He stated that Bishop Kanyia had breached the contract of employment and that his recall and dismissal was unlawful and against the laws of both Zambia and Kenya.
He is now claiming damages for breach of contract of employment for nonpayment of his entitled salary from 2013 to date, refund of all monies that he personally spent on setting up a church branch in Zambia and costs.