Controversial preacher James Ng’ang’a is on the spot yet again following accusations that a branch of his church grabbed a piece of land belonging to an elderly woman.
Neno Evangelism Centre’s Bulbul branch in Ngong, Kajiado County, has also defied orders issued by the National Land Commission (NLC) and the County Lands Board asking the church to vacate the land belonging to Ms Susan Ngina Kanyila whom both agencies have said owns the land.
In 2013, the church, through Mr Joseph Muriithi Mborothi, illegally encroached on the woman’s land and started building a church structure.
This was during the tenure of former NLC chairman Mohammed Swazuri and Lands minister Charity Ngilu, who is now the Kitui County governor.
Mr Swazuri has since been replaced by Mr Gerishon Otachi Bw’omanwa.
Ms Ngina has accused Neno Evangelism Centre for subdividing her quarter-acre piece of land and building a church where services continue despite the NLC declaring that the land belongs to her.
She wants the church to vacate the land.
The woman is among many other residents who were given pieces of land as squatters by the government in the 1970s after living in the area as landless citizens.
She was however shocked when a group of people invaded her land in 2013 and started building the church notwithstanding that she has lived on the land since 1976.
Following a County Lands Board meeting to discuss the land ownership dispute following a letter from National Land Commission in January 2016, the board wrote a letter to Neno Evangelism Centre asking it to restrain from continuation of any development at the property that is now at the centre of a raging controversy between the church and the elderly woman.
Ms Ngina however says the church has never stopped developing the land.
She has also accused her neighbour, county lands boss Joseph Muriithi Mborothi, who also owns a piece of land in the area, of encroaching into the land and conspiring with the Neno Evangelism Centre to rob her of her land.
Ms Ngina now says that she fears for her life, claiming that strangers with unknown intentions have been trespassing into the land.
But asked whether she has reported the matter, she said the events about her piece of land have taken a toll on her.
She also accused the area chief of working behind the scenes with the church to see her lose the land.
“One day, the chief mocked me by telling me that I will never win the battle over the piece of land against the church because I am a poor woman,” she said.
However, when we contacted him for comment, the chief, Mr Mohammed Dida, said he had nothing to say over the mater since it had already been taken to court.
After the church refused to move out of the land, Ms Ngina forwarded a petition at the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.
Interestingly, the church has since repainted the gate and removed a signboard.
Ms Ngina said that, by doing so, the church was protecting its image as it continues to inflict pain on her.
When we visited her home recently for the interview, Ms Ngina was trying to clear a pool of water from the earthen floor of her temporary house made of iron sheets after rain water flooded into it.
“I have lived on the land for more than three decades and was hopeful that one day, I will get money to build a modern house for myself.
“I rarely sleep because when it rains, water from the drainage directed to my house spills into the house. I think they just want to stress me to death. It’s even worse when they have night meetings on Fridays famously known as kesha,” said Ms Ngina.