- One of the churches called Bethel, a semi-permanent structure was destroyed while the other East Africa Israel church had its roof and windows removed.
- The county government said it advised the contractor to initiate dialogue after realising that there were entities claiming the land.
The affordable housing project in Murang’a county has been shrouded by controversy after a contractor demolished properties established on a five-acre identified for the project.
The site at the Makenji area in the Kandara subcounty that is near the busy Thika Kenol Sagana highway was identified in 2021 by former President Uhuru Kenyatta's administration for the project but had been issued out to members of the community to farm for decades.
The residents who claimed to have been on the land for over thirty years were on Saturday, shocked to find two churches on the land demolished by the contractor.
The contractor has already fenced the land as the project commences.
One of the churches called Bethel, a semi-permanent structure was destroyed while the other East Africa Israel church a permanent structure had its roof and windows removed.
Its facilities, including drums, clergy’s clothing, pews and tables were found strewn all over the compound.
Members of the two churches expressed dismay over the destruction saying the national government should have embraced dialogue first before ordering the demolitions.
Bishop Ezekiel Ndung’u of the East Africa Israel Church said the church has been operating on the land for thirty years but claimed he had been asked to demolish the structure to pave the way for the project.
“I told them I would not demolish the church because it was built to serve God,” he said as he led prayers outside the church.
The two churches vowed to continue holding Sunday services on the land saying they will not budge.
Area MCA Simon Wamwea distanced the county government from the contractor’s activities but urged that the two churches that were constructed on the far end of the land should be allowed to continue operating.
“These churches were built on the edge and because we all pay taxes, let the government also tithe by hiving off the land they have occupied and allowing them to continue,” he said.
On its part, the county government released a statement through its Chief Communication Officer Leonard Guchu clarifying that the project is being undertaken by the national government as part of its plan to develop 250,000 housing units annually.
Guchu said the county government advised the contractor to initiate dialogue after realising that there were entities claiming the land.
“It has now come to the attention of the county government that the contractor has demolished the churches," Guchu said.
“The county government opposes this move and indicates it has alternative and unoccupied pieces of land elsewhere to grant the national government for the project."
The county government urged the national government and the occupants of the land to commence dialogue to avoid the destruction of property.
The activities have elicited sharp reactions from the surrounding community who accused the national government of failing to engage residents to have the issue resolved.
The state plans to build 2,000 units in Murang’a in the initial phase of the affordable housing project and has tasked the county government with identifying the land.
About 300 houses will be constructed in Kenol town, Maragua constituency, while 1,700 will be put up in Makenji in Kandara constituency.