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Police stop mountain prayers Rating By GEORGE MUNENE

Posted Saturday, Daily Nation,  December 27 2008 at 21:31


Heavily armed police on Saturday stopped the much-publicised prayers that were scheduled to take place in Mt Kenya forest and arrested 25 worshippers.

The hundreds of worshippers said to be from the Kikuyu, Embu and Meru communities were intercepted by police at Kianjiru market in Kirinyaga district on their way to Mount Kenya forest to pray to their God.

However, the police declared the prayers illegal and dispersed the worshippers after arresting some of them who they claimed had been sent as an advance party to assess the security situation in the area.

Led by the area police boss, Mr Herbert Khaemba, the law enforcers barricaded the Embu-Nairobi road and ordered the worshippers, who were aboard 10 matatus, to stop.

Spiritual leader

The worshippers, some of whom wore dreadlocks and were carrying red and light blue ribbons obeyed and alighted from the vehicles.

Plain clothes detectives and two provincial administration officers mingled freely with the worshippers, most of whom wore heavy rain jackets.

The worshippers were accompanied by a man driving a Range Rover and who was said to be one of their spiritual leaders.

Tension mounted as the worshippers insisted the prayers must go on as planned. Some of the worshippers knelt on the roadside and started praying.

The standoff dragged on for an hour before the police, who were armed with guns, rungus and teargas canisters, forced the worshippers to board their vehicles, telling them to return to their respective homes.

Regroup and return

The police then escorted the worshippers to Makutano market and warned them of dire consequences should they return to the area.

In the ongoing confusion, some worshippers escaped death narrowly when one of the buses in the convoy hit a matatu as it reversed.

One of the men accused the police of interfering with their freedom of worship adding that they would regroup and return.

“We were going to the mountain to worship our God who we abandoned after being misled by the white missionaries,” he said.

They said that they want to return to their traditional way of worshipping and would not reverse the decision.

“Our ancestors used to pray on the Mountain and we must emulate them,” another worshipper who asked not to be named said.

The worshippers said they had travelled from all parts of the country and that they wanted to converge at the forest for a major prayer meeting.


About SG

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


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