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Pastor Ezekiel blames Ruto, Kindiki for ‘cancelling his crusade’

Pastor Ezekiel Odero of the New Life Prayer Centre and Church has blamed his woes on President William Ruto and Internal Cabinet Secretary Prof Kithure Kindiki.

The man of cloth further distanced himself from suspected cult preacher Pastor Paul Mackenzie, who has been associated with the Shakahola mass deaths.

Testifying before the Senate Ad hoc Senate Committee on the proliferation of religious organizations and the circumstance that led to the deaths of more than 400 followers linked to Mackenzie, Pastor Ezekiel claimed authorities cancelled his recent crusade reportedly on instructions from Ruto and Kindiki.

The mention of the President and Interior Minister’s names threw the committee into a state of confusion.

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei demanded the committee compel the preacher to withdraw the names from his presentations.

But Migori Senator Eddy Oketch demanded that Pastor Odero be allowed to “lay things bare so that those who are using the tools of power to intimidate the Man of God from spreading the gospel may be known.”

Further, Mr Oketch said those adversely mentioned can be summoned to appear before the Ad hoc committee to clear their names.

Also, the Senator said, “The committee is required to come up with a detailed and well-balanced report on the Shakahola killings.”

Kisii Senator Richard Onyonka said Pastor Odero should not be gagged but should be allowed to state all that he knows to enable the committee to do a splendid job.

But Mr Cherargei asked the deputy chairperson of the committee Ms Shakila Abdalla to weigh in on the matter to protect the name of President Ruto.

The proceedings were thrown into disarray when Pastor Odero said that on October 5, 2023, the Kilifi County Commissioner Josephat Biwott claimed President Ruto and CS Kindiki had directed the crusade be cancelled citing security reasons.

The pastor who was accompanied by lawyers Danstan Omari, Shadrack Wambui, Samson Nyaberi and Cliff Ombeta told the committee that the crusade was cancelled twice citing security issues.

Earlier the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) Amin Mohammed tendered his evidence regarding the Shakahola killings on camera due to security issues.

Commenting on his relationship with Pastor Mackenzie, the tele-evangelist distanced himself from the Shakahola mass deaths saying “I saw news about it in the KBC TV Channel One and other media.”

He told the committee he has never attended any burials on the Shakahola farm.

The preacher who had been summoned to shed light on the killings and extremist religious teachings, urged the committee to follow his Bible teachings on his Television Broadcasting Station which he acquired after paying Sh500,000.

He volunteered to meet costs for the committee’s visit to his church.

He informed the committee that he has a huge congregation since each service is attended by 45,000 worshippers.

Pastor Odero added that he does not get grants to finance the mega investments which include an International School and University.

He added that he has built two high-class Hotels and that the church has sponsored fully the education of over 200 pupils.

Besides he said he has dug boreholes and supplies water to the area residents.

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