POLICE TRIED TO KILL ME, SAYS NJENGA
But Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku yesterday dismissed this, saying Njenga is a victim of disagreements within the Mungiki.
“I have no doubt it was the police who shot at us,” Njenga said yesterday. “After the shooting, one of them peeped into our car and I could tell from his physical appearance that he was a police officer.”
He added: “Also looking at how the attack was done, how the bullets were fired, you can see that those are not amateurs trying their luck.”
The former sect leader turned pastor is recuperating in a Nairobi hospital following the incident on Saturday in which two-vehicle convoy was sprayed with bullets, leading to the death of four people. The cars veered off the road and the one carrying Njenga overturned.
Although sources said Njenga survived with only a bullet to his shoulder because he wore a bullet proof vest, he declined to confirm or deny that he wore the protective vest.
Njenga said he was heading to Nyahururu to attend a meeting of elders and shareholders of a land company in the Bethi area when his convoy was ambushed by gunmen 10 kilometers from Nyahururu town.
He said two cars trailed him from Naivasha and when they got to the Kari area, their cars were shot at by men who were lying in wait on both sides of the road.
He was due to go for major surgery to remove a bullet lodged in his right shoulder. His left fingers were grazed by bullets.
His nephew and driver, Dickson Mwangi Wanjiru, his security aide, John Mukuria Karai, his house help Purity Wairimu and his lover Mellisa Wairimu, died in the incident.
Dickson,33, who died instantly, was a father of two and worked as a reliever driver for Njenga for close to 15 years.
Karai was a father of four children and also a long-serving aide of Njenga’s, while Wairimu, the daughter of gospel musician Elizabeth Nyambere, lived with Njenga after the death of his wife Virginia Nyakio. She had one daughter.
The deadly attack comes shortly after members of Njenga’s Hope International Ministries (HIM) Church engaged in open warfare over how property belonging to the Mungiki sect should be shared out. Members of the Nairobi wing want a large tract of land in Kitengela to be allocated to everyone, but their colleagues from Kitengela insist the land is theirs alone and the Nairobi group should instead target assets within the city.
The fight that followed has left at least eight people dead. Seven bodies were discovered two weeks ago buried in a mass grave near the border with Machakos county.
Three of the bodies in the mass graves have been identified as those of John Mwihia Tharao, Kamoni Mbote and Anthony Karanja Njenga.
Mwihia worked as a matatu tout in different parts of Nairobi while Kamoni did menial work on Mbotele estate. They are said to have been long-serving Mungiki members, having joined the outlawed sect as early as 2000.
The East Africa Portland Cement claims ownership of the Kitengela land and last week published an advertisement in the media warning invaders to keep off. Portland’s land is 15,000 acres, and the Njenga group claims to “own” 4,000 acres of it.
Yesterday, Njenga claimed that NIS was using a land broker in Kitengela to fuel crisis in his church, blame him for the macabre killings and eventually eliminate him.
But speaking in the telephone interview, Lenku denied that police had shot Njenga. He warned that the Government will crack down on Mungiki members and other outlawed groups in the country.
“The land that the Mungiki are fighting over belongs to the Government. We will not allow anybody to create chaos in this country. Be warned that no group has the right over that land,” Lenku said.
He said police had opened investigations into the Njenga shooting and that preliminary indications pointed a finger at a rival Mungiki group fighting over the 4,000 acre in Kitengela.
CID Director Ndegwa Muhoro also denied that police were involved.
“The last person we would like to lose now is Njenga. We need him in the investigation into the Kitengela killings,” said Muhoro.
Relatives of those whose bodies were retrieved from the mass grave identified them at the city mortuary yesterday. Mortuary officials then referred them to the Kitengela Police Station, where they are required to record statements on the deaths ahead of postmortems to be conducted today.