State shuts down controversial Naivasha church

'Kanitha wa Ngai' members at Maella police station in Naivasha sub-county. [Antony Gitonga, Standard]

The government has closed a church in Maella, Naivasha sub-county, whose members do not use conventional medicine.

As a result, it has emerged, some members of the church, including minors, have died in their homes from undiagnosed illnesses.

The closure of 'Kanitha wa Ngai' (Church of God), follows a resolution of the Naivasha sub-county security team, coming after controversial deaths of four minors recently.

The deaths caused a public outcry with residents questioning the activities of the church which is opposed to modern medicine.

Police and residents had earlier rescued four ailing minors from one of the homes and arrested four suspects over alleged negligence.

Naivasha Deputy Commissioner Mutua Kisilu said the police are investigating activities of the 'sect' which has over 200 members.

Kisilu, who noted that the four suspects would be charged with various offences, said: "Members of the sect do not believe in vaccination of children. We have been forced to close the church and rescue some of the minors and have them vaccinated as they were very sick.”

"The number of members of the sect in the sub-count is rising by the day. Some of the members have been brought up under the controversial doctrines of this church.”

Mr Gilbert Njuguna, whose wife is a member of the church, said his child died and was hurriedly buried, within a day, while he was away.

Ann Njeri, a member of the church, vowed they would not abandon their beliefs adding; "Our medication is in heaven, not on earth."

Njuguna who is incidentally a Community Health Promoter (CHP), said that members of the church did not believe in taking medication based on their religious beliefs.

He said that he had fallen out with his wife after she joined the church adding that it should be investigated and closed down permanently.

“One of my children died and was buried in the church compound while members camp in the church from Friday to Sunday conducting unknown businesses,” he said.

Ann Njeri, a member of the church has however vowed that they would not abandon their beliefs noting that their treatment and medication lie in heaven and not on earth.

The visibly emotional Njeri confirmed the death of one of her children who was buried in the church compound terming this as normal in their day-to-day life.

“We have been persecuted in the public over our beliefs and we are ready to die protecting them and we shall not be cowed,” she said.