Lawyers handling a defamation case on homosexuality, that involves three Nyeri County clerics, have disagreed on the appointment of a mediator to facilitate settlement of the case outside court.
The parties in the case are Anglican Church Bishop Joseph Kagunda of the Mt Kenya West Diocese, Reverends Paul Warui and James Maigua and Archdeacon John Gachau.
The reverends and archdeacon filed three separate defamation cases against Bishop Kagunda in 2015. The suits came after he suspended them for allegedly engaging in homosexuality.
Church chancellor Wachira Nderitu and lawyer David Onsare, for the complainants, could not agree on Tuesday on a mediator as advised by the High Court last week.
Justice Abigail Mshila gave the lawyers in the case a list of six accredited mediators in Nyeri - David Mwaure Waihiga, Lucy Waruguru Mwai, Charles Migwi, Lydiah Wambui Wakahu, Joakim Mulama Oundo and Rose Wanjiku Muturi.
The Bishop’s lawyer, Wambui Mwai, yesterday told the court that the church selected Mr Mwaure while the complainants wanted Ms Waruguru.
“We have not agreed on a common mediator from the list of six. We want the court to assist us in appointing a mediator from the remaining four since it seems parties can’t agree,” Ms Mwai told the judge.
She noted, however, that all the lawyers agreed that they will not attend the mediation sessions.
“The counsels have agreed that the mediation process should proceed without legal representation on any side. The parties will appear in person before the mediator,” she said.
Following the disagreement, the court picked Mr Mulama as the mediator and cautioned the lawyers in the case against interfering with the process.
The complainants filed the suits arguing that they suffered psychological trauma following their ex-communication from the church and the claims about their sexuality.
They were exonerated and reinstated by the Labour court, which also awarded them Sh6.8 million as compensation for their suspension.
Justice Mshila on Tuesday instructed that the three case files be consolidated to facilitate the mediation. She said the agreement that will be reached will later be filed in court.
The clerics want Bishop Kagunda compelled to apologise in writing, through the local dailies, and compensate them for defamation.
Justice Mshilla, however, observed the need for the parties to try settling their differences outside the court and directed that the case file be referred to the newly established mediation registry.