18 June 2020 | Julius Bichanga, president of the South Kenya Conference of the Adventist denomination, has been removed from office.
Bichanga had repeatedly been accused of having a child outside wedlock – a charge against which he had successfully defended himself.
Kenya’s The Star reported on June 15 that Bichanga was asked to leave his post despite winning a legal case brought by Adventist pastors that had made the claim about the alleged child. The child neglect case had been thrown out of court five times.
According to The Star, Bichanga had previously fired the pastors who brought the case, for alleged embezzlement of tithes and offerings from their districts.
Bichanga was asked to resign by East Kenya Union Conference president, Samuel Makori. The specific rationale for the leader’s removal is unclear.
Elections for church officials are a mere two months away.
The Star reported the claim by some that Bichanga’s firing was related to his inviting Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto to a fundraiser for the new South Kenya Conference Office.
Ruto donated Sh11 million (over 100,000 USD), sparking anger from factions that sought donations from a different political camp.
The fallout leading from Bichanga’s removal has led to threats by more Adventist congregations in the area who claim they might join the unofficial Nairobi Cosmopolitan Conference, an entity not recognized by the denomination.
According to numbers updated on June 30, 2019, by the denomination’s Office of Archives, Statistics and Research, there are 393 churches and 125,175 members in the South Kenya Conference.