A land row between a Mombasa-based church and unknown people alleged to be squatters has erupted, making over 100 angry worshippers to take to the streets in protest.
Jesus Celebration Centre (JCC) church members on Monday held protests against some unknown ‘squatters’ at their church headquarters in Bamburi, whom they accused of planning to grab their land.
The church is one of the biggest in Mombasa and is owned by a Bishop Wilfred Lai.
Carrying twigs and singing solidarity songs, the faithful held a prayer meeting at the 50-acre piece of land before the chaotic protests.
Witnesses said unknown people invaded the premises of church owned by Bishop Lai on October 13, 2019 when some church members observed that structures had been built on the land in question.
"Some goons were here last week claiming this land belongs to them. They threatened us when we tried to question them and that is why we are here fighting for our right," said Bishop Charles Kwake, the church’s overseer.
BOUGHT 20 YEARS AGO
JCC church members claim the land being invaded was bought for Sh20 million over 20 years ago.
"We first bought the land in 1998 where the church is as now. We built schools and we sold the remaining acre to Blue Shield Primary School. After some time we heard they wanted to sell the land and we bought it back at Sh20 million," said Bishop Kwake.
The iron sheet structures are said to have been built at night had been brought down by the church members by the time of the protest.
"I saw iron sheet structures as I was on my way to church. When I asked around I was told the construction takes place at night," said one of the faithful.
The furious protesters said they were angered by the attempts to grab the 50-acre piece of land, insisting that it was bought through their contributions.
"We are here because this piece of land was bought with our money through the endless fundraising we have had before," said Purity Zully, another worshipper.
Bishop Kwake appealed to the government through President Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Director of Criminal Investigations to intervene.