Bishop says men being forced to join Njuri Ncheke - Daily Nation
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Njuri Ncheke elders forcing men to join council, bishop claims

Thursday October 20 2016

Njuri Ncheke elders and locals during a court

Njuri Ncheke elders and locals during a court session at Akirang'ondu shrine in Igembe Central on September 28, 2016. A bishop has claimed that men from his church are being forced to join the elders' council. PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By DICKSON MWITI
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A bishop has accused the Njuri Ncheke council of elders of forcing his church members to join the council.

Bishop Julius Gitari of Jerusalem International Gospel Church told the Nation that his efforts to fight the forced initiation by the council, which operates in Meru and Tharaka-Nithi counties, in the past three years have been futile.

“I don’t understand why some elders have turned to forced recruitment,” said Bishop Gitari.

“We are preachers and there is no one time we have ever forced any person to come to Jesus. This is a personal decision,” he added.

A man from Igembe Central Sub-County in Meru is hospitalised after he was allegedly beaten by the elders.

The elders forcibly took him to their shrine and demanded a goat from him, the clergyman claimed.

He said the victim, Mr Julius Miriti from Nkanda, is a member of his church and was “cursed” by the elders.

COUNCIL DENIES CLAIMS

However, regional Njuri Ncheke chairman Linus Katheera said no one is forcibly initiated into the council.

“A man is initiated to the council after expressing his interest, of which he should inform the elders. There is a certain fee paid and this shows no one can force you into the council,” said Mr Katheera.

The official said the council had not sent anyone to recruit or force people to join it.

In another incident, the homestead of Jane Kabaya from Igembe South who is a member of Jerusalem International gospel Church was also “cursed” by the Njuri elders.

Ms Kabaya’s neighbour had reported her to the elders, arguing that she was disturbing her at night with her frequent prayers and singing.

The elders visited her homestead and left a “curse” at her doorstep.

Bishop Gitari was informed of this and mobilised his church leaders who accompanied him to Ms Kabaya’s home for prayers to remove the curse.

The Bishop said the trend was disturbing and should come to an end.