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Ever heard of Pokot's ‘New Jerusalem Dini Ya Roho Mafuta Pole Afrika’ church?
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|Ever heard of Pokot's ‘New Jerusalem Dini Ya Roho Mafuta Pole Afrika’ church? by Kenyans247(1): Fri 06, November, 2020 02:19am|
Have you ever heard of a church called the New Jerusalem Church of Dini Ya Roho Mafuta Pole Afrika? Probably not. Well, it actually exists.
The church, with a unique African doctrine, has two doors -- one for men and another one for women. And that’s not all. All members must remove their shoes before entering the sanctuary.
Started in 1940 by Lukas Pkiech, who was a blacksmith, the church has become a pride for the Pokot. Today, almost every politician aiming for local votes wants to associate with it.
Its founder Pkiech, who had links with Elijah Nameme, a Luhya prophet, was killed by colonialists on April 24, 1950, during the Kolowa Massacre in Baringo County.
He had led his congregation to preach the Word of God only to be killed by the colonial government who thought they were planning war.
Pkiech had led over 1,000 congregants from the two counties and they were mistaken by the colonialists to be opponents of colonialism.
The followers were natives of West Pokot County. The church had been in the frontline to promote peace in the region.
A choir sings during a fundraiser attended by ODM leader Raila Odinga on November 03, 2020.
Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group
According to the general secretary of the church, Apostle Raisti Meskina Julius, the colonial government followed the worshippers with two lorries of police officers from Nginyang and found them at Kolowo where they were resting and having a meal.
“When they realised the presence of government forces, they reacted and launched a peaceful demonstration towards them singing and praising God. In return, they were sprayed with bullets,” recalls Meskina.
The worshippers, he says, defended themselves with spears but were overpowered by the colonialists who had guns.
Four government officers, including the local district officer, lost their lives.
The region, mainly famous for its belligerent cattle rustlers and bandits and who fuel inter-ethnic conflicts, could be benefitting from the teachings of Dini ya Roho Mafuta Pole Afrika.
The church has its headquarters in Tamugh Village in West Pokot County.
It now has over 100,000 members in West Pokot and Baringo counties as well as parts of Uganda where the church has spread its wings.
A monument in memory of those who were killed in the Kolowa massacre was built at Kolowa in Baringo County and officially opened by the West Pokot County Government.
West Pokot Governor Prof John Lonyangapuo now says his administration will seek restitution for historical injustices committed to the Pokot community.
“The constitution is clear on historical injustices and we want the British government to tell us why they killed our brothers. They must be compensated since they were tortured, maimed and killed unlawfully,” said Lonyangapuo.
He asked the national government to fast-track compensation of the victims who lost their lives in the massacre.
Area leaders have applauded the church for bringing peace along the conflict-hit borders for decades.
Governor Lonyangapuo said the church has come up with programmes that educate the youth on the dangers of female genital mutilation and early marriages.
“A region that has no church has no future. Dini ya Roho Mafuta Pole Afrika has played a major role in bringing peace along the border. Youths who were going for raids disrupting peace are now preaching in their respective churches,” he said.
Area Senator Samuel Poghisio said the church was demonised for many years and did not get a chance to be registered.
“The faithful should do their job in bringing all people together. Let them come out strongly and pray for our nation,” he said.
County Woman Representative Ms Lilian Tomitom said the church has helped people with disabilities to participate in various activities.
“Many people with disabilities are hidden, but the church has helped them to come out and be involved in preaching peace in our county. FGM is rampant in the region but the church sensitises the community against it,” she said.
A church member, Mr Stephen Kodingura, said that since its inception, the church has been in the frontline of promoting peace, fighting retrogressive practices like FGM and forced early marriages.
"FGM is an outdated practice. Early marriages are no longer practised," said Kodingura.
He said the church has helped to restore peace among warring communities in the region.
The church has hosted politicians, including Deputy President William Ruto, ODM leader Raila Odinga and others. The ODM leader was hosted on Tuesday.
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