The Jomvu community in Jomvu Sub-county, Mombasa has tasked the Senate Committee on Lands, Environment and Natural Resources to help in repossessing their ancestral land which was grabbed by the Methodist Church of Kenya.
The Senate land taskforce was on a fact finding mission with the Jomvu community at the controversial land to probe how the Jomvu community land ended up in the hands of the said church.
The residents drawn from Jomvu Kuu and Jomvu mission blamed their predicament on their forefathers who welcomed missionaries and offered them land to build a church and teachers quarters in early 1960.
Community spokesperson Akseli Lamec told the Senate committee they have a long running dispute with the Methodist church adding that the community is demanding a solution to the case.
Lamec said the church has been offered a place to build a church and a pastor’s house by the community forbearers but accused the church of engaging in expansionist activities and procured a title deed claiming to own their land without their knowledge.
The community leader said the church started subdividing the 151 acres of land into smaller parcels and transferring it to people from outside the locality.
Lameck said the local minority community is losing out land and the young generation has nowhere to call home in the near future.
They decried that influential people are squeezing poor and ignorant families in the area out of their ancestral land where the private developers have been intimidating them using police officers to instill fear in them.
“The church community demarcated our land, fencing it and in the process our houses were demolished and our crops and coconut trees uprooted,” said an embittered Lamec.
The residents urged the Senate committee to address the emotive land issue and to intervene with a view to returning the land to them.
According to Methodist Church Mombasa Synod Bishop Ronald Nzai, the Church Presiding Bishop Rev Dr. Stephen Kanyiaru had directed the land to be demarcated to the indigenous community each individual to get a quarter of an acre.
Nzai said the Jomvu Methodist church presiding clergy with his church committee went against the church higher office authority and instead subdivided the land selling it to outsiders.
The land has been subdivided into 554 plots out of which only 64 plots were surrendered to the community and the rest 490 plots have been earmarked for sale by the unscrupulous Jomvu Methodist church clergy and his committee members.
The Senate Chair who is also Nyandarua Senator Mwangi Gathiomi promised to intervene on behalf of the community where police have been accused of brutalizing residents who were protecting their land from dirty hands of the church.
“We will sermon the Inspector General of the police to shed light on the abuse of power by his officers in Jomvu Sub-County,” said Gathiomi.
Mwangi promised through his senate docket and National Land Commission to intervene with a view to returning the land back to the Jomvu community.