Disputed sale of Sh200 million land fueling SDA church wrangles

From left, Chairman of Nairobi Central SDA Church Sammy Masara, Dr.Enock Kinara- Executive secretary and Humphrey Macharia-Director of Nairobi Central SDA Church flanked by other worshipers. [Edward Kiplimo/Standard]
A splinter group at the Nairobi Central SDA Church now says a fight for multi-million shilling property is at the heart of the ongoing wrangles.

The team yesterday convened a press conference and tabled documents, which they claim were proof of attempts to sell Sh200 million land belonging to the church.

They accused the church pastor and officials of the Central Kenya Conference (CKC) of purporting to excommunicate 15 members, claiming those targeted had thwarted plans to dispose a Sh200 million plot in Nairobi.

They also claimed that the correct procedure was not used to remove church members from the register and that it was within their rights to worship anywhere in the country.

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“The purpose of removing a member from church register is supposed to be redemptive rather than condemnatory. The leaders were shy to come out and say those they want to remove from the church register highlighted and even stopped fraudulent activities within the church,” said Mr Sammy Masara, a church elder.

He added: “A good example is the intended sale of a prime church property worth Sh200 million in Kileleshwa, which was forestalled and eventually the sale cancelled.”

According to the documents provided, the church owns parcels of land in Nairobi’s Lavington, Makadara, Kileleshwa and Kilimani.

Others are in Kangundo, Malindi, Nyeri, Matasia and the Coast.

Masara, who described himself as the caretaker leader of the newly formed Nairobi Cosmopolitan Conference (NCC), attributed the chaos witnessed in the church to next year’s church elections.

He claimed that in 2015 church delegates approved a plan to divide the CKC into three, but church leaders later avoided that and instead created one conference and one field.

“Further, these leaders have created 13 administrative stations in the friendly Mount Kenya and Ukambani regions with a total membership of 37,000 while they have given Nairobi and Kajiado with over 82,000 just three stations,” Masara said.

He added: “This is a pure case of gerrymandering for purposes of retaining power and we hereby ask all Adventists in Kenya and beyond to rise up and speak against these evil schemes.”

On Monday, CKC officials led by President John Kiragu Ngunyi dismissed the group associated with NCC, and accused its members of orchestrating the chaos that led to the closure of the church last Saturday.

However, yesterday, the Masara-led group accused the CKC of misappropriating church funds and perpetrating negative ethnicity while mismanaging church-run institutions.

On Saturday evening, Nairobi Regional Commissioner Flora Mworoa directed that the church’s premises be closed until the wrangling factions reconcile.

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SDA church wranglesNairobi Central SDA ChurchCKC