Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) is embroiled in a land dispute that could tear the Nairobi diocese headed by Bishop Joel Waweru apart.
Some members of ACK St Mark Church in Westlands are accusing the Diocese of scheming to grab land belonging to the parish. The faithful say the church bought the land, registration number 1870/111/159 in 1964 for Sh100,000. The church values the plot at Sh500 million. ,
According to members, the Diocese is in the process of developing the plot, having encroached on the same without the consent of the faithful of St Mark’s church. The land in dispute is located along School Lane.
In 2012, the Church generated income from the land through rental lease before the diocese requested to carry out its activities there on the understanding that the Diocese would pay a monthly rent of Sh350, 000. The diocese insisted it could only raise Sh200,000 per month, according to members who have petitioned the church’s Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit to intervene.
Grievances raised by members against the diocese include; failure to a sign a lease agreement, building illegal structures without approval of the church and relevant authorities and failure to pay rent commensurate with current market rates.
“Regrettably, the Bishop of the diocese of Nairobi has laid claim to the St Mark’s property on the basis that all land belonging to the church within the geographical boundaries of Nairobi Diocese belongs to him as the bishop. We believe that this thinking and assertions are fallacious from the standpoint of the laws of Kenya and the trusteeship arrangements of CCK and practice of ACK,” says the faithful adding that “as Christians we are obligated by the scriptures to try and resolve our disputes amicably before resorting to secular courts cognizant to the fact that you are unaware of this dispute.”
The Church Commissioners of Kenya (CCK) was registered as the proprietor and trustee of the land in dispute. The petitioners claim the diocese is forcefully occupying the land, and in the process denying the church Sh9 million in accrued income.
Members claim St. Marks church and the diocese have a long history of conflict never witnessed in other parishes under the diocese.