Wrangles in the Nairobi Central Seventh-Day Adventist Church seem to be far from over after one of the warring groups called for the resignation of the Central Kenya Conference (CKC) leadership.
In a statement on Wednesday, the group, Nairobi Cosmopolitan Conference (NCC), accused the leadership of massive corruption and tribalism that has allegedly paralyzed the church.
NCC leadership further termed null and void a move by CKC President John Kiragu to deregister 15 of its members.
According to NCC Chairman Sammy Masara, the members are targeted solely for challenging the CKC corrupt leadership.
At the centre of the feuds is control of millions of shillings, in tithes and offerings, as well as scholarships, jobs in church-run schools and hospitals.
“The purpose of removing a member from a church register is supposed to be ‘Redemptive’ rather than ‘Condemnatory’. The leaders were shy to come out that they are angry with some of the members they have purported to remove from the church register because they have been highlighting and even stopping fraudulent activities within the church leadership.
“So let there be known that there are no other reasons for wanting to remove the 15 except engaging and challenging the church leadership on grounds of corruption and embezzlement of church resources, ” said Masara.
Masara stated that some of the targeted members had raised alarm on intended fraudulent sale of a prime church property worth Ksh200 million in Kileleshwa. The alleged sale has since been stopped.
“In this matter, there was blatant forgery and misrepresentation of material facts that caused the DCI to investigate. The report is still lying at the Office of Director of Public Prosecution for action, which we believe should be taken up by all relevant government arms to bring the culprits to book, ” he said.
He noted that the formation of NCC, which he says is not an alternative church, was formed to redefine the SDA church leadership.
“Nairobi Cosmopolitan Conference is not an Alternative Church The formation of NCC therefore now gives all those affected by the way the SDA church affairs are managed a legal platform to engage not only with the current leadership and the Government but also with members and the general public, ” he added.
The statement comes days after CKC President John Kiragu dismissed reports that the church was divided right in the middle, adding that the church is not going to negotiate with strangers.
“As of now they are not members of the SDA faith and no amount of intimidation will coerce the church into negotiating with strangers,” Kiragu said on Monday.
The two groups have locked horns for months now leading to the closure of the Nairobi Central SDA church by the Nairobi security team.
On Saturday evening, Nairobi Regional Commissioner Flora Mworia directed that the church premises be closed until warring parties reconcile.
“The church will only be re-opened for fellowship after the wrangling factions resolve their differences,” Ms Mworia told journalists at her Nyayo House office.
Earlier, Officers from the General Service Unit GSU blocked the sanctuary premises forcing worshippers to hold their service at the nearby St Georges Girls’ grounds.
In his statement, Kiragu, accompanied by Maxwell Church pastor JP Maywa, condemned the deployment of security officers at the church, further accusing NCC members of being behind recent church service interruptions by the police.
“We are concerned by the fact that police action was skewed in favour of the aggressors as a person’s right of worship cannot be abridged by the threat of other parties to break the law,” he stated.
“It is indeed the duty of the police to protect worshipers exercising their rights, rather than block the worshipers from exercising their right, on the basis that some third party may break the law.”