Kenya

Ex-MP Stephen Kariuki arrested over church demolition

Ex-MP Stephen Kariuki arrested over church demolition

Former Mathare MP Stephen Kariuki.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Former Mathare Member of Parliament Stephen Kariuki was arrested on Saturday on the accusation of participating in the demolition of a church and temporary residential houses.

Mr Kariuki, son of Bishop Margret Wanjiru of Jesus Is Alive Ministries, was arrested at Bottomline in Kangemi by local police officers.

Reports indicated that he had gone to the area to supervise the demolition of the Muthangari branch of the Pentecostal Assemblies of God  church and some houses.

Residents said they woke up early Saturday to a group of people accompanied by the former legislator, who tore down their structures. About 100 temporary houses were flattened.

It was then that they alerted officers from the Kangemi police post.

Police stopped the exercise when the group started removing the doors and window panes of the church.

Transfer to Kabete

After the arrest, Mr Kariuki spent the better part of the morning at the police post and was later whisked away by plainclothes police officers to an unknown location.

The officers who transported him arrived in a saloon car with a private number plate, took the politician out of a room at the post and then to their vehicle before speeding off.

They earlier told journalists that the former MP had been transferred to Kabete Police Station.

One of the plainclothes police officers confiscated a camera belonging to journalist John Kariuki and demanded to know why the events were being recorded. He, however, returned shortly after and returned it.

Cases of police violating the rights of journalists have become rampant, with complaints by key players led by the Media Council of Kenya (MCK).

Neither the ex-MP nor the Kabete Police Station commander (OCS) were immediately available for comment.

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PAG’s Rev James Kigunzi said the church bought the land more than 10 years ago and that it belonged to a man who died two weeks ago.

He said it was after the man died that they learnt he was Bishop Wanjiru’s distant relative.

The church leader described the demolitions as shameful, astonishing and illegal, and referred to those who conducted the operation as thugs.

“The church is legally here because we obtained this land legally from the seller whose title deed bore his name,” he said.

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