Rev. Njoya has been very active in challenging state autocracy in Kenya. From the pulpit to the streets where he has joined like-minded Kenyans in peaceful demonstration, Rev. Njoya has constantly demanded freedom from the political dictatorship in Kenya. This has not been without a sharp and intimidating response from the Kenyan authorities, who have often accused Rev. Njoya of subversion. Following a sermon in October 1986, the President accused him of producing subversive pamphlets in the guise of Sunday sermons. His outspokenness has often resulted in detention without trial.
This is what the Washington Post had to say about him in October 1986: "The Rev. Timothy Njoya, a small man with boyish manner and a taste for argument, has become the point man in a war of wills between the Kenya Government and the clergy. With the emasculation of Parliament and the press here in recent years, the Church has emerged as one of the few institutions willing to challenge Kenya's powerful President Moi..."
On the eve of new year 1990, Rev. Njoya was the first Kenyan to call upon the government to revert to political pluralism while still residing in the country. Again, this was at great risk because several other politicians who subsequently made similar calls were detained without trial.
On July 7, 1997 while at a pro-democracy gathering at the All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi, the police forcibly invaded the Cathedral, badly injuring Rev. Njoya, among others. On June 10, 1999, while at a pro-democracy procession outside Parliament in Nairobi, Rev. Njoya was the victim of a merciless beating from a private army hired by state operatives. He was brutalized while the police stood by and watched.
In his efforts to create a culture of freedom, justice and equality in Kenya, Rev. Njoya has had to take on not only the mighty monolith that is the state in Kenya but also the church, from where he has been variously disowned at critical moments. However, his struggles within the church have also served to strengthen its vision on human rights with the mainstream churches now emerging into a more coalesced and vocal mouthpiece for human rights.
Rev. Njoya is also a very enthusiastic supporter of women's rights. He is the convenor of the Men for Equality with Women (MEW) lobby group which brings men together in support of equality for women. MEW and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) have worked together to popularize equal rights for women and men in Kenya. They organized a men's march for equality with women on March 8, 1999.
Reverend Njoya was the Dr. E. Johnson Scholar-in-residence at Knox College, at the University of Toronto in 1998 and received a Doctor of Divinity from the University.
Born in 1941, Rev. Njoya trained in theology and social sciences in Kenya and in the US. He is a prominent member of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa, which is affiliated to the National Council of Churches in Kenya. Since 1993, Rev. Njoya has represented the church on the Board of Directors of the Centre for Governance and Development. He is also a member of the National Convention Executive Council. He is married to Leah Wambui Njau. They have five children and two grandchildren.
Compiled by: International Center for Human Rights and Democratic Development, 2000.
Click here for Timothy Njoya's curriculum vitae [Adobe Acrobat Reader required]