The leadership wrangles at the Methodist Church intensified on Monday after former Presiding Bishop Stephen Kanyaru supported calls for the removal of his successor, Bishop Joseph Ntombura.
In an interview with a local radio station in the morning, Bishop Kanyaru, who handed over the mantle to Bishop Ntombura in 2013, accused the latter of running down the church.
This comes after Bishop Ntombura, in a press conference in Nairobi on Saturday, laughed off the claims of wrangles, saying the rumours are being peddled by a section of former leaders out to destabilise the church.
Mr Ntombura accused a section of leaders of resorting to smear campaigns to destabilise his leadership.
Some clerics — including reverends Kobia Ataya, Misheck Kanake, Jeremiah Anondo, Jacob Gituma, Isaac Kaberia and Naftaly Mburugu — have been holding rallies calling for Mr Ntombura’s removal.
In the radio interview, Bishop Kanyaru said he handed over a healthy church but it’s now troubled due to bad leadership.
He said Mr Ntombura removed him from the church standing committee and board of trustees despite regulations providing that former presiding bishops should be members of the two bodies.
“The current presiding bishop has been dragged to court for unprocedural placement of church ministers, irregular amendment of church standing orders among other bad decisions.
“Despite the standing orders then requiring a presiding bishop to have a master’s degree, he never presented his academic papers. I apologise to the Methodist Church for the irregular election of Bishop Ntombura as the presiding bishop,” Bishop Kanyaru said.
He admitted that the regulations on election of the church head were overlooked in 2013 when Bishop Ntombura took over.
In 2014, four members of the church moved to court seeking an order to have Bishop Ntombura removed from office on grounds that he had failed to disclose his academic qualifications.
Recently, Bishop Ntombura said he had presented his academic papers to the court when he was sued.
The group calling for his removal argue that the Bishop has run down institutions affiliated to the church, including Kenya Methodist University (KeMU), Maua Methodist Hospital and Methodist Resort.
“When the crisis began, I called him to offer advice but he did not listen to me…The writing is on the wall but it seems he cannot see,” Rev Kanake said.
On the financial troubles facing KeMU, Bishop Kanyaru — who was also the Chancellor and Board of Trustees chairman until 2013 — said he handed over a stable institution.
“When I left in 2013, KeMU had 10,500 students. The university had more than Sh900 million in serviceable loans. We had a healthy university,” Mr Kanyaru said.
But Mr Ntombura has blamed the financial woes on the previous management.