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Pastor Nga’ng’a says he will not surrender church land to Kenya Railways – Nairobi News

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Neno Evangelism Centre leader James Ng’ang’a on Sunday announced that he is ready to fight tooth and nail with Kenya Railways to retain ownership of the land where the main church in Nairobi stands.

The controversial pastor scoffed at a letter from Kenya Railways Corporation Managing Director Philip Mainga claiming that the church on Haile Selassie Avenue stands on property meant for the agency.

IRREGULAR ALLOCATION 

In the letter he wrote on Friday, Mr Mainga notified the Neno church founder that the corporation is planning to reclaim the parcel because it was not converted from public to private use as per the law.

“(The church) encroaches on land initially reserved for railway use,” said part of the letter, which explained the tract of land was initially reserved for Kenya Railways. A number of other businesses, including churches and petrol stations, are also located on the mentioned section.

Mr Mainga demanded that Mr Ng’ang’a surrenders to Kenya Railways all the documents pertaining to the “irregular” allocation of the property.

The notification from the railways boss comes at a time when the Neno establishment plans to build a multistorey building dubbed the Neno Tower in the place where the current structure stands.

Already, the congregants have started contributing for the ground-breaking of the tower, which will have basement parking lots, among other features.

While addressing the congregants during a televised sermon on Sunday, Mr Ng’ang’a was categorical that Neno bought the property from Central Bank of Kenya.

RECLAIM PROPERTIES

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“The owner of this field had a bank that borrowed money from the Central Bank. The bank went under and Central Bank seized its property, which it sold to get money to pay back [the] depositors,” he said.

In his characteristic tough-talking, Mr Ng’ang’a promised dire consequences against anyone who would dare displace the church, which has been at the current location since 2003.

“You can go and change (the registration documents) if you are man enough,” he dared. “Go and backdate and say it belongs to the railway.”

He further threatened: “I swear before God, hutabakisha hata mjukuu duniani hapa (you won’t even have a grandchild left on the face of the earth).”

“Will I keep issuing blessings? We also curse. It is inconceivable that people wake up to joke with a man of God. Which God are you playing with?”

Kenya Railways says it is seeking to reclaim its properties across the country, working in partnership with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Assets Recovery Agency.

The reclamation has already happened in Kisumu, the result being the eviction dozens of businesses, and demolition of a number of structures on Kenya Railways premises.

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Kenya: Ruto Presser Amid Virus War Fails to Impress

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It was the question on everyone’s mind, but when he stepped out of his Karen office to address the media, Deputy President William Ruto left Kenyans puzzled.

Dr Ruto has since the ban on public gatherings maintained a studious silence as Kenyans battle coronavirus.

Apart from tweets, Dr Ruto appears to have turned – or been turned – into a lone ranger and is not part of the communications team on the pandemic.

He is not a member of the Dr Fred Matiang’i-led National Co-ordination Committee on Coronavirus Pandemic, which reports directly to President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Of late, Dr Ruto has not attended meetings of the nine-member National Security Council.

Chaired by the president, the council has the DP, Cabinet secretaries in charge of Defence, Foreign Affairs, Internal Security or Interior as is designated, Attorney-General, Chief of Kenya Defence Forces, National Intelligence Service head and the Inspector-General of Police.

DESIGNATED SURVIVOR

The security council, the Constitution says, has the mandate to see and appraise the objectives, commitments and risks to Kenya. It is this council that has been making key decisions on Covid-19.

With Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i leading the team, it is apparent that Dr Ruto – despite his denials – has been sidelined.

At Thursday’s press conference, he offered a possible explanation by directing journalists to think about the “designated survivor” principle – the keeping aside of one key member of an administration who can step in just in case a calamity befalls the ruler.

“You may want to ask yourselves why the president and his deputy cannot travel in the same equipment at any one time,” he said.

In effect, that means Dr Ruto has been missing in action as a matter of arrangement than being sidelined.

“For the record, we consult… almost daily, with the president and the ministers carrying out various tasks in the management of this pandemic. And that is the position of the Jubilee administration,” he said.

NEW ORDER

Dr Ruto was not flanked by any member of the several committees on Covid-19. Paradoxically, the Health Ministry was at the time of his briefing preparing for a separate press conference.

That seemed to confirm that President Kenyatta has solidified the working of the administrative state, with the political wing taking a back bench.

The Covid-19 disease appears to have given Dr Ruto a political challenge and President Kenyatta a chance to finally test the administrative state – an experiment that has been in the works.

Already, Dr Matiang’i’s committee has been given sweeping powers to form ad-hoc committees to fight the virus.

Why President Kenyatta’s principal assistant and a key member of the powerful NSC has been missing in action was on his supporters’ lips.

Dr Ruto insisted that while he had not been seen in the meetings with the president or being on the frontline in the battle against the virus, he is in the know.

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POLITICAL OUTCAST

He said in the interest of keeping the physical distance being advocated as a measure against the virus, the government has started making use of teleconferencing and videoconferencing.

“The operation of the government is a preserve of the people in government; how we decide to communicate. We took the decision that this being a pandemic, all of us are going to read from one script. The president is going to take the lead and the Cabinet ministers in those dockets will do their jobs,” Dr Ruto said, evading the question about his role.

Before the emergence of Covid-19, Dr Ruto was out of the centre of power following the camaraderie between President Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga.

The president then asked politicians to concentrate on development instead of rallies, but Dr Ruto used tours guised as inspection of projects to sell his agenda with one message: “I am loyal to the president; it is Raila who has come to rock our boat”.