Kenya : Jomvu Community facing eviction from ancestral land

Their story of misery and suffering dates back to the year 2003 after the end of the leadership of presiding bishop, Stephen Kanyaru, of the methodist church of Kenya.

Before the end of his tenure,  the bishop had instructed the church to have its member come up with a plan to solve the land dispute that have seen the church fighting for years, Fortunately, they settled for a Provisional Development Plan (PDP) where church leaders were to identify a professional surveyor who would do professional survey work to allocate individuals and families to their plots.

Following the directive, both Mazera and Jomvu communities were to pay survey fees and land rates on their citing that the church was no longer financially stable to do so and it was also equally important for the members of the church to be ready for responsibilities. Families and individuals who would decline to do so would be left out of the arrangement.

Bishop Stephen Kanyaru had requested church leaders in the said areas to come up with modalities on how they could end the squatter problem. He had asked the two communities to contract their surveyor carry to out the allocation no later than 31st December 2004.

The two communities had agreed and the process was going when the directive was suddenly revoked and another directive “ scheming” was put in place by the presiding bishop Joseph Ntombura the successor of the presiding bishop Stephen Kanyaru.

The sudden change of the land allocation arrangement raised eyebrows amongst the two communities as well as the church since the plan’s provisions did not meet the needs of the communities. Additionally,  the church as was outlined in the  PDP.

To advance his misappropriation of church funds and assets, Joseph Ntombura removed his predecessor from two powerful boards of the methodist church of Kenya where its standing order asserts that former presiding bishops be members of the church standing committee.

Reports disclose that the community had settled on the embattled land for more than five decades and according to Kenya’s constitution on matters of land ownership, the Jomvu community has the right to own the land as it has surpassed the twelve years threshold.

According to Jomvu community spokesperson Mr. Elius Karabu, not his real name, Jomvu residents have not only suffered seeing their homes and farms demolished and evicted from their ancestral land but also police brutality, arrest, and assaults. The depressed and devastated community laments how their sister church based in changamwe has joined their perpetrators thus intensifying their suffering.

The changamwe church has used malicious means using the police, and local politicians to plot against the hopeless community.

“We have seen how our sister church in changamwe bribed the police force. Instead of the police protecting us they are now protecting our perpetrators. They have arrested our fathers, daughters, and sons for no reason.”

POLITICAL LEADERSHIP ON THE MATTER

The community discloses how the judicial system of Kenya has failed in serving justice to the ailing poor and depressed community that consists of a mainly aged population.

Jomvu community is lamenting how corrupted attorneys have derailed justice thus making their case unresolved for more than twelve years with no signs of reprieve and a sigh of relief to the hopeless community

The community also reveals how they have been asking for help from their political leaders who have ended up being bought by the changamwe church as well as the presiding bishop Joseph Ntombura who now sits in the office illegally. This is according to Daily nation and the Standard publications dated 20th January 2023.

The two articles published that Joseph Ntomubura is facing multiple accusations including but not limited to poor leadership, and mismanagement of church affairs and properties which includes Kenya methodist university, Maua hospital, and parcels of land.

A CALL FOR HELP

The Jomvu community is now asking the human rights community to intervene in the matter stating that they have suffered enough.

Sources : Pastor Harrison Kaingu, Jomvu Methodist Church

                Elisha Katana , Jomvu methodist church spokesperson

                Daily nation and standard newspaper20th,2023

               The methodist  church in kenya conference office internal memo

 

Samuel Mbogoh

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