Pastor Ezekiel's church in Nyeri closed

A congregant, Leah Kabatha, addresses members of the press flanked by Lawyer Dantsan Omari at the New Life Church in Nyeri. [Ndungu Gachane, Standard]

Over 300 christians allied to Pastor Ezekiel Odero's New Life Christian Church were forced to cut short their mass after a security multi-agency team in Nyeri ordered them to close the church on Sunday.

The church leaders were ordered to abandon the mass over claims they did not have proper documentation, the branch pastor David Manyasi said.

"We were about to start the service when a police land-cruiser with police in full combat stormed our premises and ordered us to abandon plans to start the service, this led to confusion amongst our members," Pastor Manyasi said. 

According to the prelate, the service would have been the first in the region which he said was necessiated by the mushrooming christians who kept thronging at the main branch in Mavueni Kilifi.

"Our christians come from around Mt Kenya region from Kiambu, Muranga, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Laikipia, Embu, Meru and other counties who initially came to our main branch in Mavueni," said the Spiritual head. 

Leah Kabatha, a staunch member of Pastor Ezekiel's church, narrated her frustration when the service failed to take place.

"We normally travel to Kilifi on Friday from Mt Kenya region for the Sunday service and when we got a relief after having our first branch, it was canceled by the security agencies leading to confusion and frustration to most of us who had travelled from far and wide," said Kabatha.

Pastor Ezekiel's lawyer Dantsan Omari was informed by the police that their action was informed by the fact that the church representatives had not served the police with court orders permitting them to open the church.

"They have informed us that they were not aware of the church and we will be serving them with court orders tomorrow (Monday)," he said. 

He however, said their orders had been served to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), the Attorney General (AG) and the Inspector General of Police (IG) implying that the court orders would have cascaded down to the county security team. 

"Mt Kenya region should say no to plans of stopping Pastor Ezekiel from establishing the church in this region since that would mean that the proposal to construct a replica of Kilifi International school and hospital which is a major economic boost and creation of employment will go into a halt," said Omari. 

He added; "They closed the Pastor's TV claiming it's a tool for radicalization but we stopped them in court, they closed down his school in Kilifi but we went to court and the facility is open, they cancelled his Machakos rally but we obtained court orders, we are ready to face them should they try to stop the devolution of the New Life Church," said Omari. 

He said the church has received a donation of ten acres at Kagayu in the outskirts of Nyeri where the regional branch has started but it was looking for 100 acres where the State of Art facility would be established in a strategy he said would spur economic and religious growth. 

On his part, Nyeri Central Deputy County Commissioner Joseph Mwangi said once the church furnishes the police with proper documentation, operations will resume. 

"When we are given the orders we shall act accordingly," he said.

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