SEVEN Mungiki members including top commanders have been killed in the last two weeks in a vicious fight for control of the sect’s property. Mungiki members from the Nairobi Central Business District are fighting others from Kitengela after 4,000 acres of land there.
The factions are fighting beneath former leader Maina Njenga who denounced the sect in public but in practice remains the man at the top.The CBD faction was led by Simon Mwangi Ndirangu alias Jakai while the Kitengela faction is led by the Mungiki branch chairman who is a big matatu owner.
Mungiki is believed to own thousands of acres in Kajiado, Laikipia and Central Province but it is all registered in individual names. The sect also has substantial real estate in Nairobi including Maina Njenga’s upmarket home in Karen.
The infighting in Mungiki has become so deadly that seven Mungiki leaders have been killed in unclear circumstances since May 4. Former CBD leader Ndirangu alias Jakai was hacked to death at a disputed plot on Kirinyaga road near Globe Cinema roundabout last Tuesday.
Jakai was among four men working as security guards whose bodies were recovered from iron sheet shacks with deep cuts on their heads and arms. He was killed a day after violent clashes between the Kitengela Mungiki and CBD Mungiki on the streets of Kitengela town.
John Muya Mburu, allegedly the Kitengela Mungiki deputy commander, was beaten to death and a car set on fire at the disputed land in Kitengela on May 4.
Yesterday, police sources as well as Mungiki insiders confirmed that two rival groups were fighting over land. The Kitengela Mungiki has objected to CBD members being issued with parcels of land in Kitengela.
Since last year, Mungiki has been trying to gradually its assets to members as the organisation reduces the scale of its operations. Last year the Hope International church moved from Garden Estate in Nairobi to Kitengela.
Trouble started on Sunday May 4 when CBD members attended a mass at the Hope International Ministries headed by Njenga and demanded parcels of land.
The Kitengela group objected and a scuffle ensued. Three youths attempted to attack Njenga but were arrested and thrown out by youths supporting the Kitengela chairman.
The agitated CBD Mungiki then stormed the Kitengela farm but the Kitengela Mungiki caught up with them and they fought. The vehicle that ferried CBD Mungiki to the farm was burned and the Kitengela deputy boss John Muya killed. John Mwangi Muchwe, a church usher allied to CBD Mungiki, died at Shalom hospital in Athi River after the fighting.
Another six Mungiki members were hacked to death and 12 others were admitted at local hospitals with panga cuts. This triggered a retaliatory attack in the streets of Kitengela where another 10 people sustained injuries. John Ngugi, allied to the Kitengela Mungiki, was found strangled to death on May 5 close to the disputed land.
Yesterday Njenga’s brother John Njoroge denied that he was leading a coup in Mungiki. Why should I be fighting with my brother?” he said.“Our interest is diverse and parallel. I am not interest in any property because I can buy and I have bought my own” said Njoroge on phone.
Yesterday detectives at Central Police Station said investigations had linked the death of the four watchmen to Mungiki infighting. Last month the Kitengela and CBD Mungiki joined Njenga at a crusade at the Afraha stadium in Nakuru and were apparently united.
Njenga announced that the Kitengela leader for Hope International Ministry had been appointed chairman to oversee church operations and lead other regional chairmen.
His followers demanded that the man should be given a house in the Millennium area of Kitengela to reflect his his new status. Last Sunday a dozen youths from CBD were arrested at the church following fighting.