What you need to know:
- Kenya Railways said the parcel occupied by Neno church “encroaches on land initially reserved for railway use”.
- The reclamation has already happened in Kisumu, the result being the eviction of tens of businesses.
- According to the letter, the plot where the Neno church stands is for the exclusive use of Kenya Railways.
Controversial preacher James Ng’ang’a of the Neno Evangelism Centre has a new battle in his hands after Kenya Railways Corporation notified him of plans to reclaim the land where the main church in Nairobi sits on.
The Kenya Railways wrote to Mr Ng’ang’a on Friday indicating that the land occupied for years by the church along Haile Selassie Avenue is the corporation’s property.
Kenya Railways said the parcel occupied by Neno church “encroaches on land initially reserved for railway use” but had supposedly been allocated irregularly.
“You are hereby requested to surrender all documents relating to the irregular allocation of the above referenced property to the corporation,” stated the corporation that has in recent months intensified efforts to reclaim what it says is its grabbed land across the country.
In the letter to the church, Kenya Railways explained that the move is part of efforts to reclaim “all its land” that had been allocated to private entities throughout the country, which is being done in collaboration with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Assets Recovery Agency.
The reclamation has already happened in Kisumu, the result being the eviction of tens of businesses and demolition of a number of structures.
The Nation contacted the church on Saturday on the intended eviction but officials said Pastor Ng’ang’a was away for prayers.
An official advised Nation to go to the Church today (Sunday) if we wanted a comment from the pastor over the matter.
“At the door, you will find ushers who will show you where he is so we can get that letter,” said the official who did not want to be named as she is not the spokesperson.
According to the letter, the plot where the Neno church stands is for the exclusive use of Kenya Railways.
“Historical records in our possession indicate that the land bound by Haile Selassie Avenue, Uhuru Highway and Bunyala Road in which various railway infrastructure are contained was reserved for railway use,” the letter stated.
“It has, however, been established that new grants on portions of the land were issued by the Commissioner of Lands in around 1994 without the consent of the corporation.”
Kenya Railways went on to say in the letter that there is no document to show that the corporation surrendered the land to be allocated to someone else.
“Hence, the process (was) irregular,” Kenya Railways wrote.
The area also has petrol stations, at least two other churches, a motor bazaar, hotels and other enterprises.
The land occupied by Neno is also being used as a parking lot.
On Saturday afternoon, a few public service vehicles could be seen parked on the dedicated space in front of the church. A new concrete building was being erected right next to the parking lot.
The Kenya Railways notice to Mr Ng’ang’a rekindles memories of 2011 when county council bulldozers tore down his church for unexplained reasons.
Pastor Ng’ang’a, who gained numerous followers through televised sermons while portraying his ability to “exorcise” demons, has had many battles to wage in his public life.
Whether on the pulpit or out of it, his actions have often drawn controversy.
He faced trial for reckless driving after a 2015 accident involving his car where a woman was killed on the Naivasha-Nairobi road. He would be acquitted in 2018.