Police on Sunday closed down Pastor Ezekiel Odero’s Church in Kagai, Nyeri town. The recently opened New Life Prayer Centre and Church branch had been operational for just two weeks.
The head preacher claims that police woke him up and reportedly conducted a search of the church premises. During this search, an unspecified amount of money and offering envelopes were allegedly confiscated by the authorities.
Pastor Manyasi told reporters that over 300 congregation members who had gathered for Sunday’s service were denied entry and locked out by the police.
“We were about to start the service when a police land-cruiser with police in full combat stormed our premises and ordered us to abandon plans to start the service, this led to confusion amongst our members,” Pastor Manyasi said.
Pastor Ezekiel’s lawyers, Samson Nyaberi and Danstan Omari spoke to the press on the church compound and alleged that the state is attempting to obstruct the expansion of the New Life Ministry to various regions of the country.
Omari was reportedly informed by the police that their actions were motivated by the church representatives’ failure to provide court orders authorizing the reopening of the church.
“They have informed us that they were not aware of the church. We shall serve the DDC with the High court order tomorrow(Monday). So that they are notified that the New Life church is operational,” Omari said.
Adding: “We will not stop, and we will ensure that no one interferes with Article 32 of the Constitution. The articles provide for the right to religious celebration.”
Pastor Ezekiel’s lawyers mentioned that their court orders had been served to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), the Attorney General (AG), and the Inspector General of Police (IG), implying that these orders should have been communicated to the county security team as well.
“Mt Kenya region should say no to plans of stopping Pastor Ezekiel from establishing the church in this region since that would mean that the proposal to construct a replica of Kilifi International school and hospital which is a major economic boost and creation of employment will go into a halt,” said Omari.
“They closed the Pastor’s TV claiming it’s a tool for radicalization but we stopped them in court, they closed down his school in Kilifi but we went to court and the facility is open, they cancelled his Machakos rally but we obtained court orders, we are ready to face them should they try to stop the devolution of the New Life Church,” he added.
Omari disclosed that the church had been given a donation of ten acres in Kagayu on the outskirts of Nyeri, where the regional branch had commenced its operations. However, they were actively searching for an expansive 100-acre plot where they plan to construct a State-of-the-Art facility.