Kenyans react to pastor who refused to officiate nuptials
The cancellation of a wedding in Nakuru by a preacher after the couple 'failed to meet standards' has outraged Kenyans.
Social media users, who are not known for pulling punches, yesterday fired salvos at Apostle Jesse Karanja with some saying that he should be sued for damages estimated at over Sh1 million.
Alex Maleche, who tagged the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP), Director of Criminal Investigation (DCI) and the National Council of Churches of Kenya, said the law criminalises compulsory testing.
“Compelling a person to undergo a HIV test as a precondition to, or for the continued enjoyment of marriage is a criminal offense under Section 13 sub-section 4 of the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act. Please follow up on this!” he wrote.
Crispus Wachira called for the pastor to be stripped off his post and a probe launched into the matter. “The AG should immediately revoke the pastor's license to conduct marriages and the DCI have the matter investigated for appropriate action by the DPP."
His sentiments were echoed by Mwaniki Gachuba who said Apostle Karanja had overstepped his mandate. “I hope the said pastor understands that marriage is not a Church but a State (legal) affair. I hope the pastor knows that he represents and conducts marriage ceremonies on behalf of the AG and has no authority of his own."
Kataka Everton said the pastor was hiding something to cause the couple such unimaginable agony and shame, adding that the health status of the couple should not have mattered. “The disclosures are made prior to the wedding and are important to the groom and bride, not the pastor. The pastor had an ill-motive but preaches as if he is a man of integrity."
Hassan Proden lashed out at the preacher, saying his actions were interpreted that should one be HIV-positive they should not marry. “Who said HIV-positive people should not get married? If I were them, I would undergo a series of HIV tests. If negative, that facility and the pastor must pay."
Another user, Clive Alex, said that the damages incurred by the couple should include the six months they spent in planning the wedding. “This is a case that should be followed. This pastor must cater for the losses and pay for their preparation time."
Susan Kimani faulted the pastor for not telling the couple that he wouldn’t officiate their union and giving a valid reason. “That was wrong by all means. He should have told them a day before."
Others said the couple should have sought the services of another pastor or have a civil marriage. “Why wouldn’t they just get another pastor?” wrote Dennis Muthusi while Kipkorir Kogo posed, “Too bad for them. Let them go to their DC for signing (of the marriage certificate).”