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CHURCH TO MEET MUNGIKI FOR PRAYERS

Mungiki team and clergy plan prayers

Story by FRED MUKINDA
Publication Date: 6/2/2008

Church leaders and members of the outlawed Mungiki sect are expected to meet Tuesday to lay out plans for Saturday’s prayers at Uhuru Park, even as police prepare to block it.

Mr Gitau Njuguna Gitau, the spokesman for the outlawed sect’s political wing, Kenya National Youth Alliance, Sunday told the Nation that they had been invited by the clergy to Nairobi’s All Saints Cathedral.

They will discuss, among other matters, transportation of youths from different parts of the country to the city.

“Besides Nairobi, the youth will come from Thika, Murang’a, Nyeri and even Kisumu because we have members there. Others will come from Mombasa and Nakuru,” he said.

A group of church representatives had been mandated to notify the city’s Central Police Station boss about the rally, he added.

The authorities have responded by deploying members of the General Service Unit and the Rapid Deployment Unit of Administration police to Uhuru Park a week prior to the planned national prayers.

The crack units have been camping at the park day and night.

However, the officers have not been restricting members of the public from entering the park.

When the Nation visited the park Sunday, the officers mingled with the public while maintaining surveillance.

Licensing

“The prayers have been organised by the church for the Kenyan youth. Police should not interfere because our members will be attending it in their individual capacity,” said Mr Gitau.

Last week, police commissioner Hussein Ali said the sect’s members would not be allowed to convene.

Mungiki is illegal and so the issue of licensing (its meeting) does not arise,” he said.

Mr Gitau later said: “Ali (the police commissioner) should stop interfering with church matters. Instead he should be explaining extra-judicial killings in which 4,500 youth have been killed since July last year.”

At the same time, he presented a statement signed by Mungiki’s jailed leader, Maina Njenga.

In the statement, he assures Kenyans that the group’s members will not swarm city streets or cause chaos in any part of the country.

“I want to assure the public that there is no mass action from Mungiki unless it’s from another group purporting to be Mungiki,” part of the statement read.

It went on: “Any attempt to use a strategy that affects citizens of Kenya negatively is not our goal.

“Lessons learnt from the last demonstrations showed that members of the public suffered most.”

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About SG

Secretary general of Chama Cha Mwananchi. This blog www.chamachamwananchi.wordpress.com, is based in Sweden.

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