It’s time for Maina Njenga to sit back and reflect on his ways and have a strategic plan for his church because things in his former Mungiki outfit are getting out of hand.
How do you solve the puzzle that is Maina Njenga?
When he was Mungiki leader, his boys raped the conscience of Central Kenya and parts of Nairobi.
Mungiki killed, maimed and extorted money from businesspeople and peasants alike.
In a sense, Mungiki ran a parallel militia state in its areas of operation mainly in Central Province,Nakuru and Nairobi.
And when he renounced the sect, the killings stopped but the extortion continues.
In between the atrocities, Maina was arrested and charged with possession of illicit arms, among other crimes.
He was bundled into prison, and there started his transformation from a suspect to Maina Njenga the
As the post-election clashes intensified in 2008,politicians across the divide fell over themselves to
curry favour with him.
Mr Raila Odinga, whose supposed ODM supporters were being killed in Naivasha by Mungiki, sent him
Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power and even pledged to facilitate his release.
The head of the most murderous gang in recent history suddenly became a cog in the political wheel
When he was freed, Maina cast his spell on more people.
As the politicians courted him, he struck a national chord and capped it all with benediction.
Out went Maina Njenga the notorious Mungiki leader and in came James Maina Njenga the prophet.
Many dismissed this as just another circus, but again we had terribly underestimated this man’s genius.
And so when he renounced the Mungiki, we believed him.
Wasn’t he just “born-again” the other day?
Soon, the focus shifted from Mungiki and its atrocities to its political benefactors.
The killers became political lambs, and their masters national chaperons for security.
As Saul (Maina) became Paul (Maina), he got another revelation — different from the one that supposedly struck him as a teenager to drop all things Western,including Christianity, and embrace the deadly
dogma that fertilised his violent mind.
The spirit, he said, had told him to found a church to save the souls of youths led to crime by poverty and
Maina the layman became Maina the
The transition was not difficult, for he had long been the spiritual leader of Mungiki.
And not surprisingly, his church has stood out for two things.
First, the profile of the average faithful is a perfect fit for Mungiki.
Second, it is the only church
where police responding to a distress call have been beaten up.
From the pulpit, Maina has become a nationalist.
He castigates politicians for misusing youths for violence
and has vowed to lead a generational change in Central Kenya leadership.
The people who only five years ago condemned Mungiki are now courting him with unprecedented lust.
Maina has become a trophy spouse for politicians proclaiming their love for youth.
But he has not apologised for atrocities committed in his name.
You cannot talk reconciliation when you have murderers and politicians cutting deals among themselves.
Reconciliation is a factor of honest dialogue and integrity, not expediency.
This is why I am afraid,very afraid, of this man and his wiles.
I shudder every time I see human rights activists like Hassan Omar and Paul Muite hug Maina with the
exuberance only seen among freedom fighters.
I worry even more when Mr Odinga’s allies fall over themselves to entertain Maina.
I fear that to our politicians, victory at the ballot box is more sacred
The politicians love him for the votes (and the violent edge) he brings to the campaign trail, giving him a
perfect insurance against his sordid past.
The so-called human rights activists love him for the cash-cow his ilk present.
At times like this, I realise that it’s not only the law that is an ass.
The politics, the economy, the church— the whole society sucks.
I don’t hate Maina, I just love life more.
And life is now being expended as it were during his heydays as the “Chairman” of Mungiki,but this time in his church compound which has since moved from Thika Road to Kitengela.
It’s sacrilegious to cheer him on as he dances on the graves of Mungiki victims.
Maina could be “born-again”, but he’s yet to demonstrate he’s not Mungiki.
Finding the Lord was a personal journey, now he must not turn the pulpit into a convenient guise for spawning a more virulent enemy of the people.
Maina has denied responsibility for the Kitengela killings, saying he is
not fighting for land with anybody and no longer controls the sect.
Now a bishop at Hope International Ministries which has been at the centre of violent brawls in the
past, instead blamed a man called Thiong’o Kagicha for dragging his name into the chaos that culminated with the exhumation of 10 bodies in an abandoned quarry earlier this week.
“I am not in control of Mungiki. I am only in control of my destiny which is to go to heaven. I fractured my fingers while exercising and didn’t get medical attention for about a week so it got swollen.
