Shock gripped Muslim faithfuls at Mata village in Taveta sub-county after an armed foreign investor last Tuesday stormed and disrupted prayers at a local mosque to protest that their Ramadhan prayers were too loud.
The bizarre incident has triggered a swift backlash and widespread condemnation from religious leaders in the region claiming that it was improper for the investor to storm into a place of worship to register his displeasure.
On Wednesday, police moved in swiftly and arrested the investor to avoid the matter spiralling out of control. The arrest followed reports that crowds of irate mob might be threatening to attack the investor in retaliation.
Confirming the arrest, Taveta Sub-County Police Commander Lawrence Marwa said the suspect would be charged for causing public disorder. After his arrest, hundreds of local residents jammed the police station demanding for justice.
Mr. Marwa appealed for calm and assured the residents the police would not allow anyone to disrupt the tranquility the region has enjoyed over the years.
“We have managed to bring the situation under control and the investor will be arraigned in court over this matter,” he said.
The investor, who is said to be of South African descent, works as a senior manager in a farm owned by a top government official.
When contacted, County Chairperson of Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) Sheikh Asiz Noor condemned the invasion of the mosque terming it as a sacrilege.
He narrated that the incensed investor had stormed the mosque mid-sermon, disabled the loud speakers and went on to cut off the power lines. All this time, the angry man was demanding that the sermon and prayers be conducted quietly. Afterwards, the man stormed off leaving behind shocked worshippers.
It was not immediately clear if the investor had complained of loud noise from the mosque before the incident.
Sheikh Noor alleged that the man had not even bothered to take off his shoes while entering the mosque as a mandatory requirement for all worshipers and other people who enter a mosque.
“This is an abomination. We want him charged and disciplined properly. How could he disrupt religious preaching during this holy month?” posed the cleric.
The cleric stated that if the investor had issues with the mosque, he would have used proper channels of complaints including alerting the chief or even reporting to the police instead of taking such actions.
He urged the owner of the land to reign in the investor whom he termed as very aggressive and too harsh to the local residents.
Sources from Mata village said the man’s wife is hypertensive and is easily affected by loud noises. The mosque neighbors the investor’s residence.
By Wagema Mwangi