Police close Maina Njenga’s church in Kitengela
POLICE in Kitengela yesterday morning stormed Hope International Church linked to former Mungiki sect leader Maina Njenga. The officers closed it down over “security “threats”. More than 100 armed GSU, regular police and APs walked as others rode in Land Cruisers to the church.
There was no resistance at the church when they ordered the presiding official to close it down. Pastor Peter Maingi, who spoke to the police, told the church members who had already gathered to leave peacefully.
“I took their orders with the understanding that peace is paramount and every Kenyan must respect the rule of law,” said Maingi later after closing doen the church.
The invasion and closure of HIM came only a day after the GSU secured Njenga’s palatial home in Nkurrunka, Kitengela and kicked out more than 600 people among them relatives, friends who had assembled for the burial of the former Mungiki sect leader’s wife.
The police said they stopped Grace Wairimu Nyambere’s burial after it emerged that the local Maasai communities had raised issues over the arrangement. The Maasai from Kitengela opposed the burial on the premises.
They said allowing Njenga to bury his wife and other people shot and killed on the Nakuru-Nyahuru road last month would be like harbouring the Mungiki sect in the county.
Yesterday, Isinya OCPD Stephen Weda directed Kitengela OCS Joel Chepkwony to close HIM and secures it for the next three days as the government seeks ways to reconcile Njenga and the locals, who have vowed to burn the church.
Weda said the police action was reached at the regional security council after the Maasai gave the government 14 days to close the church they have associated with recent killings of seven people, who were later buried in an old quarry by people believed to be members of the Mungiki sect.
He said the move is only a temporary measure as the government assesses the prevailing volatile situation that could have degenerated into a clash between the locals and members of the church.
The Maasai leaders led by James Turere and William ole Kasio had warned on Saturday that they may be forced to attack HIM if the government will not heed their call to close it down. Yesterday Turere said they had suspended the attack owing to logistics and the location of the church.
“We sat down the whole night on Saturday and decided that because church is inside the town, innocent blood could be spilt because the people living around it may not necessarily be members of the Mungiki sect. We are only after the Mungiki and not any other person,” Turere had earlier said at 6am yesterday.
“There are innocent people including our own children living near that church and our morans may end up slaughtering wrong people. We have told the police to close it down instead.”
But reacting to the closure of the church by the police, Njenga’s spokesman, Chege Malash, claimed the police acted “unconstitutionally” and said they will go to court to seek justice.