Rumours about me being hacked are, therefore,total nonsense,” said Njenga in an exclusive interview on his sprawling Kitengela farm.
Last week, there were rumours that Maina’s Kitengela church had been burnt down.
But police in the area,said no such thing had happened although 10 litres of petrol (in two five-litre containers) was found near
the church; indicating ill motives of some people to burn down the church.
Their efforts were however thwarted by the guards within the church
Thirty minutes after speaking to this writer, Maina walked into Kajiado County Commissioner Kobia wa
Kamau’s office, where he was grilled for more than five hours by Kobia, the county police commandant
Titi Kilonzi and his administration police counterpart.
“The subject of our meeting today stemmed from a story published in The Nairobian. We were concerned whether Mungiki had started operating in Kitengela. That’s why we summoned everybody who
was mentioned in the story, as well as direct our officers to start investigations so that we can know
whether the story in The Nairobian had any basis,”said Kobia.
The county commissioner also revealed that the recent spate of killings in Kitengela is based on
squabbles over land owned by East Africa Portland Cement Company.
“There are 15,000 acres of land, owned by the cement parastatal. In our interviews and investigations, we have singled out six suspects
who run cartels that subdivided the land, placed beacons and promised to sell to gullible Kenyans the
piece of land,” said Kobia.
“They are selling 50 by 100 plots at Sh60,000. And they are also fighting amongst themselves over the
land,” added Kobia, saying, “People should be wary.
These are conmen and I promise Kenyans that my office will deal with them as soon as investigations
He, however, said it will take a few more days to investigate whether Mungiki are actually involved in
the killings in Kitengela.
“This is a security matter, and I can’t tell you everything, but so far, I can only say, let us do our work, and you will see the results,” said Kobia.
Later that the evening, this writer met Maina in his Kitengela home.
He admitted that several Mungiki
members backslide because they found it difficult to convert and stick to Christian doctrine.
“I can’t force anybody to change. I only pray,counsel and urge other people. The church has Luos,
Kalenjins, Taitas, even Congolese, it is wrong to assume the church only belongs to Mungiki adherents,” Njenga clarified.
Maina also refused to discuss his wife who was brutally murdered in 2007 saying he had forgiven
“That’s not an issue I want to dwell on. Losing a spouse is a very traumatising thing for me and my
children. I pray every day for strength to take care of my children, and I have forgiven them and they
should also ask God for forgiveness,” he said.
He, however, says he has no plans to re-marry yet. “I want my children to grow up. I will marry when they
grow up, but everything is in the hands of God.
When the right time comes, He will direct me,” he added.
During its peak, Mungiki was reported to be collecting more than Sh2 million every day through
extortion rackets. So, when asked about his current source of income since he claims to be no longer in charge of Mungiki,Maina had this to say;
“I get funding through my businesses and the biggest chunk comes from people who fund the
church. In fact, nowadays I sleep well at night since I know that I don’t go about offending anybody.
I only serve God and church members and God has
rewarded me handsomely”.
He also reveals that he has stopped driving around in flashy and expensive fuel guzzlers.
“Look at this car,” he says pointing at an old Mitsubishi Pajero.
“I prefer this car. Vehicles for me nowadays are merely a means of locomotion. A way to get from
point A to point B,” he says.
“Let’s not pretend, I was not a saint, and nobody is a saint, but still I have no justification for my past behaviour and I can’t even give an excuse, all I can ask for is forgiveness.
I wish I had seen the light earlier, and served God from a young age. My biggest regret is that I didn’t
start serving God earler. But I try as much as possible to make up for the lost time,” says Maina.
“He is a man on the move. He always has meetings or crusades. In between the day, he can spend up to
six hours meeting people,counselling couples whose marriage has hit the rocks and sorting out church issues.
He could be in Nakuru in the
morning, but spend the night in Mombasa,” says a close aide.
Apart from preaching, Maina Njenga is a keen farmer.
As the sun sets and we take a walk in his expansive Kitengela farm, Maina proudly shows off his maize
and cassava plantation.
“I tilled that myself, not the whole of it, but a big bit.
I love farming and I hope one day, when I retire from the church, I will be a fulltime farmer.”
Maina Njenga still remains a puzzle that only time can help unravel.
In the meantime,he has the benefit of doubt in his life as a changed man.
“The African Story as told by Africans”.©African News Digest